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The First Keyboard Shortcut: Ctrl-Alt-Del

The First Keyboard Shortcut: Ctrl-Alt-Del

Keyboard shortcuts, like [Ctrl-C] were created at Xerox in the 1970s, and include functions like cut, copy, and paste.

But the crown jewel of shortcuts, Control-Alt-Delete, was created in the early 1980s by David Bradley, an IBM engineer.

It only took 5 minutes to dream up the iconic combination, which became a hit among IBM employees, then got programmed into the company’s original PC.


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What Do Engineers See When Making Keyboard Shortcuts

What Do Engineers See When Making Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Make shortcuts easy to remember.
  • Ensure they make sense with existing keyboards.
  • Develop combinations that don’t trigger other shortcuts.

They also need to factor in how frequently a shortcut will be used. Shortcuts that are used more often tend to include simpler key combinations (e.g., copy and paste), while those that are less frequently tend to include more keys (e.g., force-quitting an app).


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Shortcuts In Modern Apps

Shortcuts In Modern Apps

One of the biggest trends in productivity software is using shortcuts. Companies like Notion, Superhuman, and Figma have created their own shortcuts to help users save time by ditching the mouse.

If you’re looking to start using your keyboard more effectively, Use The Keyboard is a website that lists shortcuts from a range of popular apps and websites.

You can always take your keyboard into your own hands — both Mac OS and Windows allow users to create their own shortcuts.


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Ctrl Alt Delete: The Short History

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