Basic Keyboard Shortcuts

May 27, 2024 | Blog
Closeup of finger pressing key on keyboard.

Keyboard shortcuts are key combinations you use to complete various tasks on your computer. By pressing a combination of pre-programmed keys on your keyboard, you can perform numerous actions faster than if you used a mouse, so you can see why learning them would benefit you.

All keyboard shortcuts are universal and require pressing two or more keys in a predetermined sequence. To perform most of these shortcuts, you will either need to hold the Ctrl or Alt button plus other keys on a Windows device or hold the Command Key plus other keys on a Mac computer. 

In this article, the team at My Computer Works has detailed the basic keyboard shortcuts you need to know to make navigating your PC even easier. 

Common Windows Keyboard Shortcuts

There are hundreds of Windows keyboard shortcuts worth knowing. But we understand that no one wants to memorize all of them – unless you’re someone who is enamored with computers and IT. 

That’s why we’ve shared a few of the must-know basic Windows keyboard shortcuts that are easy to remember and memorize:

  1. Ctrl+Alt+Delete: This will open up the Windows Close program box.
  2. Windows key + PrtScn: This will screenshot your current desktop and store the images in a folder.
  3. Windows key + V: This will open the Clipboard bin option. 
  4. Ctrl + Z: This will immediately undo the last action and restore a select number of deleted files.
  5. Ctrl + Y: This will redo the last action,
  6. CTRL+U: This will underline any highlighted text.
  7. CTRL+X: This will cut any highlighted content to the Clipboard.
  8. Ctrl + V (or Shift + Insert): This will paste the most recent content from the clipboard.
  9. Ctrl + C (or Ctrl + Insert): This will copy any highlighted content from the clipboard.
  10. Windows key + E: This will open your File Explorer.
  11. Alt + Tab: This will allow you to switch between multiple open applications.
  12. Windows key + L: This will automatically lock the device.
  13. Ctrl + A: This will select all content on the screen.
  14. Delete: This will delete any selected items.
  15. Windows key + Period (.) or Semicolon (;): This will open an emoji panel.
  16. Ctrl + Shift + N: This automatically creates a new folder on the desktop or File Explorer.
  17. Alt + F4: This will immediately close the current active window, or a shutdown box will pop up if there is no active window. 
  18. Ctrl + D (Del): This will delete the selected items and send them to the Recycle Bin.
  19. Shift + Delete: This will permanently delete the selected items and not send them to the Recycle Bin.
  20.  Windows key + I: This will immediately open the settings application on the device.

These common Windows keyboard shortcuts will save you time and even help you navigate your device while troubleshooting, so bookmark this guide and keep them handy!

Common Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

Just as Windows has its keyboard shortcuts, so does Mac. Below, you will find twenty of the most common Mac keyboard shortcuts we believe are worth remembering:

  1. Command-A: This will select all content on the screen.
  2. Command-F: This will find items in a selected document by opening a Find window.
  3. Command-X: This will cut the selected content and copy it to the Clipboard.
  4. Command-C: This will copy your selected content to the Clipboard.
  5. Command-V: This will paste the clipboard’s content into a chosen document or application. 
  6. Command-P: This will auto-print your current document.
  7. Command-S: This will auto-save your current document.
  8. Option-Command-Esc: This will allow you to force quit an application.
  9. Command-Z: This will undo the previous action. Also, by pressing Shift-Command-Z, you can Redo the last action, thus reversing the undo command.
  10. Command-H: This will quickly hide the app at the forefront of your computer. 
  11. Command-M: This will automatically minimize the front window to the Dock. 
  12. Shift-Command-5: This command lets you perform a screen recording or take a screenshot of your screen if you have a macOS Mojave or later. 
  13. Command-G: This will help you find the next occurrence of the item previously found.
  14. Command-T: This will automatically open a new tab.
  15. Control–Shift–Power button or Control–Shift–Media Eject: This will put your displays into sleep mode.
  16. Control–Command–Power button: This will force your Mac to restart – the restart will happen automatically and will not provide a save option.
  17. Control–Media Eject or Control–Power button: This will display a pop-up dialog box that will ask if you want to put your PC to sleep, restart it, or shut it down. 
  18. Command–Grave accent (`): This will allow you to shift between multiple windows of any currently used apps. 
  19. Option–Command–Media Eject: This automatically puts your Mac into sleep mode.
  20. Control–Command–Media Eject: This will exit all apps and restart the device. If any documents are open, you may be prompted to save them.

Benefits of Using Windows Keyboard Shortcuts for Productivity and Navigation

There are many benefits to using Windows keyboard shortcuts for productivity and navigation on your PC. We have listed a few of the benefits you might want to know that could steer you closer toward memorizing the basic keyboard shortcuts most beneficial to you:

  • File management: If you use shortcuts like Ctrl + C (Copy), Ctrl + V (Paste), and Ctrl + X (Cut), you will be able to efficiently complete file management tasks that involve copying, organization, or moving of folders and files.
  • Navigation: If you use shortcuts like Alt + Tab (to shift between open applications) and Ctrl + Tab (to shift between browser tabs), you can quickly navigate multiple windows without using your mouse.
  • System commands: If you use shortcuts like Ctrl + Shift + Esc (which will open your Task Manager) or Win + L (which will Lock the computer), you can quickly and productively manage system tasks and commands.
  • Editing text: If you use shortcuts like Ctrl + Z (Undo), Ctrl + Y (Redo), and Ctrl + Arrow keys (Navigate words), you will be able to correct mistakes more easily and simplify the editing process in your documents.
  • Web browsing: If you use shortcuts like Ctrl + T (which opens a new tab), Ctrl + W ( which closes the current Tab), and Ctrl + Shift + T (which reopens the closed Tab), your web browsing speeds will be significantly improved.

Windows accessibility Shortcuts

Accessibility shortcuts are designed to help you access Windows’s built-in assistive technology for those with vision, hearing, or other impairments. The keyboard shortcuts listed below are best used to quickly access Windows 11 assistive technology features:

  • Windows key + Ctrl + S: This will turn on the Windows Speech Recognition application.
  • Windows key + Ctrl + O: This will activate the On-Screen Keyboard.
  • Windows key + Plus sign (+): This will activate the Magnifier tool.
  • Windows key + Esc: This will deactivate the Magnifier tool.
  • Ctrl + Alt + I: This shortcut will invert colors.
  • Ctrl + Alt + F: This will switch to full-screen mode.
  • Stop reading:  Any key.
  • Left Alt + left Shift + Print screen: This will activate or deactivate High Contrast.
  • Shift five times: This will activate or deactivate Sticky Keys.
  • Num lock for five seconds: This will activate or deactivate Toggle Keys.

Mac accessibility Shortcuts

Like Windows, Mac also has accessibility features that you can easily access through accessibility shortcuts on your keyboard. Below, we’ve shared a few of the easiest accessibility shortcuts to learn if you plan on using these features often: 

  • Option + Command + F5: This will show all the accessibility options.
  • Command + F5: This will turn VoiceOver on or off.
  • Control + Option + F8: This will show the VoiceOver utility.
  • Option + Command + 8: This will turn the zoom tool on or off.
  • Option + Command + Plus: This will aid in Zooming in.
  • Option + Command + Minus: This will aid in Zoom out.
  • Control + Option + Command + 8: This will Invert the colors on the device.
  • Control + Option + Command + Period: This will increase the contrast on the device.
  • Control + Option + Command + Comma: This will reduce contrast on the device.
  • Control + F7: This will help you switch between navigation controls.

Mac vs. Windows Shortcuts

Windows and Mac each have unique keyboard shortcuts designed specifically for their respective systems that are easy to learn and memorize. 

While Mac and Windows offer shortcuts designed to help users effectively complete common tasks—such as file management or text editing—the key commands and combinations will differ between Mac and Windows devices. 

Thus, which basic keyboard shortcuts you plan on learning will depend on the computer operating system you use the most. 

The Wrap-Up On Basic Keyboard Shortcuts

Knowing the basic keyboard shortcuts of Windows or Mac computers could reduce the time you take to do certain tasks in half. Learning basic keyboard shortcuts can also help boost your productivity and make computer navigation easier. 

Now that you know all about Mac and Windows shortcuts, try testing some of them. If you want help navigating PC shortcuts, you can speak with our IT experts at My Computer Works. Our team is more than willing to help you navigate keyboard shortcuts to make your life easier. 


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