If you happen to be a casual computer user, there is a good chance that you have not really taken advantage of keyboard shortcuts like CTRL + Z. This is fair enough, as we are all busy people, we just want to get things done fast, and taking the time to learn these mundane things is not always a priority.
Saying that a shortcut you definitely should learn, is Ctrl + Z. It is pretty much the perfect keyboard shortcut; this shortcut lets you undo the mistakes you made on all areas of your PC.
You also have the ability to perform an Undo action from a menu command in an app, for example, Edit > Undo in apps that have a traditional menu bar at the top.
The Ctrl + Z Undo shortcut had originated in Windows with version 3.1 in 1992, it was borrowed from the Apple Macintosh (in which the undo was Command + Z instead). The Mac borrowed the Command + Z shortcut from the Apple Lisa (1983), which was created by Larry Tesler as Apple+ Z for the Lisa keyboard layout at the time. Larry Tesler was also the creator of the cut, copy, and paste shortcuts.
Prior to Windows 3.1, early Windows releases used to support an alternative Undo shortcut, Alt + Backspace, that command is still usable in many Windows apps today, however, it might not be universally supported in every application.
In this article, I will show you all the wonderful ways you can utilize the Ctrl + Z shortcut.
5 things you can do with CTRL + Z
1. You can Undo Writing or Editing Mistakes
The most common and popular way to use the Ctrl + Z keyboard shortcut is in writing, video editing, image editing, and other software. Whether you are working on Word Document, email, a coding tool, or the input field in your browser, or you might be working on just about any other program on your PC, you can hit the Ctrl + Z keys to undo the last thing you wrote.
The same applies to programs like Photoshop as well as InDesign. This comes in handy if you have just over-touched an image or misplaced a segment on an InDesign file, you can hit Ctrl + Z to undo the last action you did.
Depending on the program you use, you can hit Ctrl + Z repeatedly to undo multiple inputs. Each program has its own limits, however, many set a cap of 20 undo before it cannot be used to go any more backward.
2. You can Undelete Files and Folders
This can prove to be a very handy way to use the keyboard shortcut. Did you ever accidentally delete a file or folder while managing your files? This usually is not a cause of panic, as you can just make your way to the Recycle Bin to restore the file. However, if you want to save all that time, just hit Ctrl + Z instead to bring it back.
As with undoing writing & editing mistakes, you have the ability to do this multiple times for multiple deleted files.
3. You can Redo Everything with Ctrl + Y
Ctrl + Z cannot be talked about without also talking about the Redo command. Anything that can be undone using Ctrl + Z can be redone again with Ctrl + Y (or Ctrl + Shift + Z for some applications).
Think of the redo command as undoing the undo command. Sometimes you might just press Ctrl + Z one too many times. Or, you might decide after careful deliberation that you do actually want to keep that file deleted. In those cases, all you need to do is press Ctrl + Y to reverse the undo command.
You can delete a bunch of text by pressing Ctrl + Z five times, then you can restore all of it back by pressing Ctrl + Y five times.
4. You can create Files in the Command Line
In the Windows command line, the Ctrl + Z shortcut dawns on different use. One of the ways it works here is with the copy con command, now what is this you may ask, it is used to create files through the command line.
To try the functionality of Ctrl + Z out, in the command line enter:
copy con testfile.txt
[This line contains the text you wish to appear in the file you are creating]
After you entered the text, if you would want to appear in your newly created file, press Ctrl + Z, (This will appear as ^Z in the command line). After you have done that, press the Enter key.
You can now browse to the directory in the command line and find the file waiting for you there.
5. You can suspend Processes in Command Line
Another function of Ctrl + Z in the command line is to instantly suspend a process that is running in the command line. This can come in handy if it is a long process, and when there is a particular point where you wish to take a closer look without having to wait for the whole process to finish.
It suspends the process by sending a SIGTSTP signal. If you are ready to resume the process again, just press Ctrl + Z again.
And, that’s all you have to know about the Ctrl + Z command. Remember that the shortcut works in just about any program, be it in word processing software or Photoshop as well as video editing. If you have never really used keyboard shortcuts, then this shortcut can be your gateway into a world of shortcuts for improved productivity.
Note – On Apple computers, the shortcut to undo is not Ctrl + Z, instead it is Command + Z
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