What Does Ctrl+Z Do? More Than You Think

Ctrl Z Guide Hero

If you’re a casual computer user, there’s a good chance you haven’t really taken advantage of keyboard shortcuts. That’s fair enough, as we’re all busy people and taking the time to learn these mundane things isn’t always a priority.

One shortcut you definitely should learn, however, is Ctrl + Z. It’s pretty much the perfect keyboard shortcut, letting you undo mistakes on all areas of your PC. Here we show you all the wonderful ways you can utilize the Ctrl + Z shortcut.

1. Undo Writing or Editing Mistakes

The most common way to use Ctrl + Z is in writing, video editing, image editing and other software. Whether you’re working in a Word Document, email, coding tool, input field in your browser, or just about any other program on your PC, hit Ctrl + Z to undo the last thing you wrote.

The same applies for programs like PhotoShop and InDesign. Whether you’ve just over-touched an image or misplaced a segment on an InDesign file, hit Ctrl + Z to undo the last thing you did.

Depending on which program you use, you can press Ctrl + Z repeatedly to undo multiple inputs. Each program has its own limits, but many set a cap of 20 undos before you can’t go any further.

2. Undelete Files and Folders

This is a very handy way to use the keyboard shortcut. Have you ever accidentally deleted a file or folder while managing your files in Windows 10? This usually isn’t a reason to panic, as you can just go to the Recycle Bin and restore the file from there, but if you want to save a ton of time, just hit Ctrl + Z instead to bring it back.

Ctrl Z Guide Undelete

As with undoing writing and editing mistakes, you can do this multiple times for multiple deleted files.

3. Redo Everything with Ctrl+Y

You can’t talk about Ctrl + Z without also talking about the Redo command. Anything you undo with Ctrl + Z can be redone again with Ctrl + Y (or Ctrl + Shift + Z in some apps).

Think of it as undoing the undo command. Sometimes maybe you pressed Ctrl + Z one too many times or have decided after deliberation that you do actually want that file deleted. Just press Ctrl + Y to reverse the undo command.

Play around with it. Delete a bunch of text by pressing Ctrl + Z five times, and you can get it all back by pressing Ctrl + Y five times.

4. Create Files in the Command Line

In the Windows command line, the Ctrl + Z shortcut takes on a different use. One of the ways it works here is with the copy con command, which is used to create files through the command line.

To try this out, in the command line type:

copy con testfile.txt
[This line contains the text you want to appear in the file you're creating]

After you’ve entered the text you want to appear in your newly created file, hit Ctrl + Z (which will appear as ^Z in the command line). Once you’ve done that, hit Enter.

Ctrl Z Guide Copy Con

You can now browse to the directory in the command line and find the file waiting for you there.

5. Suspend Processes in Command Line

Another function of Ctrl + Z in the command line is to instantly suspend a process you’re running in the command line. This can be handy if it’s a long process, and there’s a particular point where you want to take a closer look without waiting for the whole thing to finish.

It does this by sending a SIGTSTP signal. To resume the process again, just hit Ctrl + Z again.

That’s all you need to know about the Ctrl + Z command. Remember that it works in just about any program – from word processing software to Photoshop and video editing. If you haven’t really used keyboard shortcuts, then let this shortcut be your gateway into a world of shortcuts and improved productivity.

You can’t do Ctrl + Z or any other shortcuts without a working keyboard, so see our guide on how to fix a keyboard when it malfunctions. You should also stay up to date on the latest Windows update problems and advice on how to fix them.

Robert Zak
Robert Zak

Content Manager at Make Tech Easier. Enjoys Android, Windows, and tinkering with retro console emulation to breaking point.

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