A little-known shortcut to improve keyboard navigation in a text document is to use the arrow keys in conjunction with modifier keys. These can be used to skip to the end of a line or paragraph, or between paragraphs. They can also be used to quickly and accurately select blocks of text.
Modifier keys are located on a computer keyboard and modify the function of another key when pressed simultaneously. However, they have no function on their own. For example, the shift key has no effect when pressed alone, but when pressed in unison with a letter key, a capital letter is produced. Some keys are only present on Windows-based keyboards, and others are only found on Apple products. The following are all modifier keys.
Control (Windows only)
Command (Mac only)
Alt (Windows only)
Option (Mac only)
Function (Only present on smaller keyboards)
Using keyboard shortcuts can improve efficiency as there is not time wasted moving hands from the keyboard to the mouse and back again. This technique can be applied in a wide range of scenarios to save time in navigating and selecting text.
Some of these keys can be used to navigate through a text document.
Control/Command + → moves the curser to the far right end of the line.
Control/Command + ← moves the curser to the far left end of the line.
Control/Command + ↑ moves the curser to the beginning of the current paragraph.
Control/Command + ↓ moves the curser to the beginning of the next paragraph.
Alt/Option + → moves the curser to the beginning of the next word.
Alt/Option + ← moves the curser to the beginning of the current or previous word.
Alt/Option + ↑ moves the curser to the beginning of the current paragraph.
Alt/Option + ↓ moves the curser to the beginning of the next paragraph.
The arrow keys can also be used in conjunction with the Shift key to select parts of the text.
Shift + → selects or deselects the character to the right of the curser.
Shift + ← selects or deselects the character to the left of the curser.
Shift + ↑ selects all characters between the current curser position and the point immediately above.
Shift + ↓ selects all characters between the current curser position and the point immediately above.
The Shift key can also be used in conjunction with other modifier keys for faster selection.
Shift + Control/Command + → selects all of the characters between the curser position and the right end of the line. This works in the same way for the other Control key combinations.
Shift + Alt/Option + → selects all of the characters in the word to the right of the curser.
These shortcuts can be used when reading or writing text, either when using text editing software such as Microsoft Word or Apple Pages, or when simply reading text, for example on a web page. These simple tips are easy to remember and can save time daily. However, if you have bigger IT issues, we can help. Get in touch or browse our services to find out how we can help you.