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Keyboard Shortcuts

October 31, 2011

© 2011 by Nick B. Nicholaou, all rights reserved
President, Ministry Business Services, Inc.
Reprinted from Christian Computing Magazine

The Windows and Mac OSX operating systems each have built-in shortcut keystrokes that can be great time-savers.  While this has always been true, I find that most computer users today have either forgotten many of them, or have never even known about them!  Something surprising is that they are very similar in both operating systems!  Knowing their similarities can ease switching from one to the other.  Let’s look at some shortcuts that are very helpful tools that improve efficiency.

First, the Keyboards
Both operating systems use very similar keyboards– in fact, they are almost identical.  But the differences can be frustrating when switching from one platform to the other.

Windows Keyboard

Windows Keyboard

Mac Keyboard

Mac Keyboard

The Windows operating system uses the Ctrl, Windows, and Alt keys (just to either side of the space bar; the Mac operating system uses the Fn, Control, Alt/Option, and Command (⌘) keys.  Some Mac keyboards don’t have the Fn key.  Though they seem similar, it’s helpful to know that the Mac’s Command (⌘) key is equivalent to the Windows Ctrl key for most shortcuts; it’s not equivalent to the Windows key.

Used in combination with other keys, the Windows Ctrl key and the Mac Command key form the majority of keyboard shortcuts.  I find it helpful when doing certain tasks like printing, copying, pasting, undoing, etc to use keystroke shortcuts because it is usually faster.

It’s also helpful to understand that the Mac’s Delete key to the right of the near-top row of numbers acts more like a Backspace key than a Delete key.  To use it as a Delete key, press Shift + Delete.

Common Task Shortcuts
Here’s a quick reference table of common shortcuts worth noting (Mac Command key symbolized as ⌘):

Task Windows Mac
Copy Ctrl + c + c
Cut Ctrl + x + x
Paste  Ctrl + v  ⌘ + v
Print  Ctrl + p  ⌘ + p
Undo  Ctrl + z  ⌘ + z
Redo / Repeat  Ctrl + y  Shift + + z
Save  Ctrl + s  ⌘ + s
Switch Between Programs  Alt + Tab  ⌘ + Tab
Underline  Ctrl + u  ⌘ + u
Italicize  Ctrl + i  ⌘ + i
Bold  Ctrl + b  ⌘ + b
Select All  Ctrl + a  ⌘ + a
Capture Screen (desktop)  Print Screen  Shift + + 3
Capture Active Window  Alt + Print Screen  Shift + + 4, then spacebar

Browser Shortcut
A colleague recently emailed me about a shortcut I shared with him years ago that is so helpful.  When entering a website URL, instead of typing in, try this:

  • In a Windows browser, type mbsinc followed by Ctrl + Enter.
  • In a Mac browser, type mbsinc followed by ⌘ + Enter.

This only works for .com websites, but can save a lot of time!

Those who work a lot in either of these operating systems will tell you there are more ways than those I’ve listed to accomplish the tasks in this chart.  They’re correct!  There are typically at least three ways to do almost every task!  These are the keystrokes I use the most, and the similarity in how they work in both operating systems is helpful when switching between Windows and Mac computers.

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