Common Shortcut Keys

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CTRL+ALT+DEL

  • When used outside an operating system, this combination will restart a machine.
  • In Windows
    • Opens the login screen so you can log into the OS, or is also used to unlock the OS.
    • In Windows 2000 and Windows XP, this will bring up the Windows Security Menu. This menu has options for changing your password, locking the OS, shutting down or restarting the machine, or starting the Task Manager.
    • In older versions of Windows (and in non-domained Win2000 or WinXP), this will bring up the Task Manager.
    • Also in older versions of Windows, pressing this multiple times would restart Windows.
  • In Linux
    • This will restart the machine.

CTRL+C (WIN) or Command+C (OSX) - COPY

  • Used mostly in text-editing programs, this combination is used to copy text or objects such as pictures or charts/graphs.
  • Highlight a character, word, section of text, or select a picture or object and press this combination to COPY the text or object.
  • Like the memory function of a calculator, the selection is saved, and can be recalled with another combination.

CTRL+X (WIN) or Command+X (OSX) - CUT

  • A variation of CTRL+C, this combination CUTS text or pictures/objects.
  • The selection is still saved, but it is also removed from where it was originally located (assuming you have access to edit that location).
  • This combination is used to MOVE text and objects rather than copy them.

CTRL+V (WIN) or Command+V (OSX) - PASTE

  • The companion to CTRL+C and CTRL+X, this recalls the selection that you have saved and places it at the location of your cursor or other placement tool.
  • An object can be recalled as many times as necessary until that saved object is cleared (by restarting the machine or clearing the clipboard), or until something else is saved in the object's place.

CTRL+Z (WIN) or Command+Z (OSX) - UNDO

  • Undoes a previous action. Usually only the most recent action can be undone, but more recent programs keep a history of actions and can undo all of them, or several up to a certain point.

CTRL+ALT+Z - REDO

  • Redoes an undone action.
  • Only some programs have this option, and again, some programs can redo all actions or some only up to a certain point.

CTRL+A (WIN) or Command+A (OSX) - Select ALL

  • Used to select everything in your current view.
  • If you are viewing a document, this combination will highlight all text in that document, and will also select any pictures or objects if they are present.
  • If viewing the contents of a folder on your machine, or viewing a list of emails, this combination will select all the objects in your current view.

CTRL + Left mouse-click

  • In Windows
    • This will allow you to select a batch of files/objects by adding them individually to your selection.
    • Hold down the CTRL button as you click objects, files, emails, etc with your mouse. All objects that you have clicked will remain selected as long as you hold down the CTRL button.
  • In OS X
    • Control + Left mouse-click will simulate a right-click.
    • Used on files to open file menus for getting info, deleting, copying, etc. Use on Dock icons for starting or stopping programs, hiding program windows, or removing icons from the Dock.

SHIFT + Left mouse-click

  • In Windows
    • This allows you select a batch of a files/objects by selecting multiple files at once.
    • Hold down the SHIFT button and select two files/objects. All files/objects in-between those two will also be selected at the same time.
  • In OS X
    • This will allow you to select a batch of files/objects by adding them individually to your selection.
    • Hold down the SHIFT button as you click objects, files, emails, etc with your mouse. All objects that you have clicked will remain selected as long as you hold down the SHIFT button.

Windows Shortcut Keys

Unix Shortcut Keys

MacOS Shortcut Keys