Keyboard shortcut

From Academic Kids

A keyboard shortcut (also known as an accelerator key, shortcut key, or hotkey) is a set of keyboard keys that when pressed simultaneously, perform a predefined task. Such a task could be done with the mouse (or other analog input such as a trackball), but would require much longer. Hence, they are a shortcut in that they save the user time.


1 Microsoft Windows keyboard shortcuts
2 Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts

1 See Also


Standard notation (for example, in software reference manuals, and often in menus) is <first key held>+<second key held>+...+<nth key held>+<key pressed normally>,<subsequent key pressed normally>. The plus sign is sometimes substituted with a hyphen, and the comma with a semicolon.

It is important to note that while the command is executed by the combination of all keys joined by plus signs' being pressed together, the last key should always be struck normally. New users frequently find that they accidentally execute a keyboard command many times in rapid succession, because when told to hold keys, they make the mistake of holding all of them until key-repeat occurs.

Most keyboard shortcuts do not have the "<subsequent key pressed normally>" component of the above scheme. A few examples of ones that do: Ctrl+Alt+Del,Spacebar for "Lock Computer" in Microsoft Windows 2000 (the initial Ctrl+Alt+Del pops up a dialogue whose default option is "Lock Computer", which the Spacebar then executes); Alt+Spacebar,n often minimizes a window in Microsoft Windows.

Microsoft Windows keyboard shortcuts

  • Control+A: Selects the entire document for copying, deletion, etc.
  • Control+C: Copy currently selected text or object to clipboard
  • Control+P: Opens Printer dialog box in readiness for printing a document or webpage
  • Control+V: Paste current contents of clipboard at current location in document
  • Shift+Insert: Paste current contents of clipboard at current location in document
  • Control+X: Cut (remove) currently selected text or object from document and copy it to the clipboard
  • Alt+Tab: Shift focus to next window
  • Windows button+D: Minimize all open windows
  • Windows button+F: Open a search window
  • Alt+F4: Close current window
  • F1: Open the "Help" function
  • Ctrl+Shift+Esc: Start the Task Manager (on Windows 2000 and Windows XP). This is one of several three-finger salutes.

For a more complete list, see the Microsoft Knowledge Base article (126449) (;en-us;126449) on the subject.

Note - Control-Alt-Delete, which opens the task manager (in Windows 95 and 98), is not a shortcut. As there is no other way to open the task manager, by definition, it cannot be one.

Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts

  • Command+q: Quit the current application
  • Command+w: Close the current window (without quitting the application)
  • Command+o: Open (file, document, selected icon, etc.)
  • Command+i: Get info
  • Command+m: Minimize window
  • Option+Command+d: Show or hide the dock
  • Control+F1: Turn on full keyboard access
  • Command+c: Copy (currently selected item or text)
  • Command+x: Cut
  • Command+v: Paste
  • Command+i: Information
  • Command+d: Duplicate
  • Shift+Option+Command+q: Immediately Log Out.

For a more complete list, see the Apple Support article (75450) ( on the subject.

See Also



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