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10 computer keyboard shortcuts you'll use all the time
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Tech tips

10 secret keyboard tricks to save you time every single day

Touchscreens are ubiquitous in modern tech, but physical keyboards are still prominent in applications such as gaming and office work. Along with a tactile feel, keyboards offer shortcuts to help you get more done in less time.

YouTube is the most popular video-sharing platform in the world. With tons of content to browse and watch, it helps to have a little know-how. Tap or click here to check out YouTube keyboard shortcuts that will help you enjoy it even more.

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. Read on for 10 keyboard shortcuts to use on your PC or Mac.

1. Switch between open windows

How often do you find yourself having multiple windows open simultaneously? You work in one application while keeping the others on hold for easy access. You may be running an antivirus scan in the background or have your email app open. Sometimes you might have forgotten what you have 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 PC, press Ctrl + Alt + Tab.
  • To switch between open windows on Mac, press Command + Tab.

Tap or click here for more keyboard shortcuts for Windows 11, along with some other tips and tricks for the new OS.

2. Lock your computer

You should turn off or lock your computer anytime you leave it unattended. You may lock it rather than shut it down if you have the intention to return to it soon. You should manually do so even if your device is set to automatically lock after a set time.

Your lock screen should require a password to unlock to protect you 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 Ctrl + Command + Q.

3. Take partial screenshot

You snap your entire screen when you take a screenshot on your smartphone, but you can capture a portion of the screen on your computer. You may want to just keep an image or some text for yourself or share it with others.

  • 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 tapping the Print Screen key. It will produce a small menu at the top of your computer screen.

Select Rectangular, Freeform, Window or Fullscreen Snip from the menu, then choose the screen area you want to capture. The screenshot will be saved to your clipboard. Open a tool like Word or Paint and paste the screenshot to it. You can edit the screenshot and save it to your chosen location.

RELATED: Tech tip: All the ways to do a Ctrl+Alt+Del on a Mac

4. Zoom in

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 pinpoint a specific place with your mouse and zoom in and out as needed using the keyboard and your mouse wheel.

To zoom in and out of your screen on PC or Mac, press Ctrl + mouse wheel. Scroll the wheel up to zoom in and scroll down to zoom out.

5. Open Search/Spotlight

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 Search on PC, press Windows + S.
  • To open Spptlight on Mac, press Command + space.

6. High contrast

Text with low contrast can be difficult to read for people with impaired vision. Strongly contrasting colors can make reading on your computer screen quicker and easier. Note: Though there’s a keyboard shortcut for PC, Mac has no compatible shortcut.

  • To turn on high contrast on your PC, press left Shift + left Alt + Print. A menu will open asking to confirm that you want to enable the setting.
  • To turn high contrast off on your PC, press left Shift + left Alt + Print.

7. Undo/Redo

We all make mistakes, and that’s what the undo feature is for. But sometimes, getting rid of an error is itself a mistake and we need to bring back our original intent. That’s where redo comes into play. There’s a quick way to implement these commands, so you don’t slow yourself down too much:

  • To undo an operation on Windows and Mac, press Ctrl + Z.
  • To redo an operation on Windows and Mac, press Ctrl + Y.

8. Create a virtual desktop

If you use many apps 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 apps.

You can work on your computer while keeping a virtual desktop open to play a game. You can open windows and apps for one task, such as video editing, on one desktop and use the other desktop for photo editing.

  • To create a virtual desktop on PC, press Windows + Ctrl + D.
  • To create a virtual desktop on Mac, press Control + up.

9. Return to desktop

If you have a lot of windows open on your computer and want to minimize them all at once, you can quickly return to the desktop with one command. This is also useful when troubleshooting. If your screen is frozen and you can’t use the taskbar, this keyboard shortcut can come in handy.

  • To return to your PC desktop, press Windows + D.
  • To return to your Mac desktop, press Command + Option.

10. Close windows

If you want to close an application completely you’re working on, there’s a keyboard shortcut for it. This is especially useful when you have multiple windows open simultaneously. Note: Any unsaved changes you 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 app.
  • To close windows on your Mac, press Command + W.

You may also like: Did you know you can split your iPad keyboard to type with just your thumbs? Tap or click here for more tips and tricks for your iPad.

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