Everyone should know about and use these four Windows keyboard shortcuts

I’ve been writing professionally for several years now. Doing so has put me in the company of other writers as well. One of the things I’ve picked up is that even though keyboard shortcuts are an invaluable tool when it comes to conserving time and energy, two resources that any writer will tell you are usually on short supply, I’ve come to realize that many are unaware of three crucial Windows shortcuts that I use religiously: cut, copy, paste and undo.

At one point, it hit me: “If a significant number of my colleagues don’t know about these shortcuts, then I bet many casual users aren’t aware of them either.”

You might not think that the keyboard shortcuts for cut, copy, paste and undo are that much of an improvement over using your mouse to perform the same task, but think of it this way: With a keyboard shortcut, I can do in half a second what it would take several seconds to do using a mouse. If you use cut, copy, paste and undo often, those seconds add up to minutes. Over time, those minutes add up to hours.

So without further delay, here’s how to pull each off.

Copy – Hold CTRL on the left side of your keyboard with your left pinky and press C.

Paste – Hold the same CTRL button and press V.

Undo – Ditto on the CTRL button. This time, you’re pressing Z instead.

Cut – Same on CTRL, but swap Z for X.

Undo is particularly useful in that it lets you get rid of the last bit of text you typed out without picking your hand up off the keyboard. Also, if you accidentally just deleted something from an important e-mail or paper, you can just hit CTRL-Z to get it back. No fuss, no muss.

Learn these keyboard shortcuts, and you’ll come to love them. We know of more keyboard shortcuts, but we find these to be most crucial. Add your favorite shortcuts in the comments and perhaps we’ll add them to the list of must-knows.