Navigate Windows Faster using the Keyboard

It is amazing that there are many ways in Windows to do different tasks and even to navigate the file structure. I was surprised a few years ago when a co-worker opened up explorer and just started typing really fast. Magically, the file he was looking for was highlighted. ” How did you do that??”, I asked. I had never seen that done before.

If you bring up a file folder list in Windows, and know what file you are looking for, you can just start typing the name, and Windows will automatically jump to the file or folder that matches what you are typing. For example, if you type the letter “F”, Windows will move the cursor to the files starting with the letter “F”. If you type fast enough, you can put in several characters in order, and windows will snap right to it for you.

So, for example if you type “Food” really fast, Windows will jump to the first file that has “Food” in it. But, what if you had several files that started with “Food”? As long as you type fast, you can input as many characters as needed. So typing in “Food-Feed Me Now”, would jump to your Word document that contained the phone numbers of all the food places that will deliver to your workplace. Very important indeed!

There are many other shortcuts built in to Windows. Hitting “Alt + D” will move the cursor up to the address bar and highlight it. “F4” will move the cursor to the address bar, highlight the current address and bring up a list of prior places you have visited. For a list of some other explorer related key shortcuts see Navigate Windows More Quickly.

Another thing I used to do when doing a lot of admin work was to keep NOTEPAD open. With this open, you can copy a lot of commands, locations or highlighted text that you will need again and paste it into Notepad. Then instead of re-typing the information, you can just copy and paste it back out of Notepad, saving some keystrokes.

And finally, one of my favorite shortcut keys is the “Windows key” + “L”. It is not a navigation shortcut, but immediately locks your workstation, so when you leave your keyboard, no one can muck with your computer while you are gone.

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