Touchscreens are ubiquitous in modern technology, but physical keyboards remain prominent in applications like gaming and office work. Along with a tactile feel, keyboards offer shortcuts to help you get more done in less time.
When it comes to computers, there are well-known keyboard tricks like copy/paste and ctrl-alt-delete . These have been around for a long time, but there are many more shortcuts and new ones are implemented as operating systems are updated. Here are 10 keyboard shortcuts to use on your PC or Mac.
Switch between open windows
How often do you find yourself with multiple windows open simultaneously? You work on one app while keeping the others on hold for easy access. You may be running a virus scan in the background, or you may have your email application open. Sometimes you may have forgotten what you are running in the background.
A keyboard shortcut lets you quickly see what’s open and access what you want at any time:
- To switch between open windows on your PC, press Ctrl + Alt + Tab.
- To switch between open windows on Mac, press Command + Tab.
lock your computer
You should shut down or lock your computer every time you leave it unattended. You can lock it instead of turning it off if you intend to go back to it soon. You have to do it manually even if your device is set to lock automatically after a set time.
Your lock screen should require a password to unlock to protect it from unauthorized access. Here’s how to lock your screen using your keyboard:
- To lock your screen on PC, press Windows + L.
- To lock your screen on Mac, press Shift + Command + Q .
Take a partial screenshot
When you take a screenshot on your smartphone you capture the entire screen, but you can capture a part of the screen on your computer:
- To take a partial screenshot on PC, press Windows + Shift + S .
- To take a partial screenshot on Mac, press Shift + Command + 4 .
This shortcut is similar to touching the Print Screen key. A small menu will appear at the top of your computer screen.
Select Rectangular , Freeform , Window , or Full Screen Cutout from the menu, then choose the area of the screen you want to capture. The screenshot will be saved to your clipboard. Open a tool like Word or Paint and paste the screenshot into it. You can edit the screenshot and save it to the chosen location.
Whether your eyesight isn’t what it used to be or you want to see something on your screen in greater detail, zoom is there to help. You can point to a specific location with your mouse and zoom in and out as needed using the keyboard and mouse wheel.
To zoom in and out on PC or Mac, press Ctrl + mouse wheel . Move the wheel up to zoom in and down to zoom out.
You can search your computer at any time to find things like an app, setting, or file. Use it to find music and contacts or even browse the web.
- To open Find My PC, press Windows + S .
- To open Spotlight on Mac, press Command + Space .
Low-contrast text can be difficult for people with vision problems to read. Strongly contrasting colors can make reading on your computer screen faster and easier. Although there is a keyboard shortcut for PC, Mac does not have a supported shortcut.
- To activate high contrast on your PC, press Left Shift + Left Alt + Print . A menu will open asking you to confirm that you want to enable the setting.
- To disable high contrast on your PC, press Left Shift + Left Alt + Print .
We all make mistakes, and that’s what the undo function is for. But sometimes undoing a mistake is itself a mistake and we need to get back to our original intent. That’s where redo comes in. There is a quick way to implement these commands:
- To undo an operation on Windows and Mac, press Ctrl + Z .
- To redo an operation on Windows and Mac, press Ctrl + Y .
Create a virtual desktop
If you use many applications simultaneously or use your PC for different tasks, virtual desktops can help you keep track of everything. You can create multiple separate desktops that display their own windows and applications.
You can work on your computer while keeping a virtual desktop open for a game. You can open windows and applications for a task such as video editing on one desktop and use the other desktop for photo editing.
- To create a virtual desktop on your PC, press Windows + Ctrl + D .
- To create a virtual desktop on Mac, press Control + Up .
back to desktop
If you have many windows open on your computer and you want to minimize them all at once, you can quickly return to the desktop with a single command. This is also useful for troubleshooting. If your screen is frozen and you can’t use the taskbar, this keyboard shortcut might come in handy:
- To return to the desktop of your PC, press Windows + D .
- To return to your Mac’s desktop, press Command + Option .
If you want to completely close an app you’re working on, there’s a keyboard shortcut to do it. This is especially useful when you have multiple windows open simultaneously. But beware, all unsaved changes you have made in an application or window will be lost.
- To close windows on your PC, press Alt + F4 . This shortcut will close the active item or exit the active application.
- To close windows on your Mac, press Command + W .