Exploring The Shift Key

Situated just above the Ctrl keys, English Windows keyboards typically contain two shift keys, on the left and right sides. This modifier key comes in handy for much more than capital letters and special characters. Here we explore five uses of the shift key you may not be aware of.

  • Shift can modify various control and alt keys. For example, if you select Alt+Tab to cycle through open windows, Shift+Alt+Tab cycles in the reverse order.
  • Use shift to modify function keys. Windows keyboards usually have 12 function keys. Select Shift+F1 to use F13, Shift+F2 for F14, etc.
  • Holding shift while clicking a link in a web browser may cause the page to open in a new window, or to be downloaded. The behavior will depend on which browser, such as Internet Explorer or Chrome, and which version of that browser you’re using.
  • Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open Windows Task Manager.
  • Select left Alt + left Shift + Print Screen to activate High Contrast.

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