Keyboard Shortcuts: A Quick Guide

Function Mac PC
‘Find’ COMMAND Command-F Ctrl-F
‘Copy’ COMMAND Command-C Ctrl-C
‘Paste’ COMMAND Command-V Ctrl-V
‘Undo’ last action COMMAND Command-Z Ctrl-Z
‘Redo’ last action COMMAND Command-Y Ctrl-Y
‘Cut’ COMMAND Command-X Ctrl-X
‘Insert footnote’ COMMAND Command-Option-F Ctrl-Alt-F
‘Save’ COMMAND Command-S Ctrl-S
‘Screenshot’ COMMAND Command-Shift-3 Print screen

The aim of this post is to introduce keyboard shortcuts for both Mac users and PC users. There are lots of different keyboard shortcuts you could use, but these are the most useful for research and studying.


This is a useful shortcut, when you know what you are looking for. It must be stressed that the ‘find’ function does not replace your reading of legislation, a case, book or article. It helps if you have read the source beforehand and merely want to check whether you have the correct citation/reference point.

You’re not expected to memorise every single article of law everywhere! Part of research and academic writing is about knowing where to find relevant parts of the law.

For example, when reading a long treaty and you remember that there is a specific article you need, the ‘find’ shortcut is really useful. When reading the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969), and you remember that it has a definition for ‘reservations’ but cannot remember which article.


Then use the ‘find’ function. That means pressing ‘Command’ AND F simultaneously on a Mac, OR ‘Ctrl’ AND ‘F’ on a PC. Type in ‘reservations’ and the computer finds the phrase for you. If the first result is not what you needed, then press ‘Enter’ to find the next result.

It is also a useful way of checking your own work. I have a tendency to overuse the word ‘Therefore’ in my essays, so using the ‘find’ function is useful to check whether I’ve used it too many times in my work or even twice in one sentence!


‘Copy and paste’

I do NOT recommend using the copy and paste when using other people’s work. It is much better to summarise and bring in your own analysis. The ASC Team and staff at Bristol Law School will be running workshops on ‘Good Academic Practice’ and ‘Plagiarism’ but as a general caveat, do NOT copy and paste chunks of text.

The only time I use this is when editing my work. Having written my essay, I often want to check whether my introduction matches my essay structure, as it often needs honing and refining. To do so, I like having an an additional Word document open simultaneously. This document has only my introduction in, which is not only my own work but will be later incorporated into my essay. This is the only time I use ‘copy’ and ‘paste’.


‘Undo’ and ‘redo’

If you’ve made a mistake or accidentally ‘undid’ something you wanted to keep, these functions are quite useful. This is less of a problem with Word documents, but when it comes to designing posters with Powerpoint.  For example, when you’ve moved text or a picture somewhere but can’t remember where you had it last but preferred it that way, then these functions can be really helpful!



Remember our helpful blog post on footnotes and referencing? As a law student, you will need to familiarise yourself with OSCOLA format, which uses footnotes. One way to insert a footnote is with this shortcut.

If you’re still lost, it’s a good time to refresh your memory as it is quite tricky to get used to.

The blog posts can be found here:

and here:



Remember to regularly save your work. You’ll be very frustrated if you lose all your hard work!


‘Screen shots’

This is just a useful function to share a picture of your screen with friends or colleagues. If you’re trying to explain something and they don’t quite understand, sometimes a picture can help. This may be something you might want to use if planning group presentations and someone is stuck…


For further information regarding keyboard shortcuts

For PCS, see:

For Macs, see:




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