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21 useful keyboard shortcuts for writers

You forget about countless hours of self-editing and imagine a pleasant life of writing in which real words effortlessly flow from your fingertips as you sit in an ideal environment and sip your favorite beverage.

For all the following tips, the plus (+) symbol indicates that you press one key first and then the other key to get the desired result.

Before you execute each shortcut, I assumed you had selected the text you wanted to change with your mouse and cursor. Keep reading to learn how to select text using only the keys on the keyboard.

Typing shortcuts

Plain text throughout a document can be boring to read, so you will often be able to separate words or phrases in a formatting style, such as bold text or italic text.

You may also need to change the look by organizing the text in different ways, such as centered or left-aligned. These keyboard shortcuts will help you make those changes.

Bold text

When used sparingly, bold text can highlight an extremely important point that you want the reader to understand. People who just scan your text are more likely to read bold dots and go over other sections.

For bold text on Mac

Command (⌘) + B

For bold text on a computer

Ctrl + B

Underline the text

While you won’t usually need to underline text in a blog post (it will look like a hyperlink), if you’re writing the text for printed documents, you may need to underline a phrase or a specific section.

Underline text on Mac

Command (⌘) + U

Underline text on a computer

Ctrl + U

Text in italics

Italic text can come in handy for emphasis in both digital and printed documents.

To put text in italics on a Mac

Command (⌘) + I

To put text in italics on a computer

Ctrl + I

Centrally aligned text

On your site, you may want to center images between margins or central text in image titles.

To center text on a Mac

Command (⌘) + E

To center text on a computer

Ctrl + E

Text aligned on both sides

Justified text is used more often in printed documents than in digital documents, but this may be the formatting style you prefer for the titles of the text in the image. Aligns your text between margins by adding extra spaces between words.

To use double-aligned Mac text

Command (⌘) + J

To use double-aligned text on a computer

Ctrl + J

Left aligned text

The default text setting in most word processors is left-aligned. If the text has changed to another formatting style, and you want to return it to left alignment, try these helpful keyboard shortcuts.

To left-align the text on the Mac

Command (⌘) + L

To align the text on the computer to the left

Ctrl + L

Align text to the right

If your layout requires the text to be right-aligned, it’s just as simple.

To right-align the text on the Mac

Command (⌘) + R

To right-align the text on the computer

Ctrl + R

Editing shortcuts

Editing can be an artistic part of the writing process and allows for a presentation that will better connect with your readers.

Stay focused on creating great content with these editing shortcuts that keep your hands on your keyboard.

Select text

When I review a sketch, I often see how I want the text to look different and match my vision.

So, to edit the content as quickly as possible, I can use the commands on the keyboard, instead of moving my hand to the trackpad on my laptop.

Once I select a piece of text, I can copy or cut it and then paste it elsewhere in the sketch.

To select text on a Mac

Place the cursor on any side of the text you want to select, and then you can choose from the key combinations below to highlight the appropriate section:

Shift + left arrow key (+ up arrow key or down arrow key to select more text)

Shift + right arrow key (+ up arrow key or down arrow key to select more text)

Press the Shift key, then tap the corresponding arrow keys until you select. You can also press the arrow keys, but tapping gives you more precise control over text selection.

When you release your fingers from the Shift and Arrow keys, the text will remain highlighted, waiting for your next action for what you want to do with the selection.

To select text on a computer You need to do the same as for Mac!

Copy text

Once you’ve selected the text, you may want to copy it so you can paste it and put the same word or phrase somewhere else.

To copy text to Mac

Command (⌘) + C

To copy text to a computer

Ctrl + C

Cut the text

Sometimes you will want to delete or cut the selected text.

The Delete or Backspace keys can do what you want but only if you want to delete, but cutting the text allows you to paste it into another part of your sketch.

What is a keyboard shortcut for cutting text?

To cut text on a Mac

Command (⌘) + X

To cut text on a computer

Ctrl + X

Paste text

If you selected text, then copied or cut it and now want to paste it, here are some useful keyboard shortcuts.

To paste text on a Mac

Command (⌘) + V

To paste text on a computer

Ctrl + V

Find a word or phrase

When proofreading content, you will often notice words that you use excessively. You may also notice spelling or style errors that you have made multiple times.

To find specific words or phrases in a sketch, you can use the “find” function that causes the search box to appear on your screen.

The search will show the number of impressions of the words or phrases you enter in the box and refer you to each one individually.

So now you just need to know the keyboard shortcut to find the words in the text.

To find a word or phrase on Mac

Command (⌘) + F

To find a word or phrase on your computer

Ctrl + F

Highlight the line

Selecting a specific area of text can also be considered highlighting a line of text.

To get started, place the cursor to the left or right of the text you want to highlight. (Just see the “Text Selection” section above if you need further instructions.)

To highlight the line on the Mac

Shift + left arrow key (+ up arrow key or down arrow key to highlight more text)

Shift + right arrow key (+ up arrow key or down arrow key to highlight more text)

Marking a line on a computer The shortcut for the highlighted line is the same!

Function shortcuts

Function shortcuts help you with the usual steps that all writers need to take while working on sketches, such as saving files or undoing the last action (because it was a mistake).

Take a look at these commands that you will use often.

Take a screenshot (print screen)

Need to save something on your screen? Capture it with a screenshot, also known as a “print screen”.

To take a screenshot (print screen) on a Mac

Shift + Command (⌘) + 4

To take a screenshot (print screen) on a computer

Windows logo key + PrtScn or Fn key + Windows logo key + spacebar

Save text

Although most software now automatically saves your work, it’s always a good idea to save the text manually to make sure the last change you made isn’t lost. Familiarize yourself with the save shortcut.

To save text on a Mac

Command (⌘) + S

To save text on a computer

Ctrl + S

If you need to print a document that you just finished typing, your fingers do not have to leave the keyboard.

To print a document on a Mac

Command (⌘) + P

To print a document on a computer

Ctrl + P

Preview before printing

Need to preview a document before printing it? Get to that screen in an instant.

To see a print preview on a Mac

Command (⌘) + P (A preview of the document to be printed should appear automatically.)

To view a print preview on your computer

Ctrl + F2

Switch between tabs

If you use a web browser with multiple open tabs, you can easily navigate through them.

To switch between cards on a Mac

Control + Tab

To switch between tabs on the computer

Ctrl + Tab

Undo the last action

Oops! You may want to know how to reset using the keyboard if you made a mistake or entered a large copy/paste error in the text incorrectly.

These useful keyboard shortcuts clean your document and fix it quickly.

Undo the last action on the Mac

Command (⌘) + Z

Undo the last action on the computer

Ctrl + Z

Repeat the last action

You didn’t mean to undo your last action? Learn how you can repeat this just as quickly on the keyboard (reverse the undo command).

To repeat the last action on the Mac

Shift + Command (⌘) + Z

To repeat the last action on the computer

Shift + Ctrl + Z ili Ctrl + Y

Repeat the last action

If you want to repeat a simple action you just performed, there are several options.

To repeat the last action on the Mac

Command + Y will work in some programs, but in others, you have to retype the last action or keyboard shortcut.

Let’s repeat the last action on the computer

Ctrl Y or F4

Practice useful keyboard shortcuts

With practice, these useful keyboard shortcuts become second nature and you don’t even realize you’re using them and will significantly speed up your work.

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