34 Useful Keyboard Shortcuts for the Windows Command Prompt

Even if you use the Windows Command Prompt a lot, you might be surprised at the number of useful keyboard shortcuts it supports. You can use them to streamline everything from selecting and manipulating text to repeating commands you’ve already typed. And we’ve got the full list for you.

The Command Prompt is a powerful tool in Windows, giving you access to all kinds of useful commands you can’t get any other way. By its very nature, the Windows Command Prompt relies on a lot of keyboard use–and with that comes handy shortcuts. Most of these shortcuts have been around since the Command Prompt’s early days. Some are new with Windows 10 (especially some of those that use the Ctrl key) and you’ll need to enable them before you can use them. When you’ve done that, you’re ready to unleash your full-fingered keyboard fury.

Shortcuts for Launching and Closing the Command Prompt

Windows actually boasts a number of ways to open the Command Prompt. The following list shows you some of the ways you can open and close the Command Prompt with just your keyboard:

And while any of those ways to open the Command Prompt will work, we recommend getting used to opening it with administrative privileges. Most of the interesting commands you’ll use require it anyway.

Note: If you see PowerShell instead of Command Prompt on the Windows+X (Power Users) menu, that’s a switch that came about with the Creators Update for Windows 10. It’s very easy to switch back to showing the Command Prompt on the Power Users menu if you want, or you can give PowerShell a try. You can do pretty much everything in PowerShell that you can do in Command Prompt, plus a lot of other useful things.

Shortcuts for Moving Around

You can always click with your mouse to place the cursor anywhere you want in the Command Prompt. But if you like to keep your hands on the keys, we’ve got you covered with these shortcuts for moving around:

Once you get used to moving around with the keyboard, you might even find it faster than switching to the mouse and back again.

Shortcuts for Selecting Text

Since text is the currency of the Command Prompt, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that there are all kinds of keyboard shortcuts available for selecting text on the screen. Different shortcuts allow you to select text a character, a word, a line, or even a whole screen at a time.

It may seem like a lot to remember when you can just select text using your mouse and, obviously, whichever way works best for you is the right way to do things. But we’re guessing that if you give yourself a bit of time to get used to the keyboard shortcuts, you might find that it’s actually easier than going for the mouse every time.

Shortcuts for Manipulating Text

Once you’ve selected text, it makes sense that you’d need to be able to manipulate what you’ve got selected. The following commands give you quick ways to copy, paste, and delete selections.

Obviously, the shortcuts for copying and pasting are the most welcome additions in Windows 10. Hopefully, though, you can get some use out of the others.

Shortcuts for Working with the Command History

Finally, the Command Prompt keeps a history of all the commands you’ve typed since your started your current session. It’s easy to access previous commands and save yourself a little typing.

And that’s about it. If you use the Command Prompt a lot, you’ll find a lot of these keyboard shortcuts really useful for saving you some time and potentially mistyped commands. Even if you use the Command Prompt only on occasion, learning a few basic shortcuts for getting around more easily is worth your while.