Computer Shortcuts You Didn’t Know About

Estefanía Quevedo Lusby

Technigo alumni, developer and writer

Why should we bother with computer shortcuts? Well, Who doesn’t love a shortcut? Even computers do! Plus, using the mouse too much can make us feel a bit clumsy.

Picture this: you are super focused on coding a really cool app, but need to stop every 5 seconds, to reach for the mouse. Maybe it went off the mousepad, maybe your cat decided it’s the best place to rest her head on, or maybe: splash! You accidentally knock your coffee over while trying to grab it. Jeez! It looks like you could use some computer shortcuts.

Ok, this might not be your case, but the seconds you take to reach for the mouse are definitely seconds that are adding up and taking precious time away from you.

“Doesn’t it feel super pro and practical just being able to leave your hands on the keyboard while you work your magic, faster and more efficiently?”

Let’s give our mouse a well-deserved vacation and pump up our productivity a little bit with these friendly and useful shortcuts you (probably) didn’t know about!

Computer shortcuts for Windows and Mac users

  1. Used to be a Mac user but switched back to Windows afterwards or vice versa? Don’t seem to remember your old computer shortcuts? Well, note that you can remap your shortcuts with SharpKeys to help your muscle memory and save time, (or, if you are a Mac user you can just go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Modifier keys).
  2. Feeling creative and want to create your own computer shortcuts? then AutoHotkey comes to the rescue for this matter. It has a little bit of a learning curve, but can turn anything into a keyboard shortcut.
  3. Show all windows on a front app: did any of the multiple windows you remember opening, disappeared into a black hole? You can use Ctrl + Down arrow (if you are a Mac user), or Windows key + Tab, if you are a Windows user.
  4. Switch between open windows: Ctrl + Up Arrow - Mission Control.

Mission Control will come handy if you’ve got lots of different app windows open and need to shuffle between them. You can also access it by sliding three fingers up from the bottom of your trackpad.

When you activate Mission Control, you’ll get thumbnails of all the open apps on the active desktop. If you still don’t feel like reaching for the mouse, you can just press Command + Tab to switch between them and jump to the one you want).

For Windows users: You can do: Windows + tab to see all the open windows and Alt + tab to switch among them.

  1. Want to improve your screen’s readability? Then hit on: Shift + Alt + Print to turn on High contrast. It will apply a special system color scheme. It will display a warning window before it applies any changes, though.

To do this on Mac? Left Shift+left Alt+PrtScn.

  1. Launch dictation - Windows key + H: Feeling like using your voice instead of typing? Go for this one! It’s not available in every language, though.
  2. Cycle between languages and input methods: Suddenly decided that you’d rather switch to another language (in case you have multiple installed): Windows key + Spacebar
  • Windows key + Shift + Spacebar  – Cycle backwards through the list.
  • For Mac users: Ctrl + Spacebar
  1. Are you working on your site’s accessibility? You can use Windows key + Ctrl+ Enter to turn the narrator on. This accessibility feature is designed for the visually impaired to read on-screen elements and make navigation easier.
  2. Review open and closed windows: If you need to review your open windows as well as recently closed ones sorted by date, you can click on Windows + tab. For Mac users this is done with: Shift + Command + T
  3. Lock your PC or Mac: This one is an oldie, but goldie. To quickly lock your system down on Windows simply do: Windows + L, or, on Mac: Ctrl + shift + Power

Ok, maybe we can befriend the mouse for a little while, that is, in case it’s close enough to the keyboard: your trackpad can also come to the rescue with some interesting shortcuts:

  • Touch with one finger: Regular click.
  • Touch with two fingers: Right click.
  • Touch with three fingers: Opens Cortana’s searches. It can be switched to open notifications
  • Touch with four fingers: Open notifications center.
  • Double touch with one finger: Double click.
  • Double touch with one finger and dragging: To select texts or applications. It’s also useful to select icons.
  • Swipe up or down with two fingers: Scroll on the screen.
  • Swipe up with three fingers: open the tasks view. We can select among them by swiping down with three fingers.
  • Swipe down with three fingers: Shows the desktop. If we swipe up again with three fingers, it shows the windows again.
  • Swipe left or right with three fingers: Navigates among open windows.
  • Swipe left or right with four fingers: To switch between virtual desktops
  • Swipe up with four fingers: Goes to multitask screen.
  • Pinch out or pinch in: Zooming out or zooming in.

So, have you tried these computer shortcuts? Any computer shortcuts you can’t live without?


We're a female-founded, remote-first community helping people get a career they love. 90% of those attending our boot camps are women.