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Ctrl key: Explanation and important combinations

In addition to keys for common letters and numbers, a Windows keyboard also has keys whose function is less clear. A key of this type that is used particularly often is, for example, the shift key, which, combined with a letter key, ensures that the corresponding capital letter is entered. Combinations with the Ctrl key are less common, but still extremely useful. This button is also no function assigned –But if you press it at the same time as other buttons, you run different commands that are otherwise only accessible via detours with the mouse or via the menu.

We'll show you most useful Keyboard shortcutswith the Ctrl key at a glance.

Ctrl or Ctrl key: Two names, one key and one function

The abbreviation "Strg" stands for "control". Accordingly, this abbreviation can only be found on German-language keyboards. The English-language counterpart "Ctrl" (found on English-language keyboards) stands for "control". So [Strg] and [Ctrl] are two names for the same key.

In some sources, the term “string” is given as the meaning of the Ctrl key. Although this explanation is incorrect, it does indicate the function of the key. The English word for "sequence" indicates that the Ctrl key is usually part of a key combination.

The Ctrl key has no function of its own, but leads only in combinationwith other buttons Commands. These vary depending on the active window. For example, different functions are available to you in a word processing program than in a web browser or in the operating system.

The Ctrl key is on a Windows keyboard twice in the bottom row available. The exact position also depends on the model and manufacturer - in most cases there is a version to the left of the Windows key and one to the right of the AltGr key. The function of the two buttons is always identical, which is why you can simply select the button that is more convenient to reach.

On Apple keyboards there is a key labeled “ctrl” with the superscript “^”. The functions of the Windows Ctrl key are taken over by the Command key [Cmd].

The most important key combinations with the Ctrl key

Keyboard shortcuts make it easier to execute commands that would otherwise require several mouse clicks. Memorizing the most important shortcuts with the Ctrl key is particularly worthwhile. Because with these you lead in different programs the same common commands.

Important Ctrl key combinations for system and other applications

The respective functions of shortcut keys depend on the active window from. Practical shortcuts are not only available directly in Windows, but also in the web browser or other applications.

Keyboard shortcut

Active window


[Ctrl] + [A]

System folder

mark all files

[Ctrl] + [X]

System folder

cut out selected files

[Ctrl] + [Q]


exit program

[Ctrl] + [S]


save current status

[Ctrl] + [+]


Enlarge display

[Ctrl] + [-]


Zoom out

[Ctrl] + [0]


Set zoom to zero percent

[Ctrl] + [F4] or [Ctrl] + [W]


ends the current document or closes a window in a program

[Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Ent]

System / program

open various options, e.g. B. Shut down, log off or open the task manager

The Fn key takes you to frequently used system settings with simple key combinations. Read our guide on how to activate and deactivate the Fn key.

The best shortcuts with the Ctrl key in Microsoft Word

In word processing programs like Microsoft Word, a particularly large selection practical keyboard shortcuts with the Ctrl key. At first glance, it seems challenging to memorize these shortcuts. In most cases, however, these can be achieved with the English word for the command you want derive. Press the key with the first letter at the same time as the Ctrl key to execute the function. An example: The English word for "print" is "print". Therefore open the dialog for printing by pressing the [Ctrl] + [P] keys at the same time.

Keyboard shortcut


[Ctrl] + [C]

copy selected text to clipboard

[Ctrl] + [V]

Paste text from clipboard

[Ctrl] + [A]

highlight all text

[Ctrl] + [F]

Open search function

[Ctrl] + [H]

Open the "Find and Replace" dialog

[Ctrl] + [G]

Open the "Go to" dialog

[Ctrl] + [O]

Select the "Open" option

[Ctrl] + [P]

Open the print dialog

[Ctrl] + [S]

save file

[Ctrl] + [X]

cut selected text

[Ctrl] + [Q]

exit program

[Ctrl] + 1782

create new document

[Ctrl] + [Alt] + [S]

Split or cancel the split of the document window

[Ctrl] + [Z]

Undo the process

[Ctrl] + [Alt] + [F]

Insert footnote

[Ctrl] + [Alt] + [D]

Insert endnote

[Ctrl] + [Enter]

Insert page break

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