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What does Ctrl+Z do?

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While not all of us remember or use many keyboard shortcuts daily, there are some shortcuts out there that are known to just about anyone using a computer.

In this article, we’re talking about the Ctrl + Z keyboard shortcut and what it does. 

Also read: How to type a copyright symbol?

What is Ctrl + Z?

Popularly known as the ‘undo’ shortcut, this combination, when pressed, can revert any change made on your PC. For example, you could be typing in a Word document, making edits to a presentation in Powerpoint, deleting a folder in Windows Explorer or filling out a form in your browser. If you make a mistake, you can revert the change using this shortcut.

While this is the main implementation of this shortcut across operating systems, several other scenarios are used for something entirely different from undoing mistakes.

Much like Windows, MacOS also uses the same keyboard shortcuts (Command+Z) to undo an action.

Also read: How to type backwards 3?

What deos Ctrl+Z do?

There are several ways you can use this shortcut, depending upon the scenario. 

Undo mistakes

As mentioned above, the most common implementation of the Ctrl + Z keyboard shortcut is to undo mistakes. This applies to Windows, Linux and macOS and just about any other operating system that exists today. 

Using the shortcut multiple times can undo multiple consecutive inputs from the user. Still, it really depends on the program whether or not the let the user undo multiple mistakes at once.

Undelete files and folders

Another common implementation of the shortcut, especially inside Windows Explorer, is that you can use it to undelete any files or folders that you might’ve deleted by mistake. Sure, you can always use the Recycle Bin, but using the shortcut is just easier. 

Similar to undoing mistakes, pressing the shortcut multiple times will also restore multiple deleted files or folders. 

Create files 

When using the Command Prompt, Ctrl + Z implies a totally different thing. You can use it with the copy con command to create files through the Windows command line.

Step 1: Press Windows key + X and click on Command Prompt. 

What does Ctrl+Z do? | Candid.Technology

Step 2: Type in the following command and press enter.

copy con file1.txt
What does Ctrl+Z do? | Candid.Technology

Step 3: Now type the text you want to insert in the file and once you’re done, press Ctrl + Z which will appear as ^Z in the command prompt. Hit enter to create the file. 

What does Ctrl+Z do? | Candid.Technology

Suspend processes in the Command Prompt

If you’re running a process in the Command Prompt and want to suspend it temporarily, you can use Ctrl+Z to pause the process by sending a SIGTSTP signal. Hitting the shortcut again will resume the process. 

This also works in Linux/UNIX based terminals. However, note that this differs from the keyboard interrupt shortcut (Ctrl + C), which terminates the running process altogether. 

Also read: How to fix ‘System Thread Exception Not Handled’ error in Windows 10?

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: