Ctrl

Updated: 05/19/2017 by Computer Hope

Ctrl keyboard keyShort for control, Ctrl is a modifier key found on IBM compatible computer keyboards in the bottom left and right portion of the main keyboard. The picture is an example of what the Ctrl key may look like on your keyboard.

Where is the Ctrl key on the keyboard?

Below is an overview of a computer keyboard with the Ctrl keys highlighted in blue.

Ctrl keys

Apple control key

Apple command keyOn Apple computer keyboards the Ctrl key is written as "control" and is next to the option key and command key as shown in the picture to the right. As far as the placement, the control keys are found in the same location as the Ctrl keys on an IBM computer.

Ctrl keyboard shortcuts

Ctrl is used in keyboard shortcut key such as the three finger salute or Ctrl+Alt+Del. This key combination suggests pressing and holding down the Ctrl, Alt, and Del keyboard keys to open the Task Manager or reboot the computer.

Some documentation may also list commands such as ^X, ^C, ^Z, etc. this means Ctrl-X, Ctrl-C, Ctrl-Z, etc. In other words, a user would want to press and hold the control or Ctrl key and then press the letter following the caret. Below are some other commonly used Ctrl shortcut keys on a Windows computer.

Ctrl+A These two keys will select all text or other objects.
Ctrl+B Bold highlighted text.
Ctrl+C Copy any selected text or another object. See Control C definition for further information.
Ctrl+D Bookmark an open web page or open font window in Microsoft Word.
Ctrl+E Center text.
Ctrl+F Open find window.
Ctrl+G Open Find in a browser and word processors.
Ctrl+H Open the Find and Replace in Notepad, Microsoft Word, and WordPad
Ctrl+I Italicize text.
Ctrl+J View downloads in browsers and set justify alignment in Microsoft Word.
Ctrl+K Create a hyperlink for the highlighted text in Microsoft Word and many HTML editors.
Ctrl+L Select address bar in a browser or left align text in a word processor.
Ctrl+M Indent selected text in word processors and other programs.
Ctrl+N Create a new page or document.
Ctrl+O Open a file in most programs.
Ctrl+P Open a print window to print the page you're viewing.
Ctrl+R Reload page in browser or right align text in a word processor.
Ctrl+S Save the document or file.
Ctrl+T Create a new tab in an Internet browser or adjust tabs in word processors.
Ctrl+U Underline selected text.
Ctrl+V Paste any text or another object that has been copied.
Ctrl+W Close open tab in a browser or close a document in Word.
Ctrl+X Cut selected text or another object.
Ctrl+Y These keys will redo any undo action.
Ctrl+Z Pressing these two keys will undo any action.
Ctrl+Esc Open the Windows Start Menu.
Ctrl+Tab Switch between open tabs in browsers or other tabbed programs. Ctrl+Shift+Tab will go backwards (right to left).

Tip: See our shortcut key list for a full listing of all shortcuts.

Tip: Apple users can usually substitute the Control key keyboard shortcuts with the command key or control key.

How should Ctrl or control be written or abbreviated?

When writing for a PC or IBM-compatible computer, the control key should always be written as "Ctrl" with a capital "C" and lowercase "trl." Early Microsoft documentation and computer keyboards did use "CTRL" but have since moved to using "Ctrl." When writing for an Apple computer user, "control" or "Control" should be used to prevent any confusion with them not having a Ctrl key.

As mentioned earlier there are also many different notations that can be used to represent the Ctrl key. Below are example notations that represent pressing and holding down the Ctrl key and C key at the same time. These notations are used as shorthand in documentation and may be shown on computer screens when the Ctrl key is pressed.

Notation Description
^C Traditional notation that uses a caret (^) to represent the Ctrl key with the letter that is pressed in conjunction with the Ctrl key.
Ctrl+C Microsoft notation and notation used throughout Computer Hope.
CTRL-C Early notation used by Microsoft.
⌃C or Control-C Classic macOS and macOS notation that uses the up arrow character (U+2303) followed by the letter being used in conjunction with control.
C-c Emacs and Vim notation.
Ctrl/C OpenVMS notation.

Related pages

ALT, Caret, Control, Control keys, Keyboard terms, Modifier key, Option key