60 Mac and PC Keyboard Shortcuts You Need to Know

There are plenty of smart ways to get the most out of your computer, whether you’re trying to figure out how to make your laptop battery last longer, figure out why your machine is running more slowly than you’d like, or take advantage of smart features and shortcuts to streamline your workflow. Another must-know way to make using your Mac or PC simpler? Learning some useful keyboard shortcuts. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the essential keyboard shortcuts you need on a PC or Mac.

The basics of keyboard shortcuts on Windows

Learning keyboard shortcuts helps you streamline your workflow and do things faster, whether you're on a Mac or a PC

Keyboard shortcuts are a very useful feature of both Windows and Mac computers | Source: iStock

Keyboard shortcuts on Windows and on other operating systems make it easier to perform tasks that you’d typically need a mouse or another device to accomplish. Keyboard shortcuts make it easier to work with Windows and with the apps that you’ve loaded on your computer.

As Microsoft explains, most apps provide “accelerator keys” that make it easier to work with menus and other commands. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time with an app, it pays to check the menu to learn about those accelerator keys. If a letter of a word is underlined in a menu, that means that you can press the Alt key and the underlined key together instead of clicking that menu item. And when you’re using a touch keyboard, you can see some shortcuts when you press the Ctrl key. Pressing the Alt key in some apps shows commands, along with the additional keys you’ll need to press to use them.

Keyboard shortcuts PC owners need to know: General shortcuts

General keyboard shortcuts can help you navigate Windows faster

There are plenty of basic keyboard shortcuts you’ll want to learn on your PC | Source: iStock

  1. Ctrl+C (or Ctrl+Insert), Ctrl+X, and Ctrl+V (or Shift+Insert): Among the most basic keyboard shortcuts for Windows users, these standbys will copy, cut, or paste the selected item.
  2. Alt+Tab: This command will switch between open apps.
  3. Alt+F4: This shortcut will close the active item or exit the active app.
  4. Windows logo key Windows logo key +L: This command will lock your PC or switch accounts.
  5. Windows logo key Windows logo key +D: This shortcut will display or hide the desktop.
  6. Windows logo key‌ Windows logo key+start typing: This command enables you to search your PC. (Make sure you let off the Windows key before typing.)
  7. Ctrl+plus (+) or Ctrl+minus (-): These keyboard shortcuts enable you to zoom in and out of a large number of items, like apps pinned to the Start screen. (An alternative is pressing Ctrl and using the scroll wheel.)
  8. Windows logo key‌ Windows logo key+C: This command opens the Charms, or if you’re in an app, it opens the commands for that app.
  9. Windows logo key‌ Windows logo key+Z: This keyboard shortcut shows the commands that are available within an app.
  10. Windows logo key‌ Windows logo key+Tab: This command enables you to cycle through recently used apps, while Windows logo key‌ Windows logo key+Shift+Tab enables you to cycle through recently used apps in reverse order.
  11. Esc: Tapping the escape key enables you to stop or exit the current task.
  12. F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6: These keys open Display Help, rename a selected item, search for a file or folder, display the address bar list in File Explorer, refresh the active window, or cycle through the screen elements in a window or on the desktop.
  13. F10: This key will activate the Menu bar in the active app.
  14. Alt+F4: This command will close the active item or exit the active app.
  15. Alt+Spacebar: This command will open the shortcut menu for the active window.

Keyboard shortcuts PC owners need to know: More must-know shortcuts

On a PC, there are plenty of keyboard shortcuts that make things easier both in apps and across the operating system

The most useful keyboard shortcuts streamline your workflow, whether you’re spending hours in one app or bouncing around the operating system | Source: iStock

  1. Alt+Left arrowAlt+Right arrowAlt+Page Up,  and Alt+Page Down: These keyboard shortcuts will go back, go forward, move up one screen, or move down one screen.
  2. Alt+Tab: This command enables you to switch between open apps.
  3. Ctrl+A: This command selects all of the items in a document or window.
  4. Ctrl+C (or Ctrl+Insert), Ctrl+D (or Delete), Ctrl+V (or Shift+Insert), and Ctrl+X: These keyboard shortcuts will copy the selected item, delete the selected item, paste the selected item, or cut the selected item.
  5. Ctrl+Z and Ctrl+Y: These keyboard shortcuts will undo and redo an action.
  6. Ctrl+Right arrowCtrl+Left arrowCtrl+Down arrow, and Ctrl+Up arrow: These keyboard shortcuts will move the cursor to the beginning of the next word, the beginning of the previous word, the beginning of the next paragraph, or the beginning of the previous paragraph.
  7. Ctrl+Shift with an arrow key: This command will select a block of text.
  8. Ctrl+Esc and Ctrl+Shift+Esc: These keyboard shortcuts open the Start Screen or the Task Manager.
  9. Shift+Delete: This command deletes the selected item without moving it to the Recycle Bin first.
  10. Right arrow or Left arrow: The Right arrow will open the next menu item to the right or open a submenu, while the Left arrow will open the next menu item to the left or close a submenu.
  11. Ctrl+TabCtrl+Shift+Tab, and Ctrl+number: These keyboard shortcuts will move you forward through tabs, move back through tabs, or move to the nth tab. 
  12. Tab and Shift+Tab: These commands enable you to move forward through options or move back through options.
  13. Alt+underlined letter: This shortcut performs the command or selects the option that goes with that letter.
  14. Spacebar: This key selects or clears the check box if the active option is a check box.
  15. Backspace: This key opens a folder one level up if a folder is selected in the Save As or Open dialog box.

The basics of keyboard shortcuts on Mac

Learning keyboard shortcuts may take a little bit of work, but that time will be worth it

Learning a few keyboard shortcuts will make your Mac quicker and simpler to use | Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

As Apple explains, keyboard shortcuts that are OS-wide or app-specific enable you to do things that you’d normally need a mouse, trackpad, or other input device to accomplish. On a Mac, keyboard shortcuts are activated by holding down one or more modifier keys and then pressing the last key of the shortcut. The modifier keys that you need to know as a Mac owner are:

  • Command ⌘
  • Shift ⇧
  • Option ⌥
  • Control ⌃
  • Caps Lock ⇪
  • Fn

If you’re using a keyboard that’s made for Windows PCs, you’ll simply hit the Alt key instead of Option, and the Windows logo key instead of Command. Some Mac keyboard and shortcuts also involve the special keys on the top row of the keyboard, including icons for volume, display brightness, and other functions. You’ll just press the icon key to perform that function, or combine it with the Fn key to use it as an F1, F2, F3, or other standard function key.

The Mac keyboard shortcuts ahead are the commands that any Mac owner should know. For most users, the most important categories of keyboard shortcuts are the basic commands that streamline things across the operating system, as well as the commands that make creating and editing documents easier. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but ahead are the essential keyboard shortcuts you should know on a Mac.

Keyboard shortcuts Mac owners need to know: The basics

Keyboard shortcuts help you accomplish tasks faster and with fewer devices

There are a number of basic keyboard shortcuts that you can use across the operating system on your Mac | Stephen Lam/Getty Images

  1. Command-X, Command-C, and Command-V: These keyboard shortcuts will cut, copy, or paste, respectively. Cut will remove the selected item and copy it to the Clipboard, Copy will duplicate the selected item to the Clipboard, and Paste will paste the contents of the Clipboard into the current document or app.
  2.  Command-Z and Command-Shift-Z: These keyboard shortcuts will undo the previous command, or reverse the undo command. Depending on the app, you may be able to undo and redo multiple commands.
  3. Command-A: Select All items.
  4. Command-F and Command-G: The Find command will open a Find window or find items in a document, while the Find Again command will find the next occurrence of an item that was previously found.
  5. Command-H and Command-M: The Hide command will hide the windows of the front app. (If you want to view the front app but hide the other open apps, press Command-Option-H.) The Minimize command will minimize the front window to the dock.
  6. Command-N: The New command will open a new document or window.
  7. Command-O: The Open command will open the selected item, or open a dialog to select a file to open.
  8. Command-P: Use this keyboard shortcut to print the current document.
  9. Command-S: This command will save the current document.
  10. Command-W: The Close command will close the front window, or you can press Command-Option-W to close all windows of the app.
  11. Command-Q and Option-Command-Esc: Command-Q will quit the app, while Option-Command-Esc will force-quit an app (one of the most useful keyboard shortcuts in the event of an unresponsive app).
  12. Command-Space bar: This is the keyboard shortcut to call up Spotlight search. It can show or hide the Spotlight search field.
  13. Space bar: Tapping the Space bar will use Quick Look to preview a selected item.
  14. Command-Tab or Shift-Command-Tilde (~): Command-Tab will switch apps, while Shift-Command-Tilde will switch to the next most-recent window of the front app.
  15. Shift-Command-3 or Shift-Command-4: These Screenshot commands will take a screenshot either of the entire screen or of the area that you select.

Keyboard shortcuts Mac owners need to know: Document shortcuts

Learning a few keyboard shortcuts will make all of your documents easier to navigate and edit

Creating and editing documents is easy with the Mac’s great selection of useful keyboard shortcuts | Greg Baker/AFP/ Getty Images

  1. Command-BCommand-I, and Command-U: These keyboard shortcuts will bold, italicize, or underline the selected text.
  2. Command-T: This command will show or hide the Fonts window.
  3. Command-D: This shortcut will select the Desktop folder from within an Open dialog or Save dialog.
  4. Control-Command-D, Shift-Command-Colon (:), and Command-Semicolon (;):  These keyboard shortcuts will show or hide the definition of a selected word, display the Spelling and Grammar window, or find misspelled words in a document.
  5. Option-Delete, Control-H, Control-D, and Control-K: These keyboard shortcuts will delete the word to the left of the insertion point, delete the character to the left of the insertion point, delete the character to the right of the insertion point, or delete the text between the insertion point and the end of the line or paragraph.
  6. Fn-Up Arrow, Fn-Down Arrow, Fn-Left Arrow, and Fn-Right Arrow: These keyboard shortcuts will scroll up one page, scroll down one page, scroll to the beginning of a document, or scroll to the end of the document.
  7. Command-Up Arrow, Command-Down Arrow, Command-Left Arrow, and Command-Right Arrow: These keyboard shortcuts will move the insertion point to the beginning of the document, to the end of the document, to the beginning of the current line, or to the end of the current line.
  8. Option-Left Arrow and Option-Right Arrow: These commands will move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word or to the end of the next word.
  9. Option–Shift–Up ArrowOption–Shift–Down ArrowOption–Shift–Left Arrow, and Option–Shift–Right Arrow: These keyboard shortcuts will extend the text selection to the beginning of the current paragraph, to the end of the current paragraph, to the beginning of the current word, or to the end of the current word.
  10. Control-A and Control-E: These command will move to the beginning of the line or paragraph or move to the end of a line or paragraph.
  11. Control-F and Control-B: These shortcuts will move one character forward or one character backward.
  12. Control-P and Control-N: These keyboard shortcuts will move up one line or down one line.
  13. Control-O: This command will insert a new line after the insertion point.
  14. Command–Left Curly Bracket ({), Command–Right Curly Bracket (}), and Shift–Command–Vertical bar (|): These keyboards will left-align, right-align, or center-align.
  15. Option-Command-COption-Command-V, and Option-Shift-Command-V: These keyboard shortcuts will copy the formatting settings of the selected item to the Clipboard, apply the copied style to the selected item, or apply the style of the surrounding content to the item pasted within that content.
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