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What Is Ctrl-F?

Ctrl-F or Cmd-F is a keyboard shortcut that allows a user to quickly find a word, phrase or symbol within text on a webpage or in a document. In studies done by Dan Russell, a Google search anthropologist, about 90 percent of people don't know this shortcut — and it could be costing them. On average, those who do know the Ctrl-F shortcut are about 12 percent faster in their searches than those who do not, which really adds up for people who spend a lot of time working on the computer.

More about keyboard shortcuts:

  • Just knowing how to hit Ctrl-F is not all there is to effective searching. To get the most out of this shortcut, it's best to search for the shortest, most unusual string of text or words. If you search for something that is too common, you'll get too many results, which defeats the purpose of the shortcut.

  • Other useful keyboard shortcuts on personal computers include Ctrl-X for cut, Ctrl-C for copy and Ctrl-V for paste. In Microsoft Word, using Ctrl-Right Arrow or Ctrl-Left Arrow will move you over one word to the right or left, and Shift-Home and Shift-End will select all the text from where your cursor is to the beginning or end of the document. In Excel, hitting F2 will immediately allow you to edit a cell.

  • Mac users can use Option-Cmd-H to hide every application except the one they're in and simplify their screen, and they can use Option-Cmd-D to show and hide the dock. Option-Cmd-Right Arrow expands folders, and Shift-Cmd-Delete empties the trash.

Discussion Comments

By anon223156 — On Oct 18, 2011

I'm just starting to use Cmd features and appreciate this additional primer.

By anon221926 — On Oct 14, 2011

Yeah! it's quite useful for beginners.

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