Keyboard shortcut

Updated: 09/15/2017 by Computer Hope

Keyboard shortcutAlternatively referred to as a shortcut, accelerator key, hot key, or mnemonic. A keyboard shortcut is one or more keys used to perform a menu function or other common functions in an application.

Keyboard shortcuts usually are not as intuitive as point-and-click mouse actions; however, they can be utilized by the novice users in frequently used programs to get to locations much faster than using the mouse.

How to use a keyboard shortcut

A keyboard shortcut is activated with a key combination — pressing two, or more, keys at once on the keyboard. On Computer Hope and other pages we will list the two keys with a plus symbol between them indicating that both keys need to be pressed at the same time. For example, the keyboard shortcut to select all the text on a page or document is Ctrl+A, which means press and hold down the Ctrl key and then press the "A" key.

Note: In Windows operating systems, keyboard shortcuts are not case sensitive. So, although the Ctrl+A shortcut is written with a capital "A", a lowercase "a" will also trigger the shortcut.

Tip: Keyboard shortcuts are not universal. A keyboard shortcut that works in Microsoft Windows will not always work on the Apple macOS and keyboard shortcut that works in Microsoft Word may not work in Open Office.

Note: Although we follow the above method of showing a keyboard shortcut some documentation may list a shortcut key as ^A instead of Ctrl+A. The caret (^) in front of a letter, number or series of letters and numbers also indicates the Ctrl key.

Hotkey, Keyboard terms, Programmable function key, Shortcut, Shortcut key, StickyKeys, Special key