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Chris Bertrand
Chris Bertrand

Posted on • Updated on

39 No Frills Keyboard Shortcuts every Developer Should Know About

[Edit] What used to be 27 is now 39 - Due to all the great comments, I've amended the list to add a few more suggestions, thanks to all that contributed.

Shortcuts are the most productive thing that a developer can add to their repertoire that will aid them through their entire career. Learning how to use your system and tools will improve your productivity and in general make traversing all your windows and apps a breeze. The mouse is a great, tool, but if you can do it quicker, more effectively without your hands leaving your keyboard then you should!

Here's a list of my most used shortcuts, you'll probably know or use quite a few of these already, hopefully there is one here you don't!

Let's get moving to Shortcuts people!

Cursor Movements

ARROWS - move character by character

CTRL + ARROWS - move word by word

HOME - Go to the first character of the line

END - Go to the last character of the line

CTRL + HOME - Go to the start of the file

CTRL + END - Go to the end of the file

SHIFT + Cursor Movement - Move as above, but selecting text.

Generic Windows Shortcuts

These are generic shortcuts specific to Windows, these are the things you will use day in, day out, so get accustomed to these, and use them when you can.

Ctrl + C - Copy - CTRL + INS

Ctrl + V - Paste - SHIFT + DEL

Ctrl + S - Save - SHIFT + INS

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Ctrl + Z - Undo

Ctrl + Y - Redo

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Ctrl + F - Find in window/app

Windows + D - Minimise all windows, goto desktop.

Windows + Up Arrow - Maximise current window/app

Windows + Left/ Right Arrow - Move current window/app to left/right side of/next screen.

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Alt +Tab - Window Tab Move

Shift + Alt + Tab - Reverse Window Tab Move

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Ctrl + Tab - Application Tab Move

Shift + Ctrl + Tab - Reverse Application Tab Move

As you can see, in the above two cases, the shift button, SHIFTS the direction of the tab! It's really intuitive if you think about it this way!

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Ctrl + Arrow  - Move cursor across word to next special character or space.

Ctrl + Shift + Arrow  - Move cursor across word to next special character or space, and highlight.

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IDE Shortcuts (VSCode)

The following is a list of shortcuts that are baked into VSCode - most IDE's will have the option to configure shortcuts, so if you use something else, have a go setting these up!

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Alt + Left Arrow - Go back - Last Cursor Position, this could be in a different file.

Alt + Right Arrow - Go forward - Last Cursor Position the other way! Did you go too far? Don't worry, undo your undo!

Ctrl + Shift + F - Find in all Files

Really useful if GoTo Definition is not working, or you're looking for a String!

Ctrl + K + C - Comment

Ctrl + K + U - Uncomment

Ctrl + / - Comment Toggle

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Alt + Shift + Up Arrow - Duplicate line above

Alt + Shift + Down Arrow - Duplicate line below

Ctrl + Shift + R - Refactor

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F12 - Goto Definition

This one will save you a lot of time, if your codebase is a sprawling behemoth then this will come in very handy.

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F2 - Rename

This will rename all instances of any variables you have kicking around, this won't replace text strings or comments, just the variable declaration.

Ctrl + D - Multi Cursor, Select next occurrence

Ctrl + Shift + L - Multi Cursor, Select All in File

Multiple Selection

Ctrl + P - Quick Find - Files, Etc

Quick Find

Browser Shortcuts.

Ctrl + Shift + t - Opens previously closed tab in browser!

We all strive to become a keyboard ninjas!

Related image

Do you have any other keyboard shortcuts we should be using?

Top comments (31)

leoat12 profile image
Leonardo Teteo • Edited

I use both VS Code and InteliJ IDEA daily to do my work, when I saw the Crtl + Y shortcut I thought that I would warn InteliJ IDEA users that it is totally different in this IDE and can be potentially "dangerous". hahaha
Here is a reference card for InteliJ IDEA to contribute to the shortcut movement. :)

chris_bertrand profile image
Chris Bertrand

Haha! Yeah I've maybe I need a disclaimer somewhere! I've fallen for that on other IDE's too. For anyone wondering, this will delete the line you are on! Quite the opposite from Redo in most ways! :D

felssca profile image


yucer profile image

A long time ago, before Windows...

The code editors use to have this combination of keys that still work today.


  • ARROWS -> move character by character

  • CTRL + ARROWS -> move word by word

  • HOME -> Go to the first character of the line

  • END -> Go to the last character of the line

  • CTRL + HOME -> Go to the start of the file

  • CTRL + END -> Go to the end of the file


  • SHIFT + CURSOR MOVEMENT -> move selecting text


  • CTRL + INS -> Copy the selected test TO the clipboard (COPY)

  • SHIFT + DEL -> Move the selected test TO the clipboard (CUT)

  • SHIFT + INS -> Move the selected test FROM the clipboard (PASTE)

Since those times I program with that COPY & PASTE combination. There is less movement of the hands. Once you get used to it, you will find that CTRL + C and CTRL + V combinations are not so ergonomic.

For example, in order to move a block of code from one place to another, I use to press:

  • HOME : go to the first position of the line
  • SHIFT + ARROW DOWN : select lines all the way down.
  • SHIFT + DEL : cut the block.
  • CURSOR MOVEMENT until the first position of the line where the code is going to be inserted.
  • SHIFT + INS : to paste the block.

You can see that in all that process, the left hand have only made the slight movement of pressing and releasing SHIFT, and not the complicated movement of pressing CTRL + C / CTRL + V. The right hand did only use the arrows (better if it is from the numeric keypad, so that HOME and END can be reached with an slight movement of the right index finger)

chris_bertrand profile image
Chris Bertrand

Thanks, I've added a selection of these to the main post. Funnily I use quite a few of these in my bash terminal! ;)

arulugearhaus profile image
Arulu-Gearhaus • Edited
Some other handy Chrome shortcuts - good for tab hoarders (like me)

Ctrl-D - Add bookmark for current tab (will put the bookmark in the last folder location you chose automatically)
Ctrl-W - Closes a tab

If you're frequently needing to find guides or lookup mysterious exceptions...

Ctrl-T - Opens a new tab, and in Chrome it puts the cursor in the address bar - great for quickly going somewhere else (or using Chrome as a calculator, as I often times do)
Ctrl-K - moves cursor to the address bar and changes the address bar to a google search.

Some generally useful hotkeys (work in many apps, not just text editing)

ctrl+A - will select EVERYTHING
ctrl+X - Cut. Works like the Copy hotkey, but also deletes the selection. A great tool for quickly refactoring code.
If used in the File Explorer, Cut-Pasting a file doesn't delete it, but instead moves it from one place to another. If you're moving the file(s) from one place to
another on the same drive, this can be nearly instant. If you don't need to have two copies of the same thing, consider using Cut instead.

As for as general text editing shortcuts

shift+end - will select from your cursor to the end of the line.
shift+home - will do the same as above, but to the beginning of the line instead.

VSCode has some other handy shortcuts for cursor manipulation (other IDEs have similar functionality w/ different hotkeys)

Alt+Up/Down Arrow - Shifts the current line the cursor on up or down. If you have multiple lines selected - they will all move

Ctrl+Alt+Up/Down Arrow - similar to Ctrl+D, but instead of creating a new cursor at every instance of a word or selection, it just duplicates the cursor on lines above or below at the same horizontal position. Once you have these multiple cursors, you can manipulate them as if each was it's own individual cursor so the shift and ctrl + arrow hotkeys in the article work here too - but with multiple cursors. Ctrl-D does exactly the same thing in terms of the cursors it creates, just that it 'jumps' instead.

Shift+Alt+F - Auto Format. Formats the file according to VSCode defaults, or you can define overriding format rules in your user settings. You can also make use of one of the many plugins for formatting. I often use this if I refactor a section of code - but the formatting then needs to be re-done.

Also, perhaps not a hotkey per se, more shorthand than shortcut - but VSCode and a number of editors support RegEx search queries - it's on occasion been invaluable to find things that don't all exactly match. I've used it to quickly search things like log files or any large file really. (for example - you could write a query to find serial numbers or mac addresses in a file, without knowing their exact values. Saved my bacon a few times when trouble shooting bluetooth issues in a mobile app.)

chris_bertrand profile image
Chris Bertrand

Great tips, thanks for sharing. Ctrl+K in a browser is a great one!

codevault profile image
Sergiu Mureşan

Great list! Didn't know about Alt + Left, gonna try it today at work. I'll be adding some that I use daily and haven't been covered in this list.

More for VSCode:
CTRL + D - multi cursor select next occurrence
CTRL + SHIFT + L - multi cursor select all occurrences in file
CTRL + ALT + UP or DOWN - multi cursor next line up/down
CTRL + / - comment or uncomment
CTRL + P - quick search file

And some for VS:
CTRL + , - quick search definition and/or file
SHIFT + ALT + UP or DOWN - multi cursor next line up/down
CTRL + SHIFT + U - to upper-case
CTRL + K and CTRL + D - format whole file

dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim

Thanks for the list Chris.

To add one more, I believe only one keyboard shortcut is worth mentioning for browsers.

ctrl + shift + t

It opens previously closed tab, which saved me multiple times.

chris_bertrand profile image
Chris Bertrand

This one is great, thanks. I've added to the main post under Browser Shortcuts!

dance2die profile image
Sung M. Kim


theredpanda17 profile image
Caleb Robinson • Edited

Don't forget these!
SHIFT + CLICK will open a new instance of a program.
SHIFT + CTRL + P or F1 will open up a list of useful commands in VS Code (like refreshing the window).
MIDDLE CLICK or SCROLL CLICK to open links in new tabs or to close a tab.

rustyf profile image
Russ Freeman 🇪🇺 #FBPE

Windows - SHIFT + CTRL + CLick open as Administrator 👌

drozerah profile image
Drozerah • Edited

Generic Windows Shortcuts

1 : open and display folder contents in Windows Explorer from terminal

Navigate to the folder you want displayed in Windows Explorer by using the Change Directory command cd then type the following command

start .

2 : quickly change display settings

If you were to skipping between "PC screen only", "Duplicate", "Extend", "Second screen only", simply use Windows + p shortcut

stealthmusic profile image
Jan Wedel

I love shortcuts! I have one or two for you:

[WIN] + [SHIFT] + Left/Right - Moves the current window in its current size across multiple screens. Use that one all the time when working with multiple displays.

chris_bertrand profile image
Chris Bertrand

Ooh cool, didn't know you could use Shift there too! Thanks for the tip.

amit_savani profile image
Amit Patel

My personal favourite to delete word

  1. Ctrl + Backspace - Delete word on right of cursor position
  2. Ctrl + DEL - Delete a word on left of the cursor postion
wayfarer_youth profile image

I'd recommend Vimium for Chrome. Browsing with your keyboard is amazing

rupeshiya profile image
Rupesh Krishna Jha • Edited

Can you give some shortcuts for developing in atom editor ?

chris_bertrand profile image
Chris Bertrand

I'll be honest, I've never used Atom before, but this cheatsheet package looks the business.

rupeshiya profile image
Rupesh Krishna Jha

thanks man!

inclushe profile image

You can also toggle comments (in VSCode at least) by selecting your block of code and hitting CTRL + /.

chris_bertrand profile image
Chris Bertrand

I didn't know this one, it's actually even easier! Thanks

julesmanson profile image
jules manson • Edited


I wish to add a non-keyboard but related command. Maximize the speed of the mouse movement. Also if you have acceleration make it maximum. I know Windows has this but not sure about Apple. It will only take a few minute to get used to this but once you have done it there is no way you will ever go back to that slow dragging movement of the mouse. It will also help to prevent tennis elbow of the wrist if you are someone whose on the computer 24/7 such as I.

elie222 profile image

You missed the most important one:

command + D - Multi Cursor, Select next occurrence

lodo1995 profile image
Lodovico Giaretta

Windows + Tab = applications history (quite recent new feature)