Look, Ma, No Mouse!
How to Operate Windows Without a Mouse
I guess I'd better answer what probably is your first question: Why
would I want to operate Windows without a mouse? Well, there's a couple of
A. It's frequently faster!
If you aren't already using the mouse and need to click OK, save a file,
or minimize or maximize an application, it can be quicker if you know the
keystrokes. If I'm already using the mouse, I continue to click away. If
not, I use the keyboard.
B. For use with Recorded macros and batch files.
I've found very few things that I cannot accomplish without the mouse. In
fact, I can't remember one at the moment. So, all that said, here's my
unofficial list of keyboard shortcuts. I've compiled it while learning
them myself, and use it as an instructional tool. I'm still adding to it,
and you're input is welcome. Please keep in mind that these tips usually
work for me in the applications that I use. I give no guarantees that they
will work in all applications or even any applications that you use. If
you have problems with any of these tips, I'll be glad to give you all
your money back!
Note: This was originally written before Windows 95 came out. Most of the
shortcuts still work in '95.
= Most Windows programs have pull-down menus, like File, Edit, Help, etc.
Each menu title has one letter underlined. The Alt key with that letter
pulls down that menu. You can either hold the Alt key while pressing the
letter, or press and release the Alt key and then the letter. Once the
menu is pulled down, you can use the up and down arrow to cycle through
the items, pressing enter when the one you want is highlighted. With the
menu pulled down, you can also use the left and right arrows to switch to
the other pull-down menus.
= Each item on the pull-down menu also has an underlined letter. Once the
menu is pulled down, you can hit that letter to perform that function.
= Examples - To periodically save the existing file (a good practice,
especially if you're investing your time typing something you care to
keep), you can almost always use ALT,f,s.
= Open - alt, f, o
= Copy - ctrl-c (after highlighting)
= Cut - ctrl-x ( " )
= Paste - ctrl-v (As long as there's something on the clipboard)
= While you have the pull-down menu open, you can look to the right of the
command and see if there's an even quicker key sequence for something you
use frequently (like print is frequently ctrl+p)
= To minimize, maximize, restore, close, move, or resize an application,
you need the little box in the upper left corner. Alt, space opens this
up. From there you can:
n - minimize
x - maximize
r - restore
c - close
m - move (use arrow keys after pressing m)
s - resize (again, use arrow keys)
Have you ever managed to move a program window so far up the screen you
couldn't get to the title bar to move it? This is pretty infuriating
unless you know your shortcuts. To solve it, just make sure the problem
window is active (ctrl-F6 cycles through them), then press alt+spacebar.
Press M for move, then use the arrow keys to move it down. Press enter
when finished. Be sure to save your settings after recovering a window
like this so you don't have to do it every time!
= What if you hit the Alt key, then decide you don't want to do a menu
command? Usually you can just hit escape. You could also hit the Alt key
again. If you had a menu pulled down, you may have to hit escape twice;
once to close the menu, and again to un-highlight the menu bar.
The "active" or highlighted button on a particular screen will usually
have a lightly dotted line highlighting the text inside the button. To
press the active button, just push the space bar. If the one you want
isn't active, use the tab key or reverse tab (shift+tab) to highlight it.
Another shortcut: Many button titles will have one letter underlined.
Usually you can press alt+ that letter to press the button.
DROP DOWN LISTS
= Drop down lists (like your list of screen savers in Control
Sure enough, you can tab until this list is highlighted, then use the
arrow keys and enter to select the one you want.
= Task-switching between active applications:
> alt+tab - I use this one most of the time. Press and hold the alt key.
Press the tab key as many times as necessary until you see the icon for
the app you are looking for highlighted, then release the alt key.
> ctrl+escape - Pushes the Start button. You can then use the arrow
keys to highlight the desired app and then hit enter.
From anywhere in Windows 95/8/NT, you can use the Find program. Most
new keyboards come with a start button key (or two). Press this button,
then F twice. Type a file name or part of a file name and Windows will
find all instances. It's a powerful tool.
In File Manager, you can use the tab key to switch from the left side to
the right side. Once in the desired area, use the arrows to move around.
Enter opens folders or runs the highlighted file.
In the file select area, one of the files will be highlighted. To
select a different file, use up and down arrows. Like any Windows
listing, you can press the first letter of a filename you're looking for
and it will jump to that section. If you don't have the listing sorted
alphabetically, this may not be very helpful.
You can select files without the mouse, but this is one thing I find
easier done with the mouse:
To select multiple files, select the first desired file by using the arrow
keys until the first file is highlighted. If the rest of the files to
select are adjacent to the others you want to select, just hold the shift
key down while you use the up and down arrows, and they will automatically
be selected. To select multiple files that are not adjacent to each other:
select the first one as usual. Then press shift+f8. Now use the arrow key
to move the blinking bar to any other files you may want to select. Press
the space bar for each file selected. When finished, press shift+f8 again.
When finished selecting, you can copy, move, or whatever you were planning
SELECTING TEXT FOR EDITING
Have you ever used the mouse to select a large amount of text, only to
discover you didn't get it quite right? Aggravating isn't it? The only way
to remedy the situation with a mouse is to start over. If you know your
keyboard shortcuts, this is no problem! Just hold the shift key and use
your normal edit movement keys (arrows, end, home, page up, page down,
etc) to alter the amount of text selected. I've found selecting text with
the mouse to be one of the most useful keyboard shortcuts available.
To select text from scratch with the keyboard, just put the cursor where
you want to start, hold the shift key, and move the cursor to the end of
what you want to select. From there you can copy by using the edit
commands (frequently alt+e(dit), then cut, copy, or paste. Many programs
have shortcut keys for cut, copy and paste. My favorites have ctrl+c for
copy, ctrl+v for paste, and ctrl+x for cut (mentioned above). Some
programs have other sequences, so check the edit menu for shortcuts before
you use them. For instance, I'm on a Unix system at the moment, and ctrl+c
here doesn't mean edit-copy.
Remember that when text is highlighted, whatever you type (including
pasting) will replace the highlighted text.
Note also that many programs don't document their edit shortcuts, and some
don't even have an edit menu. Many of these programs still allow the
ctrl+c and ctrl+v sequences for copying and pasting. It usually doesn't
hurt to try.
Please email me with any
additions or corrections to this information.
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