Using the Control Key keyboard shortcuts

20 Nov

hands typingBack in June, I wrote about the wonders of Control-F and how you can use this keyboard shortcut to find text in almost everything you would do on a computer (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, web pages, WordPress back-end, etc., etc., etc). This post tells you about the other Control- or Ctrl+ keyboard shortcuts that you can use to …

  • save your mouse hand
  • do things quickly
  • impress your friends (maybe – depends what kind of friends you have …)

What keyboard shortcuts does the Control Key give you?

I’m going to categorise these into different areas for you. For each shortcut, you will typically need to highlight the text that you want to change if you’re doing something like changing its style or copying or cutting it, and pop the cursor in the right place if you want to paste. I’ll tell you what you need to do by each one. For each one, you need to press the Control key, usually marked Ctrl (and you might have more than on on your keyboard) then keep it pressed down while you press the second key on the keyboard).

Keyboard shortcuts for copying and pasting:

Ctrl-C – COPY Highlight the text you want to copy (leaving it where it is but making a copy you can paste elsewhere) and hit Control + c

Ctrl-X – CUT Highlight the text you want to cut out of your text (and maybe paste elsewhere) and hit Control + x

Ctrl-V – PASTE – pop the cursor where you want the text you’ve cut or copied to appear and hit Control + v

Ctrl-A – HIGHLIGHT ALL – if you want to highlight all of your text in Word, Excel, etc., you can use Control + a to do so

Bonus shortcut: if you want to switch between ALL CAPITALS, Title Capitals and Sentence capitals on a section of text, Shft-F3 is your friend. More detail here.

Keyboard shortcuts for bold, italics and underline

In each case, highlight the text you want to change, and press these keys:

Ctrl-B – to turn non-bold text into bold OR take the emboldening off a section of text, press Control + b

Ctrl-I – to turn non-italic text into italics OR take the italicisation off a section of text, press Control + i

Ctrl-U – to underline text OR take underlining away from a section of text, press Control + u

Keyboard shortcuts for Find, Goto and Replace

Ctrl-F – almost everywhere, pressing Control + f will open up a window to allow you to find a string of text (see this article for more detail)

Ctrl-H – in any document where you can replace text (i.e. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.), pressing Control + h will open up the find and replace window which allows you to change a particular string of text into another particular string of text (I will be writing about this in more detail soon)

Ctrl-G – in documents with pages, pressing Control + g will allow you to navigate to a particular page

Keyboard shortcuts for undoing and redoing

Ctrl-Z – UNDO – if you want to undo what you’ve just done, hitting Control-Z has the same effect as hitting that little backwards arrow in your toolbar. It also works if you typed in a URL and the page is taking ages to load – Control-Z will cancel the operation

Ctrl-Y – REDO – lots of people know about Ctrl-Z, but did you know that you can redo an operation that you’ve undone by hitting Control-Y?

Keyboard shortcuts for open / new / print / save

Ctrl-N – if you want to open a new document in Word, Excel, etc., or a new browser window, pressing Control + n will do that for you

Ctrl-O – To open a document, wherever you are on your computer, pressing Control + o will open Windows Explorer so you can find and open your document

Ctrl-S – To open up Windows Explorer and save your document, pressing Control + s will save you clicking with your mouse

Ctrl-P – Want to print? Open up a printer dialogue box using Control + p


Go on – admit it: did you really know ALL of these shortcuts? They’ll save you a few mouse clicks and I find some to be a lot quicker and more useful than the other methods you can use to get the same results. Which are your favourite keyboard shortcuts?

Related posts on this blog:

The control+ shortcuts I don’t cover here

How to find text almost anywhere

Changing from lower case to upper case

Find all of the short cuts here


Posted by on November 20, 2013 in Errors, New skills, Short cuts, Word, Writing


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

23 responses to “Using the Control Key keyboard shortcuts

  1. Cam Virgola

    November 20, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Great advice – not having to take your hands from the keyboard saves a lot of time.

    I did know them all, but only because I learnt them over a few months. It’s difficult to learn all at once so what I did was put one on a post-it note on my monitor and make a concerted effort to use it. Once I realised that I was using that shortcut without thinking, it was time for a new post-it.

    My favourites are the ones I added myself – which is the next step after learning these.


    • Liz at Libro

      November 20, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Thanks for your comment, and that’s interesting, I’m not sure how I developed them all, just as I went along, I think. And yes, indeed, the next step will be written about at some point in the future. Love your company name, by the way!


  2. Simon

    November 20, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Or if you are on a Mac, the shortcut on OS X is the Command key instead of Control.

    Some others I like (I’ll use OS X shortcuts, Liz if you want to comment with the Windows equivalent.) is:

    Paste while keeping the working document style. Option + Command + Shift + V.

    To use dictation (you talk rather than typing) press fn twice.

    To get OS X to speak your work back, very good for noticing bad grammar, mark block your text and press Option + Escape.

    To show invisibles, great for finding out why you may have problems with your layout. Think this could do with a blog post Liz. Shift + Command + L, to hide them again Shift + Command + I.


    • Liz at Libro

      November 20, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      Wow – that’s a lot of info, thank you. I will indeed be doing other posts on short cuts in the future, and will include this Mac info when I do. Thanks!


  3. Sparrowgrass

    November 20, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    Yes it depends on your friends and colleagues, but someone was really impressed recently when I used ctrl+I in front of them last week!


  4. Nara

    September 28, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    I must be doing something wrong, it’s not working for me. I highlighted a phrase, then I pressed Ctrl-l, (Ctrl l, with no dash, am I supposed to type the dash?) but nothing happened, a search thing popped up on the left of my page. I wanted to italic-ize a phrase I typed.


    • Liz at Libro

      September 28, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      Thanks for your question. Press the control key and the letter i at the same time (I usually hit Control first, hold it down, then the i). That should work – if you’re using a PC …


  5. lil

    December 5, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    using MS word 2013 – is there any way of not using the mouse after doing a Ctrl+P. I just upgraded from 2007 and I never had to use a mouse in the Ctrl+P menu. I need shortcuts. Thanks.


    • Liz Dexter

      December 6, 2014 at 6:16 am

      Thanks for your question. I have had a look, and you can navigate the menu that comes up after Ctrl+P using the Tab button to move between buttons and the Enter key to “press” the button – does that help?


  6. LOL

    September 27, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    WHAT IT MEANS Ctrl+j


    • Liz Dexter

      September 27, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      ctrl-J justifies the paragraph the cursor is in, or takes full justification off if it’s on already (so it toggles, like the other key combinations). I hope that helps.


  7. LOL

    September 27, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    what it means Ctrl+t


    • Liz Dexter

      September 27, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      If you can wait for an hour or so I’m going to write up a new post which includes all the ones I don’t include here!


  8. LOL

    September 27, 2017 at 4:55 pm


    Liked by 1 person

  9. Danielle Enriquez

    January 11, 2018 at 4:19 am

    I really did know all of those only I would like to know what it control key is to post because I’m trying to post and my post icon button has disappeared and I’m not able to touch it with the mouse so what is my control shortcut key to post?


    • Liz Dexter

      January 11, 2018 at 7:24 am

      Thank you for your question: it would help to know what you’re trying to post and where, e.g. a WordPress blog post using Firefox, etc. My first suggestions if your icon has disappeared, though, would be a) refresh the page you’re on, b) close and reopen the browser window for that page, c) restart the browser, d) restart your computer. I hope this helps!


  10. David Newman

    January 22, 2018 at 4:42 am

    LOGITECH? Are they still in business? I have found them a nightmare to even try to contact!


    • Liz Dexter

      January 22, 2018 at 8:14 am

      Thank you for your comment. I can’t really make any comments on the maker of my (old) keyboard; I purchase them myself and don’t have any special relationship with the manufacturer. I’ve moved on to an IKBC now as I wore the keycaps down over a few years of my Logitech and it got a bit uncomfortable to use!



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