You have recently purchased a new computer and, as easy as it may be to use the supplied keyboard, you realize that it takes longer than necessary to perform some operations, which your friends, on the other hand, do instantly. They told you about key combinations and some settings that, if well exploited, can speed up the daily work on the PC, but they did not go into detail. So how can you learn how to make the most of your keyboard? I will explain it to you shortly.
In fact, in this guide of mine, I will illustrate you how to use the PC keyboard, whether you have a Windows computer or a Mac. I will also show you some key combinations to speed up the execution of various operations and I will point out some programs that, if well exploited, will allow you to improve your typing skills.
Are you eager to know the tips you will find in this guide? Well, then sit comfortably, take a few minutes of time to devote to me and put into practice the instructions you find below. I am sure that by the end of reading you will know even more than your friends and you will be able to improve your skills and knowledge related to the PC keyboard. Happy reading and good ... typing!
Using the Keyboard on Windows
If you have purchased a Windows PC in Italy, you certainly had a standard keyboard with Italian QWERTY layout supplied. This does not require any installation on the computer: you can, in fact, connect it to the PC via USB cable or, if it is a keyboard wireless, with the appropriate radio receiver to be connected to the USB port of the computer or, again, if it is one Bluetooth keyboard, via the Bluetooth module integrated in the computer or an adapter to be connected also to the USB port of the PC (as I explained to you in my tutorial on how Bluetooth works).
In reality, the differences between keyboards are not limited only to their connectivity with the computer, but also according to other characteristics that I will talk about in the final paragraph of this guide. In the next few lines, however, I will show you some tips to make the most of your keyboard, regardless of the model you own.
A keyboard for Windows it consists of keys divided into five main categories: i Typing keys, made up of letters, numbers and symbols, they help to type expressions on the computer; there are also i Control buttons (Eg Windows, Esc, Ctrl e Other), which are usually used in combination with other keys, to execute commands on the computer.
In the upper section of the peripheral, you can find the function keys, numbered from 1 to 12 (from F1 a F12), which perform different functions depending on the software on which they are pressed. On notebooks, to take advantage of the function keys it is usually necessary to press them together with the key Fn.
There are also two other groups of keys, which may not be present directly on the keyboard: i Navigation keys and Numeric keypad. These keys, in fact, are often not present in laptop keyboards, for reasons of space, but which can still be performed through combinations (usually Fn + [key]).
Il Numeric keypad is the one on the right of the device, which shows the numbers and mathematical operators to ensure a quick execution of the calculations and the insertion of the digits. Alongside this, there are the Navigation keys, which are used to move within a document and modify it (for example Canc, end, Start).
On some types of keyboards, you can also find buttons that can be customized or that have functions configured on Windows. But I'll tell you about this in another paragraph of my guide.
In addition to typing letters, numbers, and symbols with the keyboard, you often do key combinations which are intended to facilitate the operations performed by the user. In the next few lines, I will show you some combinations that could certainly facilitate your computer experience and I will also show you some software for changing Windows shortcut keys.
If you are inside a local document (e.g. a Word) or a web page, you can use some key combinations to perform functions on the text. If, for example, you want to copy a sentence, you can press the combination Ctrl + C, then followed by Ctrl + V, to paste the text elsewhere.
Here are some combinations you can try using on your Windows computer right now.
- Ctrl + S, to save a document.
- Ctrl + C, to copy the selected text or file.
- Ctrl + X, to cut a selected text or file.
- Ctrl + V, to paste a previously copied (or cut) text or file.
- Ctrl + Z, to undo the last operation performed.
- Ctrl + A, to select all text in a document or all files in a folder.
- Ctrl + F, to perform the function found within most software.
- Alt + F4, to close an active window.
- Alt + Tab, to switch between open software windows.
- Ctrl+Alt+Canc, to start the screen of operations to be performed on the PC (for example, locking the computer or logging off the user).
- Ctrl + Shift + Esc, to open the Task Manager.
You may have noticed that some keyboard keys have more than one symbol on them. To reproduce these symbols on the screen, simply hold down the key Shift or the key Alt Gr, followed by the one relating to the symbol you want to type; you must then press Shift + [symbol key] e Alt Gr + [symbol key]. If you want to capitalize a letter, you can do the combination instead Shift + [letter key].
In addition to the speech mentioned above, you can use key combinations for quick start software installed on your computer. To check if the program you installed has a quick run command, right-click on its icon and select Property, from the context menu. From the newly opened window, choose the tab connection and locate the voice Shortcuts, to view the combination.
If there was a text box with the words Nobody, click on it and type any alphanumeric key, to enter a combination that involves the simultaneous use of the keys Ctrl+Other. Then press the button OK and test the combination you just registered by pressing the keys simultaneously Ctrl + Alt + [chosen key], in order to start the software quickly.
If the built-in Windows function seems a little limited to you, you can also use software designed for this purpose, AutoHotkey, downloadable for free on Windows. If you want more information on how to use this program, I suggest you read my guide dedicated to the subject.
Change the Keyboard Layout
Most of the keyboards that can be purchased in Italy have the Italian layout but, depending on the operation you need to perform, you may need a different layout. In this case, you don't need to buy a new keyboard that meets your needs, you can simply change the layout virtually on Windows.
To do this, press the key combination Windows + [i], to open the panel Settings of the Microsoft operating system. Then click on the entry Date / time and language and select the section Geographic area and language from the left sidebar. Finally, locate the item Preferred languages and click on the wording Italian (Italy) (or the currently set language).
With this procedure, you will be shown buttons for managing the language you have selected. Then press the button options and, in the new screen that is proposed to you, press the button Add keyboard. Then choose the layout you want to add by clicking on it.
To start using the new layout, click on the language abbreviation (for example ITA/IT) that you find next to the Windows clock, at the bottom right of the taskbar. From the context menu, select the one you added earlier by simply clicking on it. Alternatively, you can simply press the key combination Windows + [Spacebar].
Type Symbols and Emojis
If you want to use symbols that are not present on the keyboard, you can refer to the Windows character mapping. The information on the symbols to be inserted is present in a panel that you can reach by pressing the key combination Windows + Rtyping the end charmap in the window Run Windows and then confirming the operation by pressing the button OK.
By doing this, you can view the panel Character map which contains the special characters decoded by Windows. Then choose the one you want to use and press the button Select, to insert it into the text box below. Now, press the button Copy to record it in the clipboard and paste it (Ctrl + V) subsequently in the software you need to insert the symbol of your choice.
Alternatively, you can search for the decimal code corresponding to the special character, available through le table ASCII, accessible through the many websites that offer consultation. To do this, simply a Google search, searching for the term ascii table.
When you have the code of the symbol you are looking for, you can reproduce it in any text field by pressing the key combination Alt + [code]. The code must be entered via the numeric keypad keyboard to function. If you want to learn more, you can consult my guide on how to type special characters.
If you want, instead, add some emoji, you can use a virtual panel of Windows 10 for their insertion. To access it, press the key combination Windows+[.] (The punctuation mark "period"). In this way, you can see a list of emojis divided into different categories, which can be consulted through the corresponding icons at the bottom. Now, click on what you want to insert, to see it immediately typed into a text field or document.
If by carrying out the procedure mentioned above you should not see any emoji in the text, in reality these are pending and await a confirmation for their insertion. In the upper right corner you can see a box containing the emojis you selected earlier and which can be transferred to the software you are using by pressing the icon with the green arrow symbol.
Use the Virtual Keyboard
If you want to use the Windows virtual keyboard instead, the procedure for activating it is really simple. Open the window Run Windows, using the key combination Windows + R. Then type in the term osk e premium pulsating OK. This way, you can use the virtual keyboard which has the same functionality as a physical one.
You can also perform all the suggestions I indicated in the previous paragraphs, to use the key combinations. To learn more about the use of a virtual keyboard on Windows, I suggest you read my dedicated guide.
Using the Keyboard on Mac
If you own a Poppy, the keyboard that was supplied to you is a little different than that of Windows. If you use the default, you have no difficulty in executing commands with key combinations. If you connect instead, you use one for Windows on a Mac, things change and a bit of confusion may arise about using some keys.
In the next paragraph I will talk to you about these differences, which will help you improve your user experience and, in general, that of using a keyboard on Mac.
The configuration of a keyboard for Mac is the same as the one I told you about in the paragraph on Windows. Then find the typing keys, consisting of letters, numbers and symbols, i control keys (Eg command, option, uppercase), And function keys, (the keys from F1 a F12) and possibly also i navigation keys and numeric keypad.
For their explanation, I refer you to what has already been said in the previous lines. But I want to focus briefly on the difference between the keys, in case you connect a Windows keyboard to a Mac. command of a Mac keyboard, which is often used in combination with other keys, has the same function as the button Ctrl one for Windows.
By connecting the latter to a Mac, all key combinations involving the button command, however, must be performed with the button Windows. The button optioninstead, it is done by pressing that Other on a Windows keyboard.
To perform some operations on Mac faster, you can use key combinations available in all applications: here are some of the most useful.
- Command + S, to save a document or project.
- Command + C, to copy selected text or a file.
- Command + X, to cut a selected text or file.
- Command + V, to paste a previously copied (or cut) text or file.
- Command + Z, to cancel a previously executed command.
- Command + A, to select all text in a document or all files in a folder.
- Command + F, to perform the function found within most software.
- Comando + W, to close an active window.
- Command + Q, to close an application.
- Command + [space bar], to start a search via Spotlight.
To type uppercase letters, you can use the key combination shift + [letter key]. While, if you want to type one of the special symbols indicated on the keyboard buttons, you can perform a combination of keys shift + [symbol key] e option + [symbol key].
In general, you can see all the key combinations that can be used within an application by accessing the context menus of the various items on the horizontal menu bar at the top. Next to each, you are shown the combinations of keyboard symbols to use.
Some system default combinations can be changed to custom ones, by reaching the Mac keyboard settings panel. To do this, click on the icon with the symbol of the bitten apple that you find in the upper left corner and, from the context menu, click on the item System preference. Then click Keyboard and reach the section Abbreviations, from the tabs you see at the top of the new screen.
Through this panel, you can choose from the left sidebar the combinations grouped by category and modify them from the right panel, by clicking on the registered combination. After you enter edit mode, register a new combination by pressing keys from the keyboard.
A similar result can be obtained by installing a paid application, Keyboard Maestro, which allows you to execute scripts using a customized key combination. To learn more about the customization of combinations via the panel Keyboard Mac and using Keyboard Maestro, I refer you to my guide dedicated to the topic.
Change the Keyboard Layout
Changing the input method of a keyboard on Mac is possible through the panel Keyboard. To do this, click on the icon with the symbol of a bitten apple, which you find in the upper left corner, and press the item System preference, from the context menu. Now, from the panel of Settings Mac, click on the entry Keyboard and then choose the tab Input sources, from the new screen you see.
At this point, fai clic sull 'icon [+], at the bottom left, select the language from the left panel. Then choose the type of layout from the right pane and press the button Add. You can now switch layouts at any time by clicking on the icon symbol of a flag, at the top right of the Mac menu bar, and then choosing the language, from the context menu. You can also perform the key combination ctrl + [space bar] to change layout.
Type Symbols and Emojis
For insert special characters or emojis while typing text, you can take advantage of the panel Character viewer. To use it, you simply need to perform the key combination ctrl + command + [space bar].
By performing this procedure, you can view a small panel with all the emojis and symbols divided into categories, which can be consulted through the icons in the bar at the bottom. Now go to the text box or document where you want to insert the symbols or emojis, and click on one of them, from the panel Character viewer.
If you want to expand the view of emojis and symbols available, click the icon with the symbol of a window in the upper right corner of the panel Character viewer. In this new screen, you can select the categories on the left and then the sub-categories, where all the macOS symbols and emojis are contained.
If you are looking for a method to enter letters with different types of accents, you can press and hold the corresponding key from the keyboard. For example, if you want to change the graphic accent on the letter "A", press and hold the "a" key of the peripheral until the available variants are shown.
Use the Virtual Keyboard
In addition to the physical keyboard, you can also use a virtual keyboard on your Mac. To activate the display of this tool, click the icon with the Apple symbol, which you find in the upper left corner, and then choose System preference, from the context menu.
Now, tap on the item Keyboard, select the scheda Keyboard in the new screen that opened and put a check mark in the box Show keyboard, emoji, and symbol viewers in the menu bar. At this point, a new icon should have appeared in the menu bar next to the clock: click on it and, from the context menu, select the item Show keyboard viewer.
By performing this procedure, you can display an on-screen virtual keyboard that you can use in the same way as a physical one. You can then use all the tips mentioned in the previous lines to perform quick operations on macOS. If you want to know more, I can recommend reading my tutorial on how to use the Mac virtual keyboard.
Programs to Use the Keyboard
As already mentioned at the beginning of this guide, there are different types of keyboards, each of which is essential according to the user's use. In addition to the difference already mentioned in this article regarding connectivity, other features, such as the structure of the keys (mechanical or membrane), the backlight or the customization of functions, may require more keys than those present in a standard keyboard.
In my article on the best keyboards to buy, I showed you the ones that can be right for you, based on their characteristics.
Except for some specific functions, most of the keys, related to the functions indicated in the previous lines, can be customized through the proprietary software. For example, gaming keyboards from Logitech use the software Logitech Gaming Software to customize the backlight and the configuration of the customizable keys; another example is keyboards Razer, configurable through the software Razer Synapse.
In addition to what has been said in the previous lines, I can also recommend software to download to your computer to help you practice on typing speed characters on the keyboard. In this regard I advise you Rapid Typing Tutor, available only on Windows, or TIPP10, downloadable on both Windows and macOS. To learn more, I suggest you read my guide on how to speed up typing with the keyboard.