Short for Alternate, Alt is a modifier key located on both sides of the spacebar key on IBM compatible computer keyboards. The picture shows an example of an Alt key.
Where is the Alt key on the keyboard?
Below is an overview of a computer keyboard with the Alt keys highlighted in blue.
Alt keyboard shortcuts
Alt is most often used to describe a key combination, such as the example below.
The above combination means to press and hold the CTRL, ALT, and DEL keys all at the same time to reboot the computer or open the task manager window.
Below are some other commonly used Alt shortcut keys on a Windows computer.
- Alt + F = Pressing these two keys opens the File menu in an open program.
- Alt + F4 = These keys close the open program. To close an open window in a program press Ctrl+F4.
- Alt + Spacebar = Open the Window menu of the program currently open.
- Alt + Tab = These keys switch between open programs left-to-right. Pressing Alt+Shift+Tab reverses the order of switching programs.
Tip: See our shortcut key list for a full listing of all shortcuts.
- Not all keys on keyboard work.
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