We're designing for a B2B web based application (not mobile) where we have a panel on the right side of the screen showing details about a selection made in the main content area.

The panel can be opened and closed by clicking a button. We are considering adding a keyboard shortcut to also open and close the panel. What would be an appropriate shortcut key to use? Are there conventions we can follow? Our users use Windows.

Confluence have a similar design to us for the navigation where they use '[' as the shortcut. enter image description here

3 Answers 3


Great question!

Firstly: There is no shortcut that is so common that you should definitely use it (like Ctrl+S for saving). At least not that I am aware of.

Instead of willy-nilly copying what some other big app is using (be it JIRA or Notion or whatever), I'd audit what your users are used to and use that! Here I see two important factors:

  1. You may use the same shortcut that your users use in another software. If none of your users ever heard of JIRA, it doesn't matter what JIRA is doing. Maybe your users use some obscure niche-specific software where a properties panel is opened via Ctrl+Shift+Alt+8 or something - as long as your customers already know and use that, that's perfect :)
  2. Watch out that the shortcut you choose does not trigger a destructive action in other software that your customers use. To be honest, expert users will probably get used to any shortcut you pick, if they need that function often. So (1) isn't that important, maybe. However, real horribleness ensues when the combination that opens the properties panel in your software does something like reload page or delete item in another. Like how trying to type @ Windows-style on a Mac closes your current window. Kill me. So yeah, watch out for that, again by auditing what kind of programs your users use and which shortcuts are common there.

I was going to suggest using "[" as shortcut key as this is what JIRA uses.

Another suggestion would be Ctrl + key.

For example, Notion uses Ctrl+.


It is interesting that the exact same hotkey is used by another Atlassian product - Trello. And during use, I realized that it is quite convenient.

My advice is to use this hotkey for your product. Great idea!

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