Back to basics: use keyboard shortcuts

Sometimes you’ll hear me talk about keyboard shortcuts. A keyboard shortcut is when you can press a combination of keys instead of going through a more complicated process of clicking on a menu or opening a setting.

If you aren’t familiar with them, here’s a quick breakdown of how to make them work.

Four keys you’ll see mentioned a lot in instructions for shortcuts are Shift, Ctrl, Window, and Alt. The Windows key can be identified by the four-paned Window icon.


You might also see mentions of F1, F2, and so on. Those keys are normally at the top of the keyboard.


Some smaller keyboards will offer an FN key that you can press in conjunction with a number key. When you see an instruction like “Press Ctrl + Alt + Del,” press the Ctrl key and hold it down, followed by the Alt key and hold it down, followed by the Del key.   If you see Ctrl + C, press the Ctrl key and hold it down while you press C and then release.

If you have mobility issues that make using keyboard shortcuts difficult, try this. Type Sticky Keys into your search box and click on the result.

Scroll down to Sticky keys. Slide the button to the On position. This allows you to press each keystroke separately. If you have the shortcut key activated, you can turn them on by pressing the Shift key five times. Occasionally, I’ll accidentally activate it by pressing the shift key too many times, so keep an eye out for that.

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