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Tech tips

5 things you didn’t know your keyboard’s Shift button can do

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We often cover keyboard shortcuts and tricks to help you browse and work more efficiently. But today, we’re going to shift our focus, so to speak, on just one.

The Shift key is a modifier key, mainly used to type capital letters and the symbols at the top of other keys. But it can do so much more. Here are five more ways to use the second-largest key on your keyboard.

1. Reverse the action of other keys

The Shift key helps you work backward in that it reverses your other commands. Here are some examples:

  • Ctrl+Z = undo; Shift+Ctrl+Z = redo.
  • Space = scroll a webpage down; Shift+space = scroll a webpage page up.
  • Ctrl+Tab = next tab; Shift+Ctrl+Tab = previous tab.
  • Alt+Tab = next app; Shift+Alt+Tab = previous app.
  • Ctrl+T = open new tab; Shift+Ctrl+T = re-open last closed tab.

2. Scroll sideways

You use your mouse wheel to scroll vertically on webpages and documents, but did you know you could also scroll horizontally? It’s easy with the Shift key:

  • Hold Shift and scroll your mouse wheel to move horizontally on webpages and apps that support horizontal scrolling. It works great for those extra-wide spreadsheets.

RELATED: Google Sheets shortcuts to double your productivity

3. Highlight text

Start by placing your cursor at the beginning or end of the section or word you want to highlight, then do any of the following:

  • Shift+Right Arrow or Left Arrow selects one character at a time.
  • Ctrl+Shift+Right Arrow or Left Arrow selects the word to the right or left.
  • Shift+Up Arrow or Down Arrow selects the paragraph to the beginning or end.
  • Shift+End selects an entire line from your cursor to the end.
  • Shift+Home selects an entire line from your cursor to the beginning.
  • Shift+Page Up or Page Down selects the text from your cursor one screen up or down.

4. Cut and paste

You probably use CTRL+C, CTRL+X and CTRL+V to copy, cut and paste, respectively. These are common shortcuts most people know about. But if you want to impress someone or have a change of pace, you can use the Shift key to perform some of these functions as well:

  • Shift+Delete cuts selected sections of text, images or other objects.
  • Shift+Insert pastes your selection.
  • If you want a new way to copy, try Ctrl+Insert.

5. Sticky Keys

Sticky Keys is a Microsoft Windows accessibility feature that makes modifier keys work with a tap. For example, instead of holding Shift and a letter to make it capital, you just tap Shift and a letter.

Sticky Keys work with other modifiers such as Ctrl, Alt and the Windows Logo key. Here’s how to give it a try:

  • Tap Shift five times to turn on Sticky Keys to get a popup notification. Select Yes to turn on the function. Now try using the function keys as you normally would, but just press them once rather than holding them.
  • Tap Shift five times again to turn off Sticky Keys.

You may also like: 10 secret keyboard tricks to save you time every single day

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