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Modifier Keys

Some of the keys on the keyboard are called modifier keys because they don’t do anything by themselves, but are used in combination with regular keys to make something happen, like keyboard shortcuts (see “Keyboard Shortcuts” on page 59). The Shift key, for instance, is a modifier key you are already familiar with: the Shift key doesn’t do anything when you press it by itself, but if you hold it down while you type an alphabetic character, you get the capital letter instead of the lowercase letter.

The symbols shown in the outer column under each of the following headings are the symbols that will appear in menus to indicate those keys.

Modifier keys: Shift, Option, Command (also called Apple), Control.

Sometimes a keyboard shortcut uses more than one modifier. Always hold down all the modifier keys together (Command, Shift, Option, etc.) while you give one quick tap on the associated letter key. For instance, to paste an item, the shortcut is V: hold down the Command key and type a quick V. If you hold the character key down (such as the V key) instead of tapping it once, you will usually end up repeating the command many times.

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