Microsoft Windows: Save time with these 6 Windows shortcuts

By J. Carlton Collins, CPA

Editor's note: As the calendar springs into March and then April, deadline pressures heavily tax the time of even the most experienced and efficient CPAs. To help you make the most of your working hours, this edition of Technology Q&A features a couple of previously published — but always relevant — lists of time-saving tips for Microsoft Windows and Excel.


1. Alt+Tab. The Alt+Tab key combination temporarily pops up thumbnail images of all your open windows. Holding down the Alt key while tapping the Tab key repeatedly, rifles through those open windows (as pictured below), and upon releasing the Alt key, the selected window then displays full screen. I've found this to be the preferred way many CPAs navigate the open windows on their computer, yet this useful trick seems to have eluded some users.

2. Windows Logo+1, 2, 3, etc. Pressing Windows Logo+1 in the example screenshot displays your most recently accessed window as the current window; Windows Logo+2 launches the second most recently accessed window; and so on. This tip can come in handy when you want to view, copy, or paste data among three or more windows.

3. Windows Logo+L. This shortcut allows you to instantly lock your Windows computer when you want to walk away from your station for a few moments. To unlock the computer, simply click anywhere on the screen (or press Ctrl+Alt+Delete) and enter your Windows PIN or password.

4. Shift+Delete. When you use the Delete key to delete files, folders, and emails, they end up in your Recycle Bin, where they can still be accessed (until your Recycle Bin is emptied). You can bypass your Recycle Bin and permanently delete your selected files, folders, and emails by simultaneously pressing the Shift+Delete key combination. However, be warned, when using this feature, your files are permanently deleted and there is no way to retrieve those files, unless you use sophisticated third-party file-recovery tools.

5. Windows Logo+Plus key. Simultaneously pressing the Windows Logo and plus key zooms in for a magnified view of your screen. Thereafter, pressing Windows Logo and the minus key zooms you back out.

6. Windows Logo+M. Pressing the Windows Logo+M keys instantly minimizes all current windows. Pressing the Windows+Shift+M key combination restores the minimized windows to their former positions.

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About the author

J. Carlton Collins, CPA, (carlton@asaresearch.com) is a technology consultant, a conference presenter, and a JofA contributing editor.

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