Stack OverflowWorst "muscle memory" keyboard shortcut?
[+26] [110] Colin Pickard
[2008-10-27 16:18:22]
[ language-agnostic ide keyboard-shortcuts ]

What's the worst shortcut you have in your "muscle memory"?

For example, mine is CTRL-L: compiles the current object in Sybase Powerbuilder, but deletes the current line in Visual Studio.

Community wiki mode for subjective posts please! - Chris Marasti-Georg
oops; wiki-ed. thanks for pointing it out - Colin Pickard
Wow, this seriously got 15 votes? Threads like this should be closed immediately. - unforgiven3
[+103] [2008-10-27 16:41:06] Jeff Yates


It's backspace in everything except web browsers, where it goes back a page in your history depending on where the input focus is. Irritates the hell out of me, especially if I've just typed a huge forum entry that the browser decided not to cache.

(8) +eleventybillion (if I could) on this one! ;-) Whoever decided backspace should go to the previous page in a web browser needs to have some seriously painful punishment inflicted upon them! - Brian Knoblauch
Most certainly. Jay and Silent Bob Strikes Back style. - Jeff Yates
I remember losing a web-based event in Science Olympiad back in high school because of this. Some brilliant event planner had all students fill out a form in a browser as a submission. Type-o? Oops, you just lost all your work if your focus wasn't in the right spot. - Marcin
Backspace makes sense in Opera, where hitting the spacebar takes you to the next page if you can't scroll down. Not really a problem, since Opera had (it's optional now) so many single-key shortcuts that you really do pay attention to where your focus is. - ephemient
(8) One thing that always irked the crap out of me in Firefox. I've developed a defense mechanism: I compulsively Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C to copy what I've typed so far, in case of disaster, - TM.
@Taylor Marshall, I do that too! Doesn't help when the stuff you've typed is in multiple form fields rather than a single textarea-type field, though... - Jon Schneider
(1) @TM, Try the "It's All Text!" firefox extension. It adds a button that opens any text area in your favorite editor, e.g. emacs. Great for wikis. But the coolest feature is a "Remove all bugs" checkbox in the options menu. :) - JeffJ
(1) @TM, also used to do the same thing (Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C), though I'm using the Lazarus Form Recovery Firefox extension now which makes things a little easier. - Mun
(11) You can get rid of this behaviour in firefox. It's the browser.backspace_action property. Possible values are here:… If you actually want to move back/forward with your keyboard, use Alt+Left, Alt+Right respectively - AgentConundrum
Agreed !!! This is one of the most baffling software design decisions in the history of software. - Christopher
it could be worse. On vimperator backspace doens't go back a page, it goes up on the url structure to the parent page its annoying as hell - Nuno Furtado
@Mun: I do the same thing (Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C) - Jeff Yates
(1) This is one of the things I love in Opera and miss in Firefox - Opera preserves entered content when you go back. - Domchi
[+60] [2008-10-27 16:29:37] Hugo

My password.

Don't know how to write it on a phone or something else (ancient history: pencil) since i frankly don't know my own password except in muscle memory.

This is my best excuse for not switching to Dvorak layout.

(1) Definetly. I spelled it over the phone once, and it didn't work. After mimicking typing it a few times, I restated it, and he goes "you know you spelled that word wrong right?" I had no idea. - Tom Ritter
(1) I have issues with my password because I use non-alphanumeric characters and just remember them by Shift+<number>. My phone doesn't have the same key layout. Ouch. - Jeff Yates
I actually installed a Linux distro with the wrong root password because I typed it twice (wrong) from bad muscle memory. I think perhaps one of my hands was shifted over 1 row on the keyboard. I was eventually able to guess the wrong password, and change it to what it should have been. - Kibbee
I've had to give my password over the phone before. I had to air-type the password to figure out what the letters were, and even then it wasn't perfect: I told the person on the phone to use "whatever symbol you get from shift plus the 7 key" for one of the characters. - ojrac
(9) The upside is that it's really easy to find out what it is: type it out in clear text. - titaniumdecoy
I also use only my left hand, good thing I don't use it for anything that I worry about. - Brad Gilbert
Probably time to change your password... - TM.
Use numbers only password ;) - Marko Kocić
(2) +1 - my work passwords are strictly muscle memory: sequences of keys that I can type fast, that are immune to dictionary attack, and that include all the password rules ... the days after bimonthly password change can be painful :-) - kdgregory
What! This is why you switch to Dvorak. Think about it you can remember to type "Bobby" on qwerty layout but you get "Xrxxy" on dvorak. People will see you type one thing but your password is something else. :) I love my Dvorak! - Bobby Cannon
I use a pass-phrase. A long sentence with several letter-to-number substitutions (3 for e, etc.). It's absurb how fast I can mash my fingers into the keys and get it right, or how I can immediately tell if I've typed a wrong key - though I too would have to type it in Notepad to know just exactly what the phrase with it's substitutions is anymore. - qes
If I were ever interrogated 24-style, with some guy stringing me up saying "If you want to live, tell me what the password is!!" I'd be just fine. I would be happy to protect my password, but not at that cost. Apparently, you'd be screwed. Especially if you couldn't air type it. - corsiKa
Why don't you guys just type the password on notepad or something to figure out what they are? :S - Rob
[+51] [2008-10-27 16:31:55] Ray Hayes [ACCEPTED]

When I was working in Germany on a German configured machine:

Alt+F followed by S

I'm wanting, *F*ile|*S*ave, instead I often got *F*enster|*S*chließen (translates to Window|Close). Excel used to close the window without prompts, hardly what I was intending!

(21) Maybe you should have Ctrl-S in your muscle memory instead! ;) - polyglot
(8) I hit Ctrl-S so many times in a day it is utterly ridiculous. Quite literally every single time my fingers pause from typing. Gets annoying when I accidentally do it in a browser often. - qes
[+49] [2008-10-27 16:26:19] JamShady

I always type 'mysql' instead of 'myself' when writing personal emails, etc.

Yeah! :) I like it! - klew
I've done that too! - GameFreak
[+42] [2008-10-27 16:22:32] Lance Roberts


This permanently deletes a file instead of putting it in the recycle bin, helps a lot, hurts sometimes.

Why bypass the recycle bin? - Chris Marasti-Georg
Just to keep the clutter from accumulating, and save me the time of having to examine my recycle bin. - Lance Roberts
I only ever use SHIFT-Delete. Never really had much use for a recycle bin. If I want something deleted, I want it deleted, not moved to some other folder where I forget about it. - Kibbee
(4) Time saved deleting files from recycle bin: 4 seconds. Time wasted rewriting critical document: 2 hours. This one is painful :D - jonnii
Yes, you're right, it's sometimes very painful, and I hope to get rid of the habit someday. - Lance Roberts
I have this habit also. It's killed me a few times but then I hate having a packed recycle bin. - Jeff Yates
7GB in the recycle bin and no space left on the HDD! But then again I still usually use Shift-Delete - alexp206
If you accidentally delete something, just use a file undeleter! I've used it with success a few times. - Cristián Romo
First thing I do after installing Windows is disabling the Recycle Bin. - Alvaro Rodriguez
(6) If you are worried about accidentally deleting important documents, you should have them under source control, instead of relying on the Recycle Bin !!! - Alvaro Rodriguez
turning off the recycle bin is the dumbest thing you can do. How much does it hurt to right-click an icon and select "empty" every now and again? Compare to: How much does it hurt when you accidentally delete an important file? - nickf
(1) it's the equivalent of taking the seatbelts out of your car and then, when someone points out the danger of it, saying "well, just don't crash!" - nickf
It helps quite a bit when working with large files. When I worked in IT we had to managed 5-12GB image files. Deleting three or four of those and not having them 'deleted' was quite a pain. Now I use shift+delete for everything. - David Sokol
(1) Some valid points raised here. Bottom line is that whether you like the recycle bin or not, you cannot rely on it as a form of backup. Important files should be adequately backed up and/or kept under source control. I don't accept ANY excuse for important files getting lost. - RichieACC
it's still no excuse for removing a safety net. sure, don't RELY upon it, but don't get rid of it! - nickf
(5) @nickf: you clearly don't understand how much having a non-empty recycle bin troubles us... - RCIX
@RCIX: But it's so easy to empty it. Don't use it as purgatory for your deleted files. Just use it as a safeguard when you delete things. Once you're finished deleting, and satisfied you didn't get rid of anything you shouldn't have, empty the recycle bin. Easy as that. - Nick Lewis
(2) @Nick Lewis: Though it may seem like "one small further step", it really irritates us semi (and completely) OCD computer users :) - RCIX
[+41] [2008-10-27 16:50:45] jj33

"ESC" when I'm done typing in non-vi/vim environments. Most apps ignore the escape, but in a lot of IM clients ESC seems to mean "throw away all the stuff I just wrote". Since I usually only do it after I've typed a lot, I usually lose quite a bit of information.


(4) If you're looking for an IM client which also ignores the escape, try Pidgin. - Jorn
Try going from Windows Notepad to GEdit. Notepad removes one char, GEdit removes the latest typing segment. - Brad Gilbert
The key is to use a real IM client, like emacs + viper + erc-mode. Then ESC will do what you expect. - jrockway
Esc is the bane of my existence in Outlook. Good answer! - Andy White
Oh man... some older versions of Opera used to crash if I hit Escape in a text box. So annoying... - staticsan
I'm so glad I'm too young to be used to VI... Except when I'm stuck with it on some terminal, cursing my way through the weird old ideas on how text should be edited :) - romkyns
Far worse for me: Toad does this when I create a new object (stored proc usually) using their editor that opens in a new window. Then, when I want the code-completion to go away, I automatically hit ESC, which instantly closes the window without asking me for confirmation. I hate that. It super sucks. - Rob
I can't agree more. I've done this a bajillion times. - Jordan Parmer
[+26] [2008-10-27 17:10:33] ephemient

Control-Enter. In my chat client, this inserts a newline into the usual single-line input field, but in Outlook, this sends a mail, in its current incomplete and embarrassing state.

AFAIK Shift+Enter should be used on a windows machine for inserting line breaks. - Pat
or possibly Ctrl+Enter or Alt+Enter - Ian Boyd
(1) thankfully Thunderbird pops up saying "Do you want to send this email now?" when you use the Ctrl+Enter shortcut - nickf
Simple solution: don't type the addressees until you've finished it. - Peter Boughton
There is also an option (Tools > options > Mail Setup) that you can untick "send immediately when connected" which helps avoid this sort of situation. You then need to manually press the send/receive button (or F9) - Ash M
[+21] [2008-10-27 16:30:38] Daniel Spiewak

As a longtime Vim user, h-j-k-l are my number one nemesis. :-) I'm constantly attempting to use them within other editors...somehow it just never works. You should see the number of times I randomly insert "jjjjjjjj" within a block of code before I realize what I've done.

I have found that you can map Alt+{h,j,k,l} within Eclipse and jEdit, which is better than nothing. Totally worth the money. - Brian Gianforcaro
(1) And I do the same thing, except I try to save with :w - Brian Gianforcaro
(5) Are you the only vi[m] user that looks at the keyboard instead of the screen? Even when using hjkl? - Hugo
(1) Similar: I always end up with an extra "ZZ" in my files when I try to save and exit, before I realize I'm not in vi. - ephemient
I like that GMail and Google-Reader use j, and k. Even though I really haven't used vi. - Brad Gilbert
(1) @Hugo No, I just don't pay attention when I'm trying to page around a file. When trying to cursor to a line, I focus on the target rather than the current state of the cursor. Thus, I only notice the 'j's when the cursor doesn't show up where I expect. - Daniel Spiewak
ah, sorry, of course. - Hugo
Weird. I usually get garbage characters when I'm using the command line because I use arrows for navigation, and they sometimes get translated to letters for some weird reason. - Joey Adams
[+17] [2008-10-27 16:41:15] Tim Whitcomb

I'm usually working in Vim, and I try to stay out of edit mode as much as possible. This means that I almost always hit escape after typing a string of text - even in my Outlook email.

Same. Except I often get as far as <esc> :wq before I realise I'm not in vim. - tunaranch
(1) I sometimes do this and I rarely use VIM ever. - Mr. Shiny and New 安宇
Yeah, same as me! - Ray Hidayat
[+16] [2008-10-27 22:28:11] staticsan

Mouse gestures in Opera. I often find myself trying to use them in IE. Fail!

(2) I keep trying to close tabs in using gestures. Someday it might work... - bh213
(1) This was a definite problem for me; Using Firefox gestures all day long, then switching to a Mac laptop with a one-button trackpad. Right-click is a two finger tap, but two finger drag is scroll, so there is no way to rightclick-drag! - Karl
(1) One more reason to stay away from Macs... :-P - staticsan
@Karl it's quite easy on current 0-button MacBooks. If you physically press trackpad with 2 fingers it works like right mouse button and dragging moves mouse rather than scrolling (light touch scrolls). - porneL
BTW: xGestures on OS X add gestures to all applications. - porneL
[+14] [2008-10-27 22:46:17] Mr Fooz

Ctrl-X Ctrl-S

In emacs, this saves the current file. In Visual Studio, this deletes the current line, then saves.

I really wish there was a way to make Visual Studio work like all other Windows apps, where Ctrl-X does nothing if nothing is selected.

(2) I'd recommend changing your key bindings in VS to use Emacs:… - Ray Vega
The emacs keystrokes are great in emacs but pesky for the rest of life. That link above looks like a lifesaver, though! - glenatron
Every time I open Visual Studio, I do this. I usually have Emacs set up as an alternate editor for this reason. - JasonFruit
[+12] [2008-10-27 16:19:54] DannySmurf

F5. I use it all the time in SQL Manager to run a query. In Visual Studio, it starts a debugging session, which is irritating when I've been looking at the VS window, but forgot to select it.

ctrl+break is your friend! - jonnii
It is. Unfortunately, at my job, I use a slow-arsed (single core P3) laptop. By the time it registers the break request, the compile is already finished and it's off starting the app to debug. - DannySmurf
Sometimes I'll press F5 in Visual Studio thinking "refresh" and end up in debugging. - Slapout
F5 in Lotus Notes means: "Lock Lotus Notes and ask for the password" - furtelwart
@guerda: That one that always bites me. I expect F5 to "refresh", i.e. check for new mail, but sadly, that key is F9. - e.James
[+12] [2008-10-27 16:22:02] Vinko Vrsalovic

I don't know why, but 3 out of 5 times I type

use string;

instead of

use strict;

when coding in Perl. I guess my muscles are accustomed to end a word beginning with 'stri' with 'ng'.

(10) Heh, I do the same thing. Another one that gets me is "/usr/lolcat" instead of "/usr/local"... but I don't type "lolcat" very often! - Rich
/usr/lolcat is just great! - hangy
(5) Ahh just sudo ln /usr/local /usr/lolcat - Brad Gilbert
I am big on form instead of from and vise-vera - Brettski
(1) Once I was typing vaporub and instead typed vaporuby - wallyqs
Maybe have your editor type this for you. Do you ever not want strict on? - jrockway
@Brad Gilbert — I use tab completion way too much for that to fly. :-) - Ben Blank
(1) I can never type "serve" in one go, I always type "server". - Rob
[+12] [2008-10-27 16:52:21] isc_fausto

As a VI user, pressing esc, :w to save my work or :q to close MS Word (for example)

Or like it was already mentioned, <SHIFT>ZZ :) - zladuric
[+11] [2008-10-27 16:43:19] Toybuilder

Emacs Meta-W (copy region) is one of my often-used key commands. Works great... except when I forget that I am using the terminal app on my wife's Mac. (Meta-W is Command-W => Close window.)

The "muscle-memory" kicks in faster than the supervisor thought process. I can almost feel that part of my brain saying "wait, don't do... D'oh too late!" every time I do that.

Actually, Emacs in general has turned into muscle-memory, and when I get deep into coding, I sometimes forget that I'm in an alternate editor universe, and then quickly get into a mess when I rapid-fire type in navigation command streams.

It's also my Emacs-ish tendency that has me preferring to use Control-ESC (instead of the dedicated Windows key) to bring up the Windows Start Menu. It's normally not a problem, except my laptop's Fn+ESC invokes system Standby, which leads to a 30 second penalty-box-time as I go into suspend and then re-wake the machine. If I had a network connection (SSH or Network file copy), I also lose the network connection because the suspend kills the connection. Aargh!

EMacs muscle memory bites me ALL the time - Ken Gentle
(1) The supervisor memory actually kicks in before you commit the mistake. The wonders of fMRI nowdays. Problem is, it is usually too late, so it's only good for the 'oh shit' thought. - MSalters
(1) I have vi-muscle memory. I often curse that the default command editing mode in bash is not vi-mode... - staticsan
Ctrl-W is the same it closes the dang window in windows systems (eclipse, word,excel...) - Nuno Furtado
[+9] [2008-10-27 16:27:12] Kibbee


In almost every application it performs a redo. However, depending on your settings in VS.Net 2008, especially under the default VB.Net programming shortcuts, performs a line delete.

c+e c+z is redo in jEdit. Drives me nuts! - Daniel Spiewak
Another annoying one. Historically it was always "Y"ank out the current line. Somewhere recently (last 15 years or so) some fool decided to use it for redo, which is a DRASTIC change in meaning... - Brian Knoblauch
@Brian: Right. Yet here we sit, unable to undo this history. BUT you must admit that hitting Y and expecting a line delete -- and getting redo instead has a MUCH SMALLER impact on your development than expecting redo and getting instead a line delete, erasing the entire redo stack from that point forward. Very painful if you were cycling backwards through redoes, then suddenly realized you needed to redo back to the beginning, only to end up deleting the current line and possibly have to remember and redo EVERYTHING you just undid manually. I speak from PAINFUL experience, not speculation. - mellamokb
[+8] [2009-04-07 13:41:35] furtelwart

Ctrl + P is nice. It's always "Print file". ALWAYS. In every application.

Not in (the German) Notus Notes. There it is: Close the current tab. Nice... very nice, since it's soo fast to open it again :-|

(4) Bonus points for making the key images! (How did you do that?) - Jeremy Stein
(10) Jeremy: <kbd>Ctrl</kbd> - furtelwart
[+7] [2008-10-27 16:27:04] IAdapter

Eclipse - Run Java Application - Alt+Shift+X,J

[+7] [2008-10-27 16:33:15] Michael Stum

F9. In Delphi, it launches the program under the Debugger, in Visual Studio it toggles a breakpoint.

Also F12. In Delphi, toggles between Code and Design view, but in Visual Studio it Goes to a Definition.

F5 was already listed.

The meaning of F5 and F9 are exactly reversed between Delphi and VS - Ian Boyd
I know - really annoying. I think MS deliberately did that. :-) - Lucas Jones
[+7] [2008-10-27 16:42:19] hmemcpy

Left Ctrl + Shift + Left/Right arrow keys, when working on a laptop with the leftmost Fn key (where Ctrl should be), it's frustrating...

[+7] [2008-10-28 04:28:05] Athena


Deletes one word on the command line and in Firefox on OSX; closes the tab in Firefox on Windows and Linux.

I usually use this shortcut when I'm typing in a textarea, and decide to edit/erase the last few words I just typed. Which means that I go:

type type typetypetype type type ^W^W^W-- and AGH promptly lose three tabs of work.

I have the same problem (lose work in Firefox tabs), but caused by IntelliJ IDEA where Ctrl+W means "Select successively increasing code blocks" - a very handy, often-used feature. - Jonik
Luckily CTRL-SHIFT-T saves the day often... unless you already filled in the entire text area :( - zladuric
[+6] [2008-10-27 16:27:00] Daniel Cassidy


In every application ever, it's Redo, except IntelliJ where it's Delete Line.

CTRL + Y In almost every application it performs a redo. However, depending on your settings in VS.Net 2008, especially under the default VB.Net programming shortcuts, performs a line delete - Kibbee - Vinko Vrsalovic
Well, in Emacs it means paste. - Rene Saarsoo
In PaintShop Pro, Ctrl+Y is repeat, and Ctrl+Shift+Z is redo. That gets me all the time. - Jeff Yates
(3) Great idea! Let's overload a shortcut that in almost every other application means "oopsie, undid too much" so that it means "destroy the current line, AND clear the redo buffer". - Apocalisp
Yep, this screwed me over all the time in VB6 - Sciolist
CTRL + Y scrolls up by a page in most unix applications - GameFreak
To redo, type control+y, and if that didn't work, control+z then control+shift+z. Or you can just type control+shift+z and see nothing happen. Very intuitive! - Joey Adams
[+6] [2009-04-07 14:08:34] e.James

Delete-Enter in Windows. I got used to using this keystroke combination to delete a file, and then hit "Yes" when Windows asked me if I was sure.

It worked fine until Windows XP, where the small delay before the "Are you sure?" dialog comes up is just enough time for the Enter keystroke to launch whatever I had selected.

I've done this with hundreds of high-res photos selected. The only way to kill it was a hard reboot.

I assume you know of shift+del? - acidzombie24
I do now. Thanks! ;) - e.James
[+5] [2008-10-27 16:23:57] harpo


I used this to close and save Notepad for, I don't know, decades, and they changed it in Vista. It took me a while to switch to Alt+F4, Enter, which will close without save in XP. Thanks, Longhorn!

At least Alt+F4, N still works! (The button text is "Don't Save", but they made the N rather than D the hotkey for the button.) - Jon Schneider
This is (one of the few plances) where the OSX convention is better. Button names are always actions (Save and Don't Save rather than Yes, No) and Enter always chooses the default button(the 'best possibility' like Save). Space chooses the 'Worst' possibility - Don't Save. - Nivas
[+5] [2008-10-27 16:52:55] Kyle Trauberman

I have a mac at home, but use VS2008 at work. I often find myself doing Win+ instead of ctrl+.

I do that constantly but I run Windows in a VM so VMWare translates most of the commands. But I constantly type Ctrl+ in OS X and get failure. - Slace
If you need to use both OSs, then configure OS X to swap Command and Control. Or move Control to Caps Lock and have Command under both Cmd and Ctrl keys. - porneL
[+5] [2008-10-27 17:16:01] leppie

Weird, no-one has mentioned the infamous Quake claw :)

Well, mention it! What is it? - Blorgbeard
Your fingers constantly on A W D, ready to strafe :) - leppie
I've been doing it for 3 month when I stopped playing battlefield 2... - Frederic Morin
(2) I have a good claw story. Most FPS use ASDF. However, Tribes 2 defaults to ESDF due to more commands that you need to run and I was fine with that default. Except that it puts your pinky (crouch in other games, but no crouch in T2) over the Windows key. Hello Start Menu! - JasonMArcher
I gave a lot of easy kills due to my slow computer minimizing then maximizing the game. sigh - JasonMArcher
That always is my default finger layout on my keyboard. I just cant loose it after 6 years of playing pc games. - Pim Jager
(1) There's an awesome little app called "I Hate This Key", which simply shuts off the Windows key (and some others): - e.James
@Pim: same with me, and I havent gamed in years... - leppie
If you look around your office, you can spot the gamers. The non-gamers home to a-s-d-f + j-k-l-;, the gamers home to shift-a-w-d + mouse. - Iain Galloway
Well sticking around WASD also makes it easy to hit most common keyboard shortcuts. So it's only natural! - Nick Lewis
[+4] [2008-10-27 16:31:11] KernelM

Ctrl-U: I'm used to it erasing the input line in Unix, but in Firefox, it's View Source. Often leads to annoyance when I try to erase the address bar quickly. Thankfully at least Opera follows the Unix way.

[+4] [2008-10-27 17:49:41] BoltBait

At work, my systems are connected to a switch box. If I cut-and-paste something (using Ctrl-X, Ctrl-V) too quickly I activate the "Switch to next machine" function of the switch box (Ctrl, Ctrl). *sigh

So, usually, I just use Shift-Insert for Paste. This works great until I have to use my wife's PC. Her Insert key is in a different location... so I end up hitting Shift-Del instead. *sigh

Sometimes you just can't win.

[+3] [2008-10-27 17:42:22] Kristopher Johnson

Ctrl-X is used as the prefix for a lot of things in Emacs. It's often bad when I hit that when Emacs is not the app with focus.

Especially annoying for me is that when I run Emacs in an X window on my Windows desktop, the cursor is always blinking in Emacs, even when that window is not active. So I often think it is active when it isn't.

[+3] [2008-10-27 17:52:45] Bob King

F5 is refresh in most sane worlds, but in Lotus Notes, it's "Lock Screen". Extra frustrating to be in the middle of something.

Was one of my most hated things while I had to use Notes. - Ulrich Gerhardt
[+2] [2008-10-27 16:22:06] Chris Marasti-Georg

When switching between Eclipse and Visual Studio+Resharper, I always confuse the organize shortcuts.

[+2] [2008-10-27 16:38:05] pmlarocque

Being a Mac owner but working in windows/visual studio. I forget many windows shortcut without really learning Mac ones.

[+2] [2008-10-27 18:29:17] BastiBechtold

I am switching between Macs and Windows Machines on a regular basis. On Windows, Alt-Q writes an @, on the Mac, it quits many programs. Every CMD-XX shortcut from the Mac invokes the Windows start menu.

But the worst thing I ever whitnessed is a numeric pad that used a telephone-key-layout. It took five tries until I figured out what was wrong with my PIN.

[+2] [2008-10-27 19:00:25] John Rudy

In Windows, CTRL+DEL deletes the whole word in front of the cursor everywhere ...

Except on StackOverflow, where the markdown editor sets me up to do a quote and graciously moves the entire line I was working on beneath said quote. D-Oh! (Yes, this bites me almost daily.)

I shouldn't gripe -- the editor is outstanding in every other conceivable way, and supports all the other keyboard shortcuts I use routinely ... But still. You asked. :)

This isn't fully fixed yet! It still happens in some area... e.g. when you edit a post. - chakrit
[+2] [2008-10-30 20:20:56] community_owned

f5. Press it about 100 times a day in visual studio to make things "go", so every time I switch apps and I want make things "go" I automatically press it without thinking. Usually it doesn't do anything, but occasionally it has negative effects (like refreshing a webpage when you're in the middle of streaming a large video--ouch)

Same. SQLYog had F5 for "run", but after upgrading to Enterprise edition, it's now F9. - Dean
[+2] [2008-11-06 13:07:01] sharkin

I sometimes press Ctrl+Z when I regret something in FPS games where I use the keyboard for moving around.

That's primate logic, isn't it?

[+2] [2009-02-17 18:43:11] Mr. Shiny and New 安宇

CTRL-ENTER: in my IM client (since forever) it sends the message. In Outlook it does too. But I'm used to typing a single sentence in IM and sending that, then typing the next sentence; this doesn't work well in e-mail. I've sent three messages in a row once, each appologizing for the previous message not being complete.

[+2] [2009-04-07 13:29:01] Peter M

When Running MS-SQL Server Management Studio in VMWare.

Ctl-E in SQL is run the query

Ctl-E in VMware is power the machine off .. Instantly .. no waiting!!

You really have to be careful which system has focus.

This one kills me. Often. - Rydell
[+2] [2009-04-07 13:44:43] job

I got in the habit of using windows + m to minimize all windows.

This wasn't a problem until I switched to ubuntu where it will give you something like this: alt text

I freaked out for ten minutes until I finally figured out what I did.

Command + option + control + 8 on a mac - GameFreak
[+1] [2008-10-27 16:21:28] jonnii

CTRL-L is also my pain point. It goes to the address bar in firefox, but also logs me out of my internal chat application.

People are always wondering why I'm going in and out of chats all the time, they must think I'm very confused.

Try using Alt-D instead, works in Firefox, IE and Chrome to go to the address-bar. - Ray Hayes
and also in Windows Explorer which I find very useful - Colin Pickard
Cool, thanks for that! - jonnii
Ray Hayes: Not in German FF. The File menu is called "Datei", try to guess which hotkey that is... - furtelwart
[+1] [2008-10-27 16:23:47] nermal

Used to be CTRL + ALT + F4.

I used to run my IRC sessions on terminal 4 in linux - was a pain when I had to use windows and instead of switching me to my IRC client, it closed whatever window I had open ;)

[+1] [2008-10-27 16:37:21] Fortyseven

I'll sometimes hit CTRL-K/CTRL-Q to quit (or other Wordstar combinations) in vi thinking I'm in joe. Drives me up the wall. :D

[+1] [2008-10-27 16:39:41] JamShady

F5 - In Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome it refreshes the page. In MSSQL Enterprise Manager, it refreshes the current query results. But in Zend Studio (which I use for PHP development) it starts a debug session... arrgh!

[+1] [2008-10-27 16:46:18] Jeb

After programming in C# for most of the day, I always type "string" rather than "String" when declaring a string variable. Then I see the little red squiggly line in Eclipse...

[+1] [2008-10-27 17:10:46] Alex. S.

In the spanish versions of many office applications (MS looking at you), Ctrl + S, instead of saving, it underlines text, so when you quit carelessly you can end with no changes saved ...

[+1] [2008-10-27 17:15:30] Jason Sundram

Ctrl-X, S. In Emacs, it saves the current buffer. In Visual Studio 2005 (with Visual Studio 6 key bindings), it cuts the current line and then saves the file.

Every day. Every bleeding day. - JasonFruit
[+1] [2008-10-27 17:16:03] ephemient

In Bash (simulating Emacs-like keybindings), Alt-[blah] is basically an extended version of [blah]: Ctrl-D is delete, Ctrl-Alt-D is delete word, etc.

Sometimes I use Ctrl-H for backspace, other times I use the actual Backspace key. Sometimes I use Ctrl-Backspace because my left hand has already decided to press Control before my right hand has decided whether to hit H or Backspace.

I use Ctrl-Alt-H or Alt-Backspace for backword. The problem comes when unintentionally I hit Ctrl-Alt-Backspace instead of either of the above: this resets X, which kills everything I'm working on.

Solution: Option "DontZap" "on". I just have to remember to do this on every new system I set up.

I hear Fedora 11 is going to default to "DontZap off"... quite a historical change, and I'll never run into this problem again wishful thinking :) - ephemient
[+1] [2008-10-27 17:45:02] Herms


I use it all the time in VIM to navigate between panes. Unfortunately, in every other editor I use (I have various IDEs I use depending on the language), it's "close window".

It's especially bad in netbeans, where I installed the jvi plugin. So most VIM commands work, but occasionally I forget to avoid Ctrl-W and accidentally close a file.

Not to mention that in tcsh (and bash?) it is delete-word - Nathan Fellman
[+1] [2008-10-27 17:54:31] Binny V A

The paste shortcut - Ctrl+V. When I switched to Dvorak, the V key became the 'K' key changing Ctrl+V into Ctrl+K - the shortcut to delete the current line in Linux(KDE) systems.

[+1] [2008-10-28 03:09:56] Brandon DuRette

CAPS + (anything)

I have the Caps Lock key on my keyboards mapped to Ctrl, so every time I'm on someone else's machine I end up spraying random capital letters into whatever I'm editing.

[+1] [2008-10-28 04:08:54] Dean


In Notepad++ it duplicates the line, in Eclipse it deletes the line. :(

EDIT: I'm very unhappy with Notepad++ VS Eclipse shortcuts. I just discovered CTRL+L Goes to a line in Eclipse, but in Notepad++ it deletes the line.

[+1] [2008-10-29 03:08:39] nickf

When writing code samples in this MarkDown window on Stack Overflow, I copy 4 spaces into the clipboard and then use CTRL+V instead of tab to indent.

When I switch back to actually doing some work, I find myself pressing Paste instead of Tab.

[+1] [2008-10-29 14:30:53] Ray Hayes

Typing my credit-card PIN number into the coffee machine!

[+1] [2008-11-12 01:40:23] Slace

I struggle to do my office pin number without the pad, which is also my extension (hey, I don't have to call myself!).

I also have a lot of fun with Ctrl + Space (VS show intellisense), Option + Space (launch QuickSilver in OS X) and Command + Space (open Spotlight in OS X).

I'm forever doing to wrong one in the wrong time as I run Windows in a VM so all three are valid in any given context!

[+1] [2009-02-11 05:46:12] Brettski

\ (backslash) Because it's in a different location on just about every keyboard!

[+1] [2009-02-11 05:54:57] frezned


Paste in Visual Studio (at home), page down in Xcode (at work). It's not cancelled by pressing page up, though, as page up doesn't take the cursor with it, while Ctrl+V does.

Every time I want to move a line of code from one place to another, it's accompanied by mild swearing and the clicky scrolling of my mouse wheel.

Usually people use windows at work and OSX at home. - GameFreak
iPhone developer :P - frezned
[+1] [2009-02-11 06:06:30] vava

Ctrl+Z. Because on Windows in everything except Emacs in works as UNDO and in Emacs it suspends it (minimizes and put in the end of Tab app switch queue). Really annoying.

[+1] [2009-02-11 06:15:24] Evan

On an old project, we were using Vi for most editing, and this 4GL tool (showing how long ago this was) for creating the user interface.

The pain of it was, pressing the escape key in the 4GL would close your currently open window without saving, no passing go, no collecting $200.

We ended up getting in the habit of putting a bottle top over the escape key when switching to the 4GL so we couldn't hit it accidentally...

(You use the escape key a lot in Vi for switching from editing mode to command mode, in case you didn't know.)

[+1] [2009-02-11 07:30:16] Nathan Fellman

In English Windows ALT+space + X maximizes a window. In Hebrew Windows X is mapped to the Hebrew letter ס (samech) which happens to be the first letter of the word סגור (close). I can't count the number of times I've tried to maximize a window and closed it instead.

[+1] [2009-02-11 10:26:54] Mehmet Duran

Accidentally pressing CTRL + s while editing a file in vi.

Countless times I've done this and even after learning that a CTRL + q will undo it, I still get a bit nervous and start hitting ESC.

Good ol' software flow control. - Mr. Shiny and New 安宇
[+1] [2009-04-07 13:24:09] Jason Baker

YA emacs answer.

I constantly find myself pushing C-p to move up a line. And if I'm not using emacs, it usually takes me a moment to figure out why a print dialog box inevitably comes up.

[+1] [2009-04-07 13:49:13] RHSeeger


Deletes the current selection in the various editors I use for programming. Closes the window in various other programs (ex, my email client)

It used to be Ctrl-e, which moved to the end of the line in my editors, but sent the email I was working on in my email client... but my current email client doesn't have that behavior.

edit: changed 'line' to 'selection'

[+1] [2009-04-07 13:57:09] KevinDTimm


At my first software job, we had wyse50 and tvi925 terminals, but the one I got the first couple of months didn't have a return key (it was broken). So, I learned to type CTRL-M for a return. It was MANY MANY MANY years before I broke that habit.

[+1] [2010-05-29 04:16:19] jbrennan

When I open the refrigerator door at home, I occasionally catch my fingers "pressing" Command+Space, (or Spotlight search on the Mac).

Terribly embarrassing, but more so disappointing.

[+1] [2010-06-18 02:52:51] Evan Plaice

Tab and Shift + Tab in web browsers

Especially on SO...

I always set tab to be 4 spaces in any editor I use so hitting tab to indent is one of those things that's just hard-wired for me.

The problem is, when I want to insert a code example online (on SO or on online wikis) I automatically hit Tab and Shift-Tab without thinking. It's a major wtf for me on a daily basis.

And it's not impossible to make tab work in text areas. If you use anything but IE, then create a bookmarklet of the following code: javascript:var tas = document.getElementsByTagName("textarea");for(var i =0; i<tas.length; i++){var ta = tas[i];ta.addEventListener("keypress", function(e){if(e.keyCode== 9){ta.value = ta.value.substring(0, ta.selectionStart) + "\t" + ta.value.substring(ta.selectionEnd);e.preventDefault();return false;}}, true);} - Marius
@Marius I know, I've done it before. I actually checked meta after writing this to see if anyone had suggested it yet and found this…. Apparently, overriding tab is looked down on because it breaks the default browser behavior but the 2nd answer offers a very attractive alternative. I wish they'd get to work and incorporate it already ;) - Evan Plaice
[+1] [2010-12-03 18:38:50] Joe

ALT-LEFT SHIFT which changes the language and keyboard layout on a multilingual windows

+1 I get bitten by that one quite often. :-/ - Ulrich Gerhardt
[0] [2008-10-27 17:15:31] rshimoda

Crtl+z and this is because in VMWare it suspends your virtual machine and I accidently hit this in the middle of a presentation.

Needless to say we just laughed and had a 5 min. break before moving on.

[0] [2008-10-27 17:19:28] SomeMiscGuy

I'm an old gamer... I still type WASD alot without meaning to. :( Phone numbers are pretty bad... I can type out most of the phone numbers of people I know I just cannot recite them.

The Quake claw :) - leppie
[0] [2008-10-27 17:20:57] Daniel Cassidy

CTRL-L: Focuses the location bar in Firefox, but clears the conversation history in Pidgin. I switch between the two frequently.

[0] [2008-10-27 17:35:08] mltorrefranca

Browser testing on Mac running Parallels.

Bouncing between Ctrl-R and Cmd-R

Not horrible, but that's the one that gets me the most.

[0] [2008-10-27 17:43:59] owen-kohai

Alt-Spacebar, C. I use a Model M at home and there's this satisfying "click-thunk-click" sound every time it's typed.

It's also a great way to confuse newbie and mouse-only Windows users, since they'll see something flash momentarily and suddenly the whole window's gone.

I don't know if it'd qualify as muscle-memory, but when I'm thinking about something while seated at my keyboard I find myself hovering over the wasd keys, a side-effect of too much CS and TF2, I'm sure. :)

Speaking of which, here's a fun tip: Go to Google Maps and find a place that has street view. Open the street view window and give wasd a try. :)

[0] [2008-10-27 18:37:32] Tim

I alt-f4 within MSDEV to close a code window - and of course it closes the whole IDE.

I have not figured out a shortcut for just closing the current window/file - anyone care to supply it?

Similarly I alt-tab thinking it will change source windows, but I get to a new app instead.

(1) Just use Ctrl+F4 and Ctrl+Tab - Daniel Hilgarth
[0] [2008-10-27 18:37:55] Anthony Potts

I have two, which have the same source of the problem. I do a fair amount of COBOL and ASP and .NET combined. (More of the former than I really prefer, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.)

In most of the IDEs that I use F3 will do a repeat search, in TSO that command will close the member that you are editing/browsing.

In my TSO settings, the repeat search is F5, which is of course a refresh in a browser.

[0] [2008-10-27 18:42:06] pabloide86

my password! also Win + D, Ctl + E, ... , Alt + Space (for launchy), Alt + Tab, Shift + Delete

the mouse wheel counts?

[0] [2008-10-28 00:09:41] DLJessup

Ctl-Alt-Del <my password>

I used to have my (Windows XP) workstation's time-to-idle set to a nice value --- just low enough that my monitor would go dark at about the same time that my computer would lock itself. If I happened to be in the office, I would catch the monitor going dark, jiggle the mouse, and keep my session alive; if I wasn't, then I would simply relog into my system when I got back to my desk. Unfortunately, a group policy was imposed across our network, because some users either never enabled or would disable the autolock, and this value was higher than my old setting. So, for a while, I would come back to my desk, see the monitor was off, type Ctl-Alt-Del <my password> to unlock my computer which wasn't actually locked, and my desktop would start shutting down....

Just change your screen saver timeout? :) - Mr. Shiny and New 安宇
No. The screen saver timeout was locked by the group policy. - DLJessup
[0] [2008-10-28 03:11:48] Donnie H

Ctrl+Z, I get to used to it on my computer and then I try to use it when I'm writing with Pencil/paper.

[0] [2008-10-28 03:45:25] CAD bloke

Escape when using MYOB - it exits the current transaction or whatever you are doing, no matter what the complexity, with NO confirmation dialogue. I dumped it because of this

[0] [2008-10-28 04:06:53] Joshua

DLJessup, my response to that group policy would have been to break group policies. If you have admin on your local box (and what programmer doesn't?), breaking group policies is easy.

[0] [2008-10-28 04:15:30] Eli

My phone number. I can't remember it without a num pad.

[0] [2008-10-29 09:20:58] Bjarke Ebert

With Launchy you type Alt-<space> <progname> to launch a program.

With focus in a remote desktop window (to a machine without Launchy), I try to launch Google Chrome. But Alt-<space> c closes the active window. Happens every day.

[0] [2008-10-30 19:56:07] devio

Different debugger shortcuts in different IDEs for Step Over and Step Into: Delphi, VS, Eclipse. Is it F5+F6, F7+F8, or F9+F10

Management Studio has F5 for table refresh, but CTRL-R for query refresh

[0] [2008-10-30 19:59:34] Jimmy

Ctrl-Delete is delete-word in Visual Studio, but it's insert-blockquote at Stackoverflow. Gets me every time. I delete words a lot. (I also use it in VS to strip leading whitespace from a line)

[0] [2008-10-31 05:39:38] Adam Liss

This afternoon, after a day of working with VMware player in the lab, I found myself back at my desk pressing [Ctrl] + [Alt] to get out of Firefox.

[0] [2008-11-06 12:56:59] utku_karatas

CTRL+BACKSPACE! Expecting to delete till the beginning of the previous word but in some applications you only get . Thank God this behaviour is starting to disappear as it became a standard action in about every platform.

Um, this isn't my post, I just fixed a spelling error. - Svante
[0] [2008-11-06 13:00:59] dice


when on unix and the last command you ran was "rm -rf *" and you have since changed to the root directory or if your lucky your home directory.

[0] [2009-02-11 05:50:29] Jeremy Banks

This is pretty minor, but Command+Shift+Backspace, Enter. In the Finder, it empties the Trash, which I've come to do rather frequently as I'm running low on disk space. In Firefox, it clears private data, deleting all of my cookies and history and such, which slows down my browsing for a little while afterwards.

[0] [2009-02-11 06:00:01] JeffJ

Premature email sent from outlook because it has so many keyboard shortcuts for sending mail and at least one maps to a common emacs key binding. The key press is so subconscious that I usually don't even remember what I just typed to cause the email to send.

[0] [2009-02-11 06:13:06] Mun

Pressing ESC on the TortoiseSVN commit dialog box to get out of the autocomplete closes the window instead of canceling the autocomplete dropdown.

Very annoying after typing out a long message explaining what changes are included in the commit, and then pressing ESC to get out of an annoying autocompletion, and having the window close losing the comment.

Good thing Tortoise maintains a list of recent commit log entries, even if you didn't finish writing it. - Dusda
[0] [2009-02-11 07:04:50] Nivas

Ctrl Z I used to work in the QWERTY world, and in my current job (location) I all have is AZERTY. Z and W are replaced, in the keyboard. Ctrl Z becomes Ctrl W, which in most apps closes the current window. Yes I get a Are you sure pop up. But many a times I have intended Ctrl Z + Enter (or kept typing, and somehow Y came before N)...

[0] [2009-02-11 07:18:59] Brian Rasmussen


  • In Word etc. it means Save as.
  • In Photoshop it means Revert to last saved version - no questions asked!

[0] [2009-02-11 07:33:18] mikelikespie

:w when in firefox. or in pidgin I often type it then immediately press enter when done with a message.

[0] [2009-02-11 07:37:54] Nathan Fellman

ESC is used in vi to switch from edit mode to command mode. Unfortunately, it's used in Outlook to close open messages, even if you're still editing them. Need I say more?

Duplicate answer. - Jeremy Stein
can you link the duplicate? - Nathan Fellman
[0] [2009-02-11 07:39:40] lajos

I use the same Apple wireless keyboard for Mac and Windows. Ctrl vs Command is terrible.

Unfortunately no Vista64 driver for the keyboard, so I use a keyboard mapper to remap copy, paste, cut and some others to work with the Windows key (Command key acts as Windows key.) Not perfect, ut at least the major shortcuts work.

Sometimes I want "del", but instead I hit the eject button.

[0] [2009-02-11 10:37:11] too much php

Using CTRL+W to fast backspace URLs in Firefox address bar. On OS X, it works like CTRL+W in a shell, on Windows, Firefox is usually closed down by the time I realize what I'm doing (closing tabs).

[0] [2009-03-23 05:39:40] Sarel Botha

ctrl+Y usually redoes, but in Aqua Data Studio (a great tool) it deletes the line.

[0] [2009-04-02 22:10:05] GameFreak

Command-anything except tab This constantly causes me problems at school, but at least command-tab and alt-tab have the same keyboard positions.

A specific keystroke that is burned into my hands is Command-L followed by g/ or w/. My computers are set up such that g/ and w/ followed by some text will preform google or wikipedia searches respectively, the beauty of the way that it is set up is that it automatically works in all web browsers on all computers on my home network. But when I try it with IE at school it ends up as an invalid DNS request and internet explorer usually crashes.

[0] [2009-04-07 13:19:26] mousa

Well its the 3rd time that I've been embarrased by sending incomplete emails. I am sick of this, I dont know if there is a way to change this shortkey in OUTLOOK. Mousa

[0] [2009-04-07 13:20:58] Mike Robinson


In firefox it turns on the web dev extension highlighter. In eclipse it autoformats your code to HTML (even if you're working in CSS)

Guess how that turned out on launch day.

This would open up the Find dialog in Visual Studio which allows finding text in all files within your solution. Luckily VS uses the chord Ctrl+K,F for formatting and so far I haven't seen chords like this used in many other products yet so haven't been burned by that one yet. - jpierson
[0] [2009-04-07 13:45:42] Jhonny D. Cano -Leftware-

Because of the spanish ambigüity:

CTRL-S, CTRL-G    For saving
CTRL-A, CTRL-E    Select All

I always get confused, because i have to cognitize what program I am using before applying the shortcut (I am on VStudio, mmm then CTRL-S will work )...

(1) I think this is a great argument for why shortcuts shouldn't necessarily match a natural language. Examples like Ctrl+X, Ctrl+V, and Ctrl+Z don't match English words and people get along just fine that way. The key is consistency as you have helped prove. - jpierson
[0] [2009-06-18 18:48:41] Carlo

In VS2008 in my old job I could Build hitting F6, here at my new job (VS 2008 too), I have to hit Alt + B, U. Which is kind of annoying because from time to time, I hit F6 and nothing happens and I'm like "what the hell?"

[0] [2009-07-16 20:27:01] Jason Morse

CTRL-W in Visual Studio to select word (or Extend Selection with resharper) closes my browser window while editing entries in Sharepoint. Extremely painful.

Funny, i often want it to close my current document in VS... - RCIX
[0] [2010-05-29 03:44:35] jpierson


This will save all documents in Visual Studio but will produce an unprintable and uncompilable character in Visual FoxPro.

[0] [2010-05-29 04:52:24] Joey Adams

QWERTY's X is in the same place as Dvorak's Q. While I was learning Dvorak, I closed out of X-Chat IRC many a time while trying to type Ctrl+X to cut something.

[0] [2010-05-29 04:55:13] Rob

:wq (colon-w-q) on the vi editor in linux. I got so used to doing this I tend to do it a lot on notepad++ and other various IDE's.

[0] [2010-05-29 05:02:45] Jason

Ctrl + X on any line I want to just delete. Stems from VS, and I do it everywhere

[0] [2010-06-15 07:25:26] Xilliah

ENTER for sending an IM, but hey a new window popped up and your computer is now restarting! - just like you requested it to do.

[0] [2011-01-08 11:54:57] Vladislav Korotnev

Mine is not exactly a keyboard shortcut, it is a touchscreen gesture from my Newton and it is something like scrubbing out the text. And I find myself using it on lessons in school... in my copybook. And instead of tidy strokethrough text i get a big mess!

[-1] [2009-02-11 05:39:18] Fabian

I use Control-Z in real life.

Like, shit I shouldn't have said that to her, Control-Z. Damn! Doesn't work!

[-1] [2009-07-16 20:28:37] Marco Mustapic

CMD in Mac and Ctrl in Windows

[-2] [2008-10-27 17:37:46] Atømix

l33t. Using numbers instead of letters. f0r ex4mpl3 I'll t3nd t0 us3 l0ts and l0ts 0f 0s instead 0f o's. Du3 t0 th3ir use in p455w0rd5

I guess I was downvoted because it was unreadable? - Atømix