Reader-Submitted Keyboard Productivity Tips

More tips for saving time while you work

The May 1999 Top 10 column, "NT Desktop Tips," and the June 1999 column, "Essential Keyboard Shortcuts," inspired several readers to submit productivity tips. I received so many good tips that I decided to share them with you. In this column, I list the top 10 reader-contributed keyboard shortcuts. My thanks to Merijn Brand, Nick Carter, David Jameson, Thomas Koschate, Matthew Krieger, Silvio Viotti, and Jan Westin, who first submitted these tips.

10. Press the Windows logo key () to display the Start menu. Several readers pointed out that the Windows logo key performs many essential Windows NT actions faster than the mouse does. Displaying the Start menu is the Windows logo key's most basic function.

9. Press the Windows logo key in combination with E (Windows+E) to quickly start Windows Explorer. The Windows+E key combination starts Windows Explorer at the Desktop folder level.

8. Use a hot-key shortcut to start Windows Explorer. If your keyboard doesn't have a Windows logo key, you can create a Windows Explorer hot key. First, create an explorer.exe shortcut on the desktop. Then, right-click the shortcut and select Properties. If you enter X in the Shortcut tab's Shortcut Key field, Ctrl+Alt+X will start Windows Explorer.

7. Use the tab and arrow keys to navigate in Windows Explorer. Use the tab key to move between Windows Explorer's right and left panes, and use the up and down arrow keys to move up and down through each list. With the right and left arrow keys, you can expand and contract Windows Explorer's treeview.

6. Assign hot keys to your Start menu items. Right-click the Taskbar, and select Properties. When you click the Advanced button on the Start Menu Programs tab, Windows Explorer opens. Right-click the program you want, and select Properties. In the Shortcut tab's Shortcut Key field, type the letter you want to associate with the program. (Be careful not to assign any letters twice.) To launch the menu item, press Crtl+Alt and the letter you assigned.

5. Use the Windows logo key in combination with various keys to display essential dialog boxes. Press Windows+R to display the Run dialog box. Press Windows+F to display the Find Files dialog box. Press Windows+Ctrl+F to display the Find Computer dialog box.

4. Press Windows+M to minimize all open windows. When you use this key combination, all open windows appear as icons on the taskbar.

3. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to access NT Task Manager. Although I prefer right-clicking the taskbar to access Task Manager, several readers suggest this key combination in favor of the mouse.

2. Press Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V to copy files in Windows Explorer. Using these key combinations to copy text in documents is a common technique. However, using the key combinations in Windows Explorer is not as well known. Select the file you want to copy, and press Ctrl+C. Then, select the target folder in the left pane, and press Ctrl+V. Similarly, you can use Ctrl+X, Ctrl+V to move files in Windows Explorer.

1. Press F2 to rename a file. Using the delayed-click technique to rename files is slow and somewhat error-prone. To rename files quickly and accurately, click the file you want to rename, then press F2.

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