DOS (Doing it Old School)

There’s a lot to be said for Doing It Old School sometimes, and when it comes to navigating your way around a PC (Personal Computer) using some tried and true keyboard commands or keystroke combinations is no exception! What may not be obvious to some is that many options or buttons you can click on to pop up a window or perform a function on your PC are simply a graphical or GUI (Graphical User Interface) presentation of an underlying system command or keystroke combination on your keyboard.


Long before the GUI, computer operators had to spell out exactly what they wanted the computer to do using somewhat cryptic keystroke combinations or complicated typed commands.  Without getting too technical here, many folks would refer to some of these keyboard commands as DOS commands.

To be fair, the DOS (Disk Operating System) prompt is a Command Line Interpreter (CLI) and not exactly the same as a Windows Command line entry or Windows CMD line entry.  Some commands entered at a DOS prompt (i.e. C:\>MSINFO32 ) will give you the same result when entered at the Start >> Run dialog box – others, like entering the Directory List command C:\>dir in the DOS prompt window, will not.  This will provide a current root level directory listing, however, the same command entered in the Run window will simply error out.


Visit for an extensive listing of Windows CMD command line values.

The computer’s OS (Operating System) and GUI permits an almost unlimited choice of mouse operated point and click options to operate your PC’s applications and perform day to day data entry and navigation functions.  There are times when I come across users who for whatever reason never picked up on some of the more convenient and simple system/program keyboard key combination commands that could make life a lot easier for them.

These commands can include combinations of the Control Key or Shift plus another key, or the Alt Key plus another key. Some commands are combinations of 3 keys like Control + Alt + Delete – where others are just simple one key operations like an F2 Function Key or the Home key. For some it’s a personal preference to use only the mouse or to use only keyboard commands – some prefer to use a combination of both.

Although some of these may seem obvious or trite – my personal all-time favourites that I use several times every day are:

  • Control + C – will Copy to the Clipboard the highlighted data on the screen
  • Control + V – will Insert (at the current cursor point) the most recently copied information from the clipboard
  • MSTC typed in a Run Command window – opens a Remote Desktop Connection window
  • Alt key + Tab – toggles/switches between open/running programs
  • Windows Logo Key logo + E – opens Windows File Explorer
  • Windows Logo Key logo+ F1 – opens Windows Help and Support

Some of these convenient keyboard shortcuts also function inside your Office or Business applications like Microsoft Word or Microsoft Dynamics GP.

Keep in mind that some key combinations are Context Sensitive – that is – they will perform a certain function depending on the type of data you are working with or the specific program or application you are using. For example:

  • Pressing F7 inside Microsoft Word will initiate the SpellCheck on your document; whereas pressing F7 inside Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio will open the Object Details window
  • Pressing Control + C inside a DOS Command Prompt window will cancel the currently running DOS operation; whereas pressing Control + C inside a Microsoft Word document will Copy the currently highlighted item/text to the clipboard.

Many of the keyboard and keystroke combinations referenced here will work across several Windows Versions and Dynamics GP Versions – some are specific to particular versions.  I encourage you to explore some of these convenient and useful keyboard functions and use whatever methods work best for your day to day computer use and data processing.

As a bonus, if your mouse breaks down one day and you are stuck using the keyboard only for a time – you will still be able to navigate around your screens and continue your work using some of these shortcuts.

Some examples of key-stroke and key combination commands that can be used in every day PC operations are:

  • Control + S – Saves (or prompts to Save) the current document or file you are working in
  • Control + A – will select all the data in an editable field
  • Control + C – will Copy to the Clipboard the highlighted data on the screen
  • Control + V – will Insert (at the current cursor point) the most recently copied information from the clipboard
  • Control + X – will copy the currently highlighted data to the clipboard – and remove it from its current location
  • Control + Y – will ‘Redo’ the last function or command requested
  • Control + Z – will ‘Undo’ the last function or command
  • Control + B – will BOLD the selected text (or will toggle BOLD on/off)
  • Control + I – will italicize the selected text (or will toggle italics on/off)
  • Control + U – will underline the selected text (or will toggle underlining on/off)
  • Control + Home – will navigate your cursor to the top most point in the file or document you are working on
  • Control + End – will navigate your cursor to the end most point in the file or document you are working on
  • Windows Logo Key logo  + E – opens Windows File Explorer
  • Windows Logo Key logo + D – minimizes all running windows or applications and presents your desktop
  • Alt + F4 – closes the current running application (and will prompt to save your document if required)
  • Alt + Tab – will cycle through the open or running programs/applications/windows on your PC

The following are some useful web links:

Sometimes when you are looking for a program or function on your PC but can’t quite remember how to get there – or perhaps you are missing your shortcut icon – you can often type the program or function name in the Windows Run command field.


Here are some example commands that when typed into the Run field (Start >> Run) will quickly provide you certain GUI options without having to search for them in other menus or program groups.  (Most of these utilities can be found in %systemroot%\System32\)

  • Control – opens the control panel
  • Control Printers – open the Printer Dialogue box within the Control Panel
  • CMD – opens a DOS command window
  • Explorer – opens Windows Explorer
  • iexplore – opens Internet Explorer
  • MSTSC – opens a Remote Desktop Connection window
  • Msinfo32 – displays a convenient list of your PC’s system information (like how much RAM you have)
  • msc – will list the Services that are installed on your system and if they are currently running or stopped
  • Excel or WinWord or Notepad – opens MS Office Excel, MS Office Word or Notepad

The site presents an extensive list of functions you can access this way (Reminder: functions available depend on your specific operating system)

Several keystroke combinations that work in other Windows applications also apply when working inside of Dynamics GP – like using Control + C  (to copy selected data from a field) and Control + V (to paste data into a field).  In addition to creating your own Shortcuts – here are some keyboard shortcuts or keystroke combinations that work inside Dynamics GP – many are context sensitive, that is, depending on which Dynamics GP Window you are in will determine what that keystroke combination will do:

  • Control + e will Open Additional Vendor Accounts in Vendor Account Maintenance
  • Control + e will Open Item Detail in Sales Transaction Entry
  • Control + L – Displays the Lookup window, the cursor must be placed in a field that uses the lookup window
  • Alt + F9 – Opens up Report Writer
  • ctrl + w – Close the current window
  • alt + x – Exit application

Here are some internet links that detail more options and shortcuts within Dynamics GP; additional information can be found in your Dynamics GP online documentation which is accessible from the Help Screens within Dynamics GP:

The ‘F’ Keys (Function Keys) on your computer keyboard offer some convenient operations as well – the functionality of these keys differ from program to program:

  • F1 – usually pops up context sensitive Help information
  • F2 – will allow you to rename an object such as an icon on your desktop or a filename
  • F5 – refreshes the current window

ComputerHope lists a detailed explanation of most F key functions here.

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