IT for Donuts: Use the power of the shift key

By: John McGarvey

Date: 2 March 2015

Shift keyIT for Donuts is our regular feature where we explain a tech term or answer a question about business IT.

This time round, we reveal the secrets of the shift key. If you only ever use it to add UPPER CASE LETTERS to your text then you’re missing out on its full power. Read on to learn more.

Learn keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are a powerful way to be more efficient with your computer.

We’ve covered many of the most common and useful keyboard shortcuts before, and would highly recommend you start using them:

Once you get the hang of keyboard shortcuts, they become second nature and really speed up your work.

Where the shift key fits in

The shift key is a common ‘modifier’ for keyboard shortcuts. That means that if you hold it down while using a common shortcut, that shortcut will behave in a different way.

Most often, the shift key reverses an action on the screen. Here are some ways you can use it.

These shortcuts all work with recent versions of Windows. Most of them will work on Macs, too:

  • When you’re viewing a web page, hitting the Space bar will scroll you down the page. Hit shift + space to scroll up instead.
  • You can scroll through open applications by holding the alt key and tapping tab. Hold shift at the same time to scroll the other way.
  • The tab key can also be used to move you down through an online form. Use shift + tab to go back up through the form.
  • You can hit the Windows key and M to minimise all open windows. Want to see them again? Hit Windows + M + shift.

Next time you’re messing around with your keyboard, try the shift key. It has more powers than you might have thought.

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