Did you know that software programs provide keyboard commands that
are shortcuts to menu items? They perform the same task as a menu
command, such as print, save, and new file. Keyboard commands use
a combination of alphanumeric characters together with the Control,
Shift, or Alt/Command keys. They are very helpful for students who
are blind to navigate software and the Internet and for customization
You can find many of these commands next to functions on
a pull down menu. This figure shows the File pull-down menu
from Appletalk. The File pull down menu shows that to "save"
your file, you can click on "save" on the pull down
menu with your mouse pointer or hold down the Command/Apple
key on Mac computers (or the Ctrl key on Windows computers)
while you press "S" (Command + S or Ctrl + S). The
result is the same: your document will be saved.
Keyboard commands make software more accessible to all students.
Some people simply prefer using the keyboard instead of the mouse.
For others who may have difficulty using the mouse, key commands
offer an alternative control method.
In addition, software programs frequently build in other keyboard
commands to help you control many aspects of the software. For example,
II (IntelliTools, Inc.), a text-to-speech word processor, has
commands to help move through previously written text to read it.
This is useful for students who have learning or vision disabilities.
Look in the software program's documentation for additional commands.
You can also check the program's "help" file under key
commands or shortcuts. Knowing keyboard commands for individual
software programs can also provide a basis for customizing devices.
Keyboard Shortcut Resources