42+ Text-Editing Keyboard Shortcuts That Work Almost Everywhere

Whether you’re typing an email in your browser or writing in a word processor, there are handy keyboard shortcuts that you can use in almost any application. You can copy, select or delete words or entire paragraphs with just a few keystrokes.

Some apps may not support some of these shortcuts, but most of them support the majority of them. Many are built into standard text edit fields in Windows and other operating systems.

Working with words

We’re used to arrow keys, backspace, and delete working with only one character at a time. However, we can add the Ctrl key to make them affect whole words or paragraphs at the same time.

Ctrl + Left Arrow – Move the cursor to the start of the previous word.

Ctrl + Right Arrow – Move the cursor to the start of the next word

Ctrl + Backspace – Delete the previous word.

Ctrl + Del – Delete the next word.

Ctrl + Up Arrow – Move the cursor to the beginning of the paragraph.

Ctrl + Down Arrow – Move the cursor to the end of the paragraph.

Mac users: Use the Option key instead of the Ctrl key.

Image Credit: Renato Targa on Flickr

Move cursor

The Ctrl key can also be combined with the Home and End keys.

Home – Move the cursor to the start of the current line.

End – Move the cursor to the end of the current line.

Ctrl + Home – Move the cursor to the top of the text entry field.

Ctrl + End – Move the cursor to the bottom of the text entry field.

Top of the page – Move the cursor up one frame.

Footer – Move the cursor down one frame.

Image Credit: Book Glutton on Flickr

Text selection

All of the above shortcuts can be combined with the Shift key to select text.

Shift + left or right arrow keys – Select characters one at a time.

Shift + up or down arrow keys – Select the lines one by one.

Shift + Ctrl + left or right arrow keys – Select words – keep pressing the arrow keys to select additional words.

Shift + Ctrl + Up or Down Arrows – Select paragraphs.

Shift + Home – Select the text between the cursor and the start of the current line.

Shift + End – Select the text between the cursor and the end of the current line.

Shift + Ctrl + Home – Select the text between the cursor and the start of the text entry field.

Shift + Ctrl + End – Select the text between the cursor and the end of the text entry field.

Shift + Next Page – Select a text frame under the cursor.

Shift + Previous Page – Select a text frame above the cursor.

Ctrl + A – Select all the text.

You can use several of these shortcuts to refine the selected text. For example, you can press Shift + End to select the text at the end of the current line, and then press Shift + Down to also select the row below.

After selecting the text, you can start typing immediately to replace the text – you don’t need to press Delete first.

Image Credit: James_jhs on Flickr

Editing

You can really speed up text editing by using Ctrl keyboard shortcuts to copy and paste text.

Ctrl + C, Ctrl + Insert – Copy the selected text.

Ctrl + X, Shift + Delete – Cut the selected text.

Ctrl + V, Shift + Insert – Paste the text at the cursor.

Ctrl + Z – To cancel.

Ctrl + Y – Redo.

Layout

Formatting shortcuts only work if the app or website you are using supports text formatting. If you have selected text, the shortcut will apply formatting to the selected text. If you haven’t selected any text, the shortcut activates the associated formatting option.

Ctrl + B – Bold.

Ctrl + I – Italic.

Ctrl + U – Underline.

Image Credit: Tess Watson on Flickr

The functions

These function keys are common to most text editing applications. If you use them in your web browser, you will open the dialog boxes associated with your browser.

Ctrl + F – Find. This opens the search dialog box in most applications to search for text. I’ve even seen it work in some apps that didn’t have a search option in their menus.

F3 – Find the next one.

Shift + F3 – Find the previous one.

Ctrl + O – Open.

Ctrl + S – To save.

Ctrl + N – New document.

Ctrl + P – Impression.

These keys work in most applications, but are particularly useful in text editors:

Alt – Activate the application menu bar. You can use the arrow keys to select a menu option and the Enter key to activate it.

Alt + F – Open the File menu.

Alt + E – Open the Edit menu.

Alt + V – Open the View menu.

Image Credit: Kenny Louie on Flickr

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