21 Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows and Mac Devices

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published August 9, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Computers assist professionals with communication, digital asset creation, programming and many other tasks. The operating systems computers use provide multiple opportunities to streamline workflows and make work more efficient through keyboard shortcuts. If you're searching for ways to become more efficient with your work processes, it may be helpful to learn more about keyboard shortcuts. In this article, we define keyboard shortcuts and list several shortcuts you can use.

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What is a keyboard shortcut?

A keyboard shortcut is a combination of button inputs that provide quick access to a particular feature. This usually includes quickly inputting several keys on your keyboard at once, which then causes an instant reaction from the operating system. The main benefit of these shortcuts is access to multiple features quickly without the need for too much manual input.

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11 keyboard shortcuts for Windows

Here are 11 different keyboard shortcuts to streamline your work in Windows:

1. Maximize a window

Maximizing a window is a feature that allows you to enlarge the area of an application to fit the entirety of your screen. It can be useful in situations where you want to more easily view the contents of an application or when you want to reduce any distractions that may result from other applications on the screen. To perform this action, just press the Windows key and the up arrow.

2. Open task view

Task view is a feature on newer Windows systems that can allow you to easily manage all open application windows by displaying each window side by side. It also gives you access to virtual desktops, a method of grouping applications that gives you the space of multiple monitors on a single screen. To access this feature, just press the Windows logo key and "Tab" at the same time.

3. Switch between open apps

This is a feature in Windows that can easily allow you to switch between open apps. Pressing the "Alt" and "Tab" keys brings up a small bar in the middle of the screen with a small preview of each application. By keeping "Alt" pressed down, you can continue to press the "Tab" key until the selector hovers over the application you want. Letting go layers this application over the top of the others.

4. Open the quick link menu

The quick link menu gives you immediate access to a menu that contains the vast majority of Windows' diagnostic tools. This can include options to shut down, restart or log out, as well as access to the task manager, control panel and even more advanced diagnostic tools like the event viewer, device manager and disk management. To access the quick menu at any time, just press the Windows logo key and "X" at the same time.

5. Lock your PC

Locking your PC is a security feature that can prevent unwanted access to your machine when you're away from it. This shuts down the display and immediately requires the user's password once someone tries to interact with the machine. This is often better than logging out because it allows you to save the current state of all open applications. To immediately lock your computer, press the Windows key and "L" at the same time.

6. Go to the desktop

This feature in Windows allows you to instantly minimize all open applications so you have access to the desktop. To do this, all you have to do is hit the Windows key and "D" at the same time. The main benefit of this feature is that pressing the same keyboard shortcut again returns all previously minimized windows to the state they were in prior to you using the shortcut.

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7. Quickly rename multiple files

There's an easy set of keyboard shortcuts that you can use to rename multiple files at once. After highlighting the first file in a listing, press "F2" to instantly access the renaming box feature. After renaming the first file, you can hit the "Tab" key to switch to the next filename in the listing. You can then repeat this to easily rename all the files in a single folder.

8. Perform the underline command

If you press and hold "Alt" on a Windows machine, you might notice that all menus at the top of the screen display one letter with a line at the bottom of it. With "Alt" still pressed down, you can press the same underlined letter to instantly access that menu without clicking on it. This can allow you to easily navigate through multiple menu options without the need for a mouse entirely.

9. Show your password

On the login screen, there's a keyboard shortcut that can allow you to display the normally obscured password with multiple asterisks. This can allow you to troubleshoot any possible issues you have with entering your password. To display the shortcut as you type it in, hit "Alt" and "F8" while your cursor is in the password box on the login screen.

10. Open task manager

The task manager is a diagnostic tool that you can use to access the list of currently running applications and preview information, such as how much CPU, memory and network usage they have while they're open. There are a variety of methods to access the task manager, including right-clicking on the taskbar. You can, however, gain immediate access without going through a menu by pressing the "Control," "Shift" and "Escape" keys at the same time.

11. Open your clipboard history

Whenever you copy or cut any form of text or media, it stores in what Windows refers to as your clipboard. Pasting can immediately replicate the latest addition to your clipboard, but you can gain access to your clipboard history to view previously copied items as well. To gain access to your clipboard history, you can press the Windows key and "V." You can then click on any item in the list to immediately paste it into the current program.

10 keyboard shortcuts for Mac

Here's a list of 10 different keyboard shortcuts for Mac computers:

1. Open spotlight

Spotlight is a system-wide search feature that's an offering on newer Mac devices. It can show you personalized results from the internet, your files, movie showtimes, locations nearby, setting options and even installed applications. To gain access to the spotlight feature at any time, just hit the "Command" key and the spacebar at the same time.

2. Open character viewer

Character viewer is a feature in Mac devices that gives you immediate access to any character not shown on a standard keyboard, including emojis, pictograms and other characters. It even allows you to locate a specific symbol using a search bar on the top half of the menu. To gain access to the character viewer, just hit the key combination of "Command," "Control" and the spacebar at the same time.

3. Use quick look

Quick look is a feature on Mac machines that can allow you to quickly view the contents of a file, including the preview of images, text, movie and audio files. To gain access to quick look, simply highlight a file before pressing the spacebar to open the quick look menu. If you're working with a non-media file like a folder, it simply provides you with a preview of the icon along with basic information like its filename and the date of the last modification.

4. Open settings

There's a keyboard shortcut in Mac devices that easily allows you to open the settings option of any application you're currently viewing. This gives you universal access to the settings of any application you're using on a Mac machine without the challenge of locating it in the menus above. To quickly access the settings option in your currently opened application, press the "Command" key and the comma key.

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5. Minimize windows

Mac computers give you two keyboard shortcuts to collapse a window to the dock on the bottom of the screen. To minimize the window that's currently active, you can press the "Command" key and "M" at the same time. This shrinks your window into a preview on the dock that you can then click on to restore to its previous state. To do this with all currently open windows, hit "Command," "Option" and "M" instead.

6. Close all windows

Mac machines give you a quick way to close all currently running applications. This can be useful in situations where you need to immediately free up memory space or identify a non-responsive application that may require a force quit. To immediately close all currently running applications, press the "Command," "Option" and "W" keys at the same time.

7. Force quit an app

Force quitting is a measure in Mac devices that can allow you to immediately shut down a running application, even if it's non-responsive. Normally, you can click on the logo menu to access the force quitting menu, but it can be easier to hit the keyboard shortcut, especially if the non-responsive activity is affecting your mouse movement. To immediately access the force quit menu, press the "Command," "Option" and "Escape" keys at the same time.

8. Switch between open apps

Mac has a similar feature to Windows machines where you can quickly switch between currently open applications. Pressing the "Command' and "Tab" keys at the same time elicits a small bar in the middle of your screen with a lineup of each of your application's icons. While keeping the "Command" key pressed down, you can hit the "Tab" key repeatedly to switch the selector square between applications. Once you highlight the app you want to switch to, you can release the "Command" key to switch to that window.

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9. Immediately log out

There's a keyboard shortcut that can allow you to quickly log out of your current account on a Mac machine. This grants you the ability to easily secure a machine or switch to another account for administrative purposes. To prompt the screen to log out of your account without heading to the menu, press the "Shift," "Command" and "Q" keys at the same time.

10. Delete all files in the trash

The trash is a feature in a Mac device that stores all the files you wish to delete. However, this can continue to take up space on your machine. Normally, you can right-click on the trash icon on the dock to gain access to the ability to empty the trash. If you wish to empty it immediately, you can hit the keyboard combination of "Command," "Shift" and "Delete" keys.

Please note that none of the companies or products mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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