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In the world of Software-Engineering, I use lots of keyboard shortcuts to navigate around the OS, in my code, etc. Surprisingly, these shortcuts are not widely-known to those that are not generally in a technical background, and even then, there are some exceptions.

Below is a list of keyboard shortcuts that can be useful especially when a mouse goes dead or the cursor appears to go non-responsive.


<key1> + <key2>
Press key1, then key2 so that both keys are down together.

<key1>, <key2>
Press key1, let go, then press key2.

<key1>, <key2> + <key3>
Press key1, let go of key1, then press key2, then key3 so that key2 and key3 are down together.


Windows Operating System

  • Alt + Tab: Switches between application that are running in the taskbar.
  • Alt + F4: Does two things –
    • Closes the currently-active window.
    • If all windows are closed, brings up the option to shutdown/restart the machine.
  • Start + E: Starts Windows Explorer.
  • Start + D -OR- Start + M: Minimizes all open windows and brings the user back to the desktop.
  • Start + F: Perform a find function for files in the system.
  • Start + R: Brings up the Run command dialog.
  • Ctrl + Alt + Del: Brings Task Manager to the forefront.
  • F1: Windows help system.
  • Tab: Navigates between controls in the active window.

Dialog Boxes

  • Tab: Moves the focus selector (dotted line border) from one button to another.
  • Space: When the focus selector is over a button, this selects that button.
  • Enter: Selects the bold-bordered button, if any.
  • Escape: Selects the cancel option or closes the dialog.


  • Ctrl + X -OR- Shift + Delete: Cuts the selected text to the clipboard.
  • Ctrl + C: Copies the selected text to the clipboard.
  • Ctrl + V -OR- Shift + Insert: Pastes the text from the clipboard to the cursor position.

Internet Explorer

  • F5: Refresh the current page.
  • F11: Toggle full-screen mode.
  • Backspace: Navigate to the previous page.
  • Ctrl + F: Find text on the current page.

Visual Studio

  • Alt + F2: Toggle a bookmark
  • F2: Jump to the next bookmark
  • F5: Run debugger.
  • F7: Compile codebase.
  • F9: Toggle a breakpoint on the currently-selected line.
  • F10: During a debug session, steps the execution to the next line.
  • F11: During a debug session, steps the execution into the currently-selected function.
  • Ctrl + B: Display a list of breakpoints.
  • Ctrl + K, C: Comment out the currently-selected line.
  • Ctrl + K, U: Uncomment the currently selected line.