Hot Keys and Key Combinations for Translators For Windows and macOS with a downloadable list

  • Greater than 6 minutes, my friend!

    For any translator, a computer is a pipeline for making their living. The keyboard is our working tool. Studying the keyboard carefully is a key to workflow efficiency.

    After two decades of consistent typing, I finally decided to keep my operations with the mouse to an absolute minimum. While I do not have any signs of the tunnel syndrome currently, I feel I should care better about my wrists.

    My aim was to make close friends with my keyboard—a totally regular device—and learn key shortcuts for most of the commands I use.

    Below, you’ll find a list of hotkeys and keyboard combinations worth learning complemented with a downloadable table for reference and editing. Obviously, for each of us the list will differ depending on favourite devices, operational systems, programmes, and combinations you already know. Key combinations for Windows (Windows 7 to be exact) are followed by Mac variants in brackets.

    The following links will provide you with full lists of keyword combinations for Windows 7Windows 10 and macOS. Keep studying them and choose new combinations to master regularly. Attach small sticky notes to the outlines of your computer’s screen with 3 or 4 shortcuts you want to master next. Then, leave it all to your fingers.

    1. Keyboard

    Start with studying ALL the keys including the <Windows> key, the <Menu> context key (to the left of the right <Ctrl>, with a cursor and window icon) and the right <Alt> key (AltGr).

    (On keyboards made for Macs, you generally use the <Option> key instead of <Alt> and <Command> instead of the Windows logo key.)

    With the help of these keys, you can:

    Win: open the Start menu
    Win + D (Command-F3): Go to Desktop
    Win + Е (Command-F): File Explorer or Finder
    Win + L (Command-Option-Power): Block the workstation
    Win + M (Command-Option-H-M): Minimize all windows
    Win + R: Run (command line)
    Win + F (Command-F): Search
    Win + T: Choose the first element in the Task Panel (press it one more time to move to the next item)
    Win + Right/Left arrow: Split the screen

    Here you’ll find full lists of keyword combinations for Windows 7Windows 10 and Mac. Keep choosing new combinations to master.

    Pay attention to the command line in Windows. Here are some programs and tools you can quickly launch with the help of the command line (<Win + R>):

    calc: Run Calculator
    control: Run Control Panel
    excel: Run MS Excel
    mspaint: Run Microsoft Paint
    notepad: Run Notepad
    taskmgr: Run Task Manager
    shutdown/s: Turn off the computer in 30 seconds
    shutdown/h: Hibernate the computer
    shutdown/r: Restart the computer
    winword: Run MS Word
    : Open the Home folder

    You won’t need to type a command every time as the system will memorize it and autosuggest options.

    Tip: When you enter a URL into the command line, the system opens it after launching the browser.

    1. Windows / Mac programs and tools

    You don’t need to ignore your mouse. Try to combine it with the keyboard for generous time savings.

    Standard system combinations for Windows and Mac:

    Ctrl + A (Command-A): Select all items
    Сtrl + С (Command-C): Copy the selected item
    Сtrl + F (Command-F): Search
    Ctrl + N: New document
    Ctrl + O (Command-O): File selection window
    Ctrl + P (Command-P): Print
    Ctrl + S (Command-S): Save the document
    Сtrl + V (Command-V): Paste the selected item
    Ctrl + W (Command-W): Close the document
    Сtrl + Х (Command-X): Cut the selected item
    Сtrl + Z: Undo an action

    More useful key combinations:


    Shift: Block CD-ROM autorun (press after inserting the CD)
    Shift+F10: Show the content menu for the selected item
    Alt+PrtSc: Make a screenshot of an active window
    Alt+F4: Close the active item (or exit the active program)
    Ctrl+F4: Close the active document


    Command-Tab: Switch to the next most recently used app among your open apps
    Shift-Command-N: Create a new folder in the Finder
    Shift-Command-4: Make a screen shot of an active window
    Command-Comma (,): Open preferences for the front app

    Keyword combinations for the Windows Task Panel:

    Shift + click on the icon in the task panel: Open a new application window
    Shift + right click: Show the application menu
    Ctrl + click on the group of icons: Unfold all their windows

    Tip: If after opening the Explorer you press a letter key, the system highlights the file (or the folder) with the name starting with that letter.

    2. Text Editors

    These application are among the basic tools for translators. By continuing to study hotkeys and key combinations for handling text documents we increase our efficiency.

    The <F8> in Windows is one handy key:

    • pressed twice, it selects the word around (or touching) the cursor
    • pressed three times it selects the whole sentence
    • pressed four times it selects the whole paragraph
    • pressed five times, it selects the whole document.

    Position the cursor where you wish to begin, press <F8> and then use the cursors to extend the selection. To escape the selecting mode, press the <Esc> key.

    Be sure to learn key combinations for m- and n-dashes, soft hyphen, non-breaking hyphen and non-breaking space.

    Additional key combinations for moving around the text:

    Shift + F5: Move to the last change
    Ctrl + Alt + Z: Switch between the last four edits
    Ctrl + Left/Right arrow (Option-Left/Right arrow): Move by the words
    Ctrl + Up/Down arrow: Move by paragraphs or vertical scroll
    Ctrl + Page Up/Page Down (Fn-Up/Down arrow): Scroll up or down one page
    Home / End (Command-Left/Right arrow): Go to the start or the end of a line
    The same with the Shift key pressed for Windows and Mac: Text selection

    And a number of useful combinations:

    Shift + F3: Change the case of letters (the first letter, then the word)
    Ctrl + Alt + I (Option-Command-P): Preview window / Page setup
    Ctrl + Alt + period: Ellipsis
    Ctrl + F12 (Option-Command-I): Select the document to open
    Ctrl + left mouse key: Select the sentence
    F7 (Shift-Command-Colon): Spellcheck and grammar check
    Ctrl + F1 (Option-Command-T): Hide the toolbar (after you learn everything)

    Make and print a table with special symbols to have them at hand. For Windows, you can include:
    Copyright: Alt + Ctrl + C
    Registered trade mark: Alt + Ctrl + R
    Trade mark: Alt + Ctrl + T

    Tip: To find the key combinations you need, open the list of special symbols in Microsoft Word. Select the symbol you need and look at the key combination in the lower right part of the window.

    3. Browsers

    This is another important application type for translators, with their own key combinations and ‘secrets’.

    Find and study key combinations for your preferred browser. Use <Ctrl + Tab> to switch between the open tabs. To move to a tab you need, use <Ctrl+window number> (Command-1 to Command-9 for Macs).

    Tip. The address bar works also as a search window. Type in the searched term and press <Enter>: you’ll see the results of your default search engine. To move the cursor to the address bar, use <Ctrl + L> (Command-L).

    Windows + Chrome

    Browser tabs:
    Ctrl + N: New window
    Ctrl + T: New tab
    Ctrl + W: Close current tab
    Ctrl + Shift + T: Reopen the last tab or window you closed
    Browser pages:
    Home: To the top of the page
    End: To the bottom of the page
    Ctrl + N: Bookmark the current page
    Ctrl + H: History
    Ctrl + J: Downloads

    Mac + Safari

    Browser tabs
    Command-T: Open new tab
    Command-W: Close Tab
    Shift-Command-: Show all tabs
    Shift-Command-T: Reopen the last tab or window you closed
    Command – Shift – ]/[: Navigate between multiple tabs
    Browser pages
    Command-Up: To the top of the page
    Command-Down: To the bottom of the page
    Control-Command-1: Show or hide the Bookmarks sidebar
    Command-Shift-I: Open new message with the URL of a page
    Command-Y: Open/close the History window

    4. CAT Tools

    They were made for efficiency but we can always increase it a bit further. Some key combinations are the same as with operating systems. Others are application unique.


    Tab: Switch between Source and Target
    F2: Edit the Source
    F7: Check spelling
    Ctrl + Shift + A: Select all segments
    Ctrl + K: Concordance
    Ctrl + P: Look up terms
    Ctrl + T: Split segment

    An extensive list of key combinations for memoQ.

    Additional shortcuts and customising shortcuts for memoQ.


    F3: Concordance
    F4: Exit
    F12: Save as
    Ctrl + K: Concordance
    Alt + F2: Edit the Source
    Alt + Ins: Populate from the Source
    Alt + Del: Clear Target

    An extensive list of key combinations for Trados.

    Additional key combinations and customising shortcuts for Trados.

    5. AutoHotkey

    AutoHotkey is a free, open-source scripting language for Windows that allows users to easily create small to complex scripts for all kinds of tasks.

    AutoHotkey can automate any desktop task:

    • Replace text (turning :*:kr:: into Kind regards)
    • Run programmes
    • Open files
    • Easily define hotkeys for the mouse and the keyboard

    In Windows 7, you can use it to switch between the working languages with the help of <Win + space> combination.

    1. Download the application:
    2. Install AutoHotkey.
    3. Right-click on your desktop.
    4. Find New in the menu.
    5. Click AutoHotkey Script inside the New menu.
    6. Give the script a new name. It must end with an .ahk extension. For example: MyScript.ahk
    7. Find the newly created file on your desktop and right-click it.
    8. Click Edit Script.
    9. A window should have popped up, probably Notepad.
    10. Add #Space::PostMessage, 0x50, 2, 0,, A ; 0x50 is WM_INPUTLANGCHANGEREQUEST
    11. Run AutoHotkey.

    * * *

    I’ve created an editable Word file with main key combinations for Windows mentioned above: follow the link to get main hotkeys for translators. Feel free to download it and use for learning hotkeys. You can replace the hotkeys you know well with some new combinations to master.

    Good luck in increasing your efficiency!

    Olesya Zaytseva

    About Olesya Zaytseva

    An independent translator working with English, Ukrainian, and Russian. Marketing communications for technology companies: making your marketing message stand out.

    3 thoughts on “Hot Keys and Key Combinations for Translators For Windows and macOS with a downloadable list

    Leave a Reply

    The Open Mic

    Where translators share their stories and where clients find professional translators.

    Find Translators OR Register as a translator