Do you need to remember the key sequence to do a task? Put it on a Post-It. Almost every program you use on your computer, whether it be a desktop or laptop, has keyboard shortcuts. These allow you to quickly accomplish a task, without taking your hands off of the keyboard. Keyboard shortcuts usually comprise a modifier key and another key. The most common modifier keys comprise the Shift, Control, and Alt key. On a Mac, the Command key (the one beside the keyboard that has what looks like a pretzel on it) replaces the Control key and the Option key replaces the Alt key. A modifier key is one that does nothing on its own. Holding or pressing the control key does nothing by itself. To use a shortcut, you hold down the modifier key and then press the shortcut key.
You may already be using some shortcuts (C is the Control key, or the Command key on a Mac):
- C-c – Copying selected text to the clipboard
- C-x – Cut selected text to the clipboard
- C-v – Paste the clipboard contents into the current application
Here are some for the operating system:
- C-tab – Switch between Applications
For a browser:
- C-l – Jump to the URL field, highlight the content. You can then start typing a new address
- C-t – Create a new tab
- C-PgUp/C-PgDown – Switch between tabs
To find out more shortcuts, look at the help for the application. To help you remember the shortcuts, feel free to write the shortcuts on to post-its. Just don’t write your passwords down!