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The best keyboard shortcuts for text formatting on your Mac or PC

Abigail Abesamis Demarest   

The best keyboard shortcuts for text formatting on your Mac or PC
  • Keyboard shortcuts for text formatting involve holding down two or three keys at a time to alter the appearance of text.
  • Common commands like bolding, underlining, or italicizing text are similar on Windows and Mac operating systems.
  • Some keyboard shortcuts are exclusive to specific operating systems.

Keyboard shortcuts can be helpful in accomplishing a variety of tasks more quickly, and there are a handful of commands specifically for text formatting. These commands involve holding down two or three keys at once, and they differ slightly depending on what operating system you're using.

Some common commands, like bolding, underlining, or italicizing text, are essentially the same (just swap out the Control key for Windows with the Command key on Mac), while other commands are exclusive to specific operating systems.

Below, we've rounded up text formatting shortcuts for Windows and Mac. You can use these commands on text in any program, such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs, email, etc.

Windows keyboard shortcuts for text formatting

  • Bold text: Ctrl + B
  • Underline text: Ctrl + U
  • Italicize text: Ctrl + i
  • Turn highlighted text into all capital or all lowercase letters: Ctrl + Shift + A
  • Add superscript: Ctrl + Shift + =
  • Add subscript: Ctrl + =
  • Make highlighted text larger or smaller: Ctrl + Shift + >, Ctrl + Shift + < or Ctrl + [, Ctrl + ]
  • Turn highlighted text into a bulleted or numbered list: Ctrl + Shift + L
  • Insert line break: Ctrl + Enter

Mac keyboard shortcuts for text formatting

  • Bold text: Command + B
  • Underline text: Command + U
  • Italicize text: Command + i
  • Add superscript: Ctrl + Shift + Command + +
  • Add subscript: Ctrl + Command + -
  • Make highlighted text larger or smaller: Command + Shift + > or Command + Shift + <
  • Insert line break: Command + Return
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