Using keyboard shortcuts

If you have to, or would rather, avoid using a mouse, you can use your keyboard to do most of the things you need to do to on a computer.

We've listed some of the combinations of keys you can use, in Windows, or in Mac OS, to perform some of the commonest web tasks. However, there are lots more key combinations already programmed into your computer for you to use when getting around the internet, or your computer in general – we have given some hints on how to find out more of these in the last section on this page.

Using keyboard shortcuts in Windows

Using keyboard shortcuts to work your browser

  • Start your internet browser – "Windows" key + "I"
  • New window (once your browser is open) – "Ctrl" + "N"
  • New tab – "Ctrl" + "T"
  • Move to next tab – "Ctrl" + "Tab"
  • Move to previous tab – "Ctrl" + "Shift" + "Tab"
  • Close tab – "Ctrl" + "F4"
  • Close browser window – "Alt" + "F4"

Using keyboard shortcuts to navigate the Web

  • Select the address bar – "Alt" + "D"
  • Reload/refresh the current page – "F5"
  • Stop downloading the current page – "Escape"
  • Back to previous page – "Backspace"
  • Forward to next page (previously downloaded) – "Shift" + "Backspace"
  • Go to your Home page – "Alt" + "Home"
  • Web search – "Ctrl" + "K" to skip to the search in Firefox, or "Ctrl" + "E" to open the search pane in Internet Explorer
  • Bookmark current page as a favourite – "Ctrl" + "D"
  • Open Bookmarks/Favourites pane – "Ctrl" + "I"
  • Open History pane – "Ctrl" + "H"

Using keyboard shortcuts in Mac OS

Using keyboard shortcuts to work your browser

  • New window (once your browser is open) – "Apple" + "N"
  • New tab – "Apple" + "T"
  • Move to next tab – "Apple" + "Option" + "Tab"
  • Move to previous tab – "Apple" + "Shift" + "Tab"
  • Close tab – "Apple" + "F4"
  • Close browser window – "Option" + "F4"

Using keyboard shortcuts to navigate the Web

  • Select the address bar – "Option" + "D"
  • Reload/refresh the current page – "F5"
  • Stop downloading the current page – "Escape"
  • Back to previous page – "Backspace"
  • Forward to next page (previously downloaded) – "Shift" + "Backspace"
  • Go to your Home page – "Option" + "Home"
  • Web search – "Apple" + "K" to skip to the search in Firefox, or "Apple" + "E" to open the search pane in Internet Explorer
  • Bookmark current page as a favourite – "Apple" + "D"
  • Open Bookmarks/Favourites pane – "Apple" + "B"
  • Open History pane – "Apple" + "H"

More keyboard shortcuts

On this page we haven't listed all possible keyboard shortcuts, or the instructions for all operating systems. There are numerous sources of lists of keyboard shortcuts on the web. Simply search using your favourite search engine, but to get you started, there is one on Wikipedia, one supplied by Mozilla and there is also a list on computerhope.com.

You can also find the shortcut keys to your favourite programs by looking for underlined letters in their menus. For example, in the picture below, the "F" in File is underlined, which means that you can access the File menu by pressing "Alt" + "F" (although some programs need you to press and hold "Alt" to see the underlined characters).

You can also see within the "File" menu that some of the common features, such as "Open" and "Save", have shortcut keys assigned to them – for example, pressing "Ctrl" + "O" would allow you to open another file in this program.

 

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