Keyboard Shortcut and Special Keys
Both Windows and Apple Mac computers have Shortcut and Special keys to help you out.
- press the Windows key to open and close the Start Menu or Start Page
- press the Ctrl key on its own to safely wake-up from a screen saver
- see the table below for more
Personal computers – whether they run the Windows, Apple Mac, linux or something else – allow certain common and/or special actions to be done by using Shortcut and Special keys on the keyboard.
When using a keyboard intensive application, such as a word processing, it is sometimes easier to use a keyboard shortcut instead of moving away from the keyboard to use the mouse – for instance for highlighting, cutting and pasting text.
It is also a good back-stop to regain control of a “lost” mouse pointer or confused desktop display – for instance just simply pressing the Windows key on a PC will open or hide the Start Menu or Start Screen.
Shortcut keys provide an easier and sometimes quicker method of navigating and using computer software programs.
Shortcut keys are commonly accessed by pressing the Alt (on PCs), command key (on Apple Macs), Ctrl, or Shift key, holding it down while the pressing another particular key.
The common way for describing a shortcut is showing the modifier key, a plus symbol, and the single character or other key. In other words, “ALT+S” is telling you to press the Alt key and while continuing to hold the Alt key, press the S key to perform the shortcut.
Special keys, such as the Windows key (on Windows PCs) can do something specific when pressed on their own and also provide an extra set of shortcut keys when combined with other keys. Most of these actions are to do with manipulating and viewing the desktop display, but on Apple Macs the Apple/Command key is often used instead of the Ctrl key to do the equivalent of commonly used shortcut keys.
Some useful shortcut and special key combinations:
|Open or Close the Windows Start Menu or Start Page||Windows Key||n/a|
|New Finder window||n/a||Command-N|
|Switch to next open program(The Tab key is above Caps Lock and looks like: ?l )||Alt-Tab||Command-Tab|
|Switch to previous open program(The Shift key is below Caps Lock and looks like: ? )||Shift-Alt-Tab||Shift-Command-Tab|
|Minimise all open windows||Windows key-M||Command-Alt-M|
|Save the current item in most programs||Ctrl-S||Command-S|
|Close and quit current program||Alt-F4||Command-Q|
|Copy highlighted text or item||Ctrl-C||Command-C|
|Cut/Move (and delete) highlighted text or item||Ctrl-X||Command-X|
|Paste Copied/Moved text or item at the cursor||Ctrl-V||Command-V|
|Undo most recent change||Ctrl-Z||Command-Z|
|Redo most recent Undo||Ctrl-Y||Command-Y|
|Open the Find feature in most programs,i.e. Find text in word processing or Internet browser||Ctrl-F||Command-F|
|Print the current item in most programs||Ctrl-P||Command-P|
Interactive Windows keyboard diagram Click the following link for an informative interactive web page that shows the keyboard layout and describes the action of each key:www.gcclc.org/StudentFiles/Mouse-Keyboard/Keyboard.htm.
See also What version of Windows is on your PC? for use of the Windows + R and Windows + Pause key combinations.
A description of Apple Mac Keyboard Shortcuts can be seen at the following link:support.apple.com/kb/ht1343