How to Use iPad External Keyboard Shortcuts

iPad shortcuts are a super helpful feature, and an external keyboard opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

This article will tell you how to use iPad keyboard shortcuts on an external keyboard. If you’re planning on using your iPad regularly for word processing, you’re going to want to use a physical keyboard, and unless you enjoy touching your iPad's screen every two seconds, keyboard shortcuts are great for completing common tasks in a second. Here, I’ll share some useful keyboard shortcuts to learn for your external keyboard that will make you even more efficient use of your device.

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What Are iPad Keyboard Shortcuts?

A keyboard shortcut is a combination of keys on a keyboard that launch a quick action. These shortcuts are specifically for an iPad external keyboard, not the on-screen keyboard that shows up when you have the option to enter text.

How to View All Shortcuts in an App

Depending on what app you’re using, your keyboard shortcuts will be different. An easy way to find out what they are is to hold down the Command button. You’ll see a list of commands for the current app you’re using.

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iPad External Keyboard Shortcuts

Here are some commands that I find especially useful:

General Shortcuts

These shortcuts work regardless of your keyboard or open application.

Command-Space: Quickly access the Search function.

Command-H: Return to your Home screen from any app.

Command-Tab: Switch between open apps.

Command-Shift-3: Take a screenshot of everything displayed on your screen.

Text Shortcuts

These shortcuts work when you're in a text entry field, whether a word processor, your Notes app, or a Search bar.

Shift-Left/Right: This will highlight text one character at a time, in the direction you press the arrow key.

Shift-Command-Left/Right: Highlight an entire row of text.

Safari Shortcuts

These are shortcuts that work when you are in Safari.

Space: Pressing the space bar will scroll you down the page.

Control-Tab: Switch tabs. Note that it is Control, not Command, as most of the shortcuts above have been.

Command-F: Search for a specific word or phrase.

Command-L: Jump to the input text/URL field.

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Author Details

Amy Spitzfaden–Both's picture

Author Details

Amy Spitzfaden–Both

Amy Spitzfaden Both is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, an award-winning novelist, and an iPhone enthusiast. Over the past decade, her work in the publishing industry has included live coverage of industry events including the Yale Publishing Course and Magazine Innovation’s ACT 9 Experience, providing editing services for several start-up publishing houses, and acting as newsstand consultant for magazines such as The Old Farmer’s Almanac and The New York Review of Books. She graduated from M.I.U. with a Bachelor’s in Literature and Writing, and has gone on to publish two novels and two short stories. Her debut novel Untold won the 2014 Chelson Award for Fiction.
Writing everything from book reviews to skincare tips, Amy discovered a passion for bringing exciting and useful information to even the most casual researcher. The mix of usability and endless possibilities is what drew her to Apple products originally, and the more she learns, the more she loves.
Amy lives in New Hampshire with her husband and daughter. When she’s not writing or glued to her iPhone, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and creating her own tea blends.