10 keyboard shortcuts that work on both Windows and Linux

Switching to a new operating system may seem overwhelming or daunting, but the joy of learning something new is well worth the effort.

Let’s take a look at some of the important keyboard shortcuts that work similarly on Linux and Windows. Although Windows and Linux are inherently different, you can still use most of the shortcuts you are familiar with in both operating systems.

Why Use Keyboard Shortcuts?

Shortcuts are one of the best ways to get something done quickly on your PC. If you find yourself performing a task or action very often, consider finding a shortcut for it. It will save you tons of time and increase your productivity.

The graphical user interface (GUI) of most software systems changes fairly often, but the underlying shortcuts rarely change. For example, accessing installed programs via the GUI is very different on Windows XP, Windows 10, and Windows 11, but the keyboard shortcut remains the same and likely will remain so for many years to come.

Not only are shortcuts cool, but they also help you gain confidence and mastery of the operating system or software you are using.

1. Lock screen

Want to get away from your PC? Don’t compromise on your security by keeping your PC unlocked. Quickly lock your pc screen with shortcut Super+Lto prevent anyone from snooping on your PC. After you lock your device, the system will ask you to enter a password to regain access to the PC.

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On Linux it is Windows key on your keyboard is called a great key, so let’s stick to that convention for consistency.

The Start menu or Applications menu gives you access to installed software programs and a search bar to quickly locate files or applications. Just press the great key or great + s and start typing to search for the file or application you’re looking for.

Under Linux, the launcher also gives you an overview of the currently running software programs.

3. Show desktop

If you have multiple applications or files open but want to quickly switch to your desktop, just press Super + D. This minimizes all open windows and takes you to your desktop. Press Super + D again to bring back the open programs.

4. Switch applications

To quickly switch to another open program on your PC, use the alt + tab Shortcut. Press and hold the shortcut to highlight the next open application, and release when the application you’re looking for is highlighted.

To go backwards, press Alt + Shift + Tab. Alternatively, you can use the Super + tab Key for quickly switching between open applications. On Windows it is Super + tab The shortcut also shows your current virtual desktops.

5. Maximize and minimize a window

Use the Great + Up button to maximize the window size of a program and Great + Down Arrow to make the window smaller. This is useful if you want to have several program windows open at the same time.

6. Get help

Both Windows and Linux are well documented, as are most of the software programs that have been developed for them. Minimize all open programs (Super + D) then press F1 and you will receive documentation about your operating system.

You can also use the F1 button to get help on a specific application. Press for example F1 in your web browser window opens your browser’s documentation or help pages.

7. Closing a program

Use the Alt + F4 Shortcut to quickly close an open program on Windows and Linux.

8. Split window

Often you want to view applications side-by-side for comparison, or simply switch between them. Use the Great + left Arrow shortcut to quickly snap a software window to the left and Great + right Arrow to align a window to the right. The programs occupy the same window space.

9. Changing the keyboard language

If you have several language packs installed on your PC, you can simply change the current language with Super + Spacebar Shortcut.

10. Edit shortcuts

One of the most common tasks of PC users is editing. We edit documents, scripts, software code, images, etc. Use the Ctrl + X Shortcut to cut text or a file. To copy a text or a file, use the keys Ctrl + C then use Ctrl + V to paste the copied or cut content.

To quickly rename a file, highlight it and press F2.

Improve your productivity with keyboard shortcuts

That’s it for now. We’ve looked at some important shortcuts you can use on both Linux and Windows, but there’s a lot more. Mastering shortcuts for everyday tasks can save you a lot of time and increase your productivity.


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