Use This Undocumented Keyboard Shortcut for Faster Text Editing in Windows

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There are many keyboard shortcuts in Windows, including some that are undocumented. One of these lesser-known shortcuts is Ctrl + Backspace. This keyboard combination deletes the previous word in many (but not all) Windows programs and can be a real time-saver. Place the cursor to the right of the word to be deleted, use the shortcut, and the word disappears.

The shortcut works in Microsoft Word but not Excel. It works in text editors like Notepad++ and WordPad but not in Notepad or Windows Explorer. It also works in various email programs. I have used it in Outlook Express, Gmail, and Yahoo mail.

The history of this irregular shortcut is discussed by Microsoft senior engineer Raymond Chen at his blog. He explains the technical reason why the shortcut works in many but not all Windows programs. 

Linux users will recognize this as a standard shortcut in that operating system.   

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's and tutorials, including  a computer education website and a site for learning about the command line.

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