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Improve productivity by using keyboard shortcuts in Amazon Athena query editor

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Amazon Athena is a serverless, interactive analytics service built on open-source frameworks, supporting open-table and file formats. Athena provides a simplified, flexible way to analyze petabytes of data where it lives. You can analyze data or build applications from an Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) data lake and over 25 data sources, including on-premises data sources or other cloud systems using SQL or Python. Athena is built on open-source Trino and Presto engines and Apache Spark frameworks, with no provisioning or configuration effort required.

Different types of users rely on Athena, including business analysts, data scientists, security, and operations engineers. Athena provides a query editor to enter and run queries on data using structured query language (SQL). The query editor provides features like run, cancel, and save queries or statements. Additionally, it provides keyboard shortcuts for user-friendly operation.

This post discusses the keyboard shortcuts available and how you can use them.

Accessing the Athena console

If you’re new to Athena and don’t know how to access the Athena console and run queries and statements, refer to the following getting started tutorial. This tutorial walks you through using Athena to query data. You’ll create a table based on sample data stored in Amazon S3, query the table, and check the results of the query.

Keyboard shortcuts

The query editor provides keyboard shortcuts for different action types like running a query, formatting a query, line operations, selection, multi-cursor, go to, find/replace, and folding. Compared to reaching for the mouse or navigating a menu, a single keyboard shortcut saves a moment of your time.

With keyboard shortcuts, you can use key combinations to edit your SQL statement without using a mouse. For example, you can use multiple cursors in your editing window for selecting all instances of text you wish to edit, and edit your text, fold or unfold selected text, find and replace text, and perform line operations like remove line, move lines, and more.

You can also find these keyboard shortcuts on the query editor on the bottom right corner, as highlighted in the following screenshot.

The following table shows the keyboards shortcuts for Window/Linux and Mac.

Action Type Action Windows/Linux Mac
Other Execute query Ctrl-Enter Cmd-Enter, Ctrl-Enter
Other Format query Ctrl-Alt-L Opt-Cmd-L
Other Previous query Ctrl-Up Ctrl-Shift-Up
Other Next query Ctrl-Down Ctrl-Shift-Down
Other Close tab Alt-X Opt-X
Other Previous tab Ctrl-, Ctrl-,
Other Next tab Ctrl-. Ctrl-.
Other Indent Tab Tab
Other Outdent Shift-Tab Shift-Tab
Other Save Ctrl-S Cmd-S
Other Undo Ctrl-Z Cmd-Z
Other Redo Ctrl-Shift-Z, Ctrl-Y Cmd-Shift-Z, Cmd-Y
Other Toggle comment Ctrl-/ Cmd-/
Other Transpose letters Ctrl-T Ctrl-T
Other Change to lower case Ctrl-Shift-U Ctrl-Shift-U
Other Change to upper case Ctrl-U Ctrl-U
Other Overwrite Insert Insert
Other Delete Delete
Line Operations Remove line Ctrl-D Cmd-D
Line Operations Copy lines down Alt-Shift-Down Cmd-Opt-Down
Line Operations Copy lines up Alt-Shift-Up Cmd-Opt-Up
Line Operations Move lines down Alt-Down Opt-Down
Line Operations Move lines up Alt-Up Opt-Up
Line Operations Remove to line end Alt-Delete Ctrl-K
Line Operations Remove to line start Alt-Backspace Cmd-Backspace
Line Operations Remove word left Ctrl-Backspace Opt-Backspace, Ctrl-Opt-Backspace
Line Operations Remove word right Ctrl-Delete Opt-Delete
Line Operations Split line Ctrl-O
Selection Select all Ctrl-A Cmd-A
Selection Select left Shift-Left Shift-Left
Selection Select right Shift-Right Shift-Right
Selection Select word left Ctrl-Shift-Left Opt-Shift-Left
Selection Select word right Ctrl-Shift-Right Opt-Shift-Right
Selection Select line start Shift-Home Shift-Home
Selection Select line end Shift-End Shift-End
Selection Select to line end Alt-Shift-Right Cmd-Shift-Right
Selection Select to line start Alt-Shift-Left Cmd-Shift-Left
Selection Select up Shift-Up Shift-Up
Selection Select down Shift-Down Shift-Down
Selection Select page up Shift-PageUp Shift-PageUp
Selection Select page down Shift-PageDown Shift-PageDown
Selection Select to start Ctrl-Shift-Home Cmd-Shift-Up
Selection Select to end Ctrl-Shift-End Cmd-Shift-Down
Selection Duplicate selection Ctrl-Shift-D Cmd-Shift-D
Selection Select to matching bracket Ctrl-Shift-P
Multicursor Add multi-cursor above Ctrl-Alt-Up Ctrl-Opt-Up
Multicursor Add multi-cursor below Ctrl-Alt-Down Ctrl-Opt-Down
Multicursor Add next occurrence to multi-selection Ctrl-Alt-Right Ctrl-Opt-Right
Multicursor Add previous occurrence to multi-selection Ctrl-Alt-Left Ctrl-Opt-Left
Multicursor Move multi-cursor from current line to the line above Ctrl-Alt-Shift-Up Ctrl-Opt-Shift-Up
Multicursor Move multi-cursor from current line to the line below Ctrl-Alt-Shift-Down Ctrl-Opt-Shift-Down
Multicursor Remove current occurrence from multi-selection and move to next Ctrl-Alt-Shift-Right Ctrl-Opt-Shift-Right
Multicursor Remove current occurrence from multi-selection and move to previous Ctrl-Alt-Shift-Left Ctrl-Opt-Shift-Left
Multicursor Select all from multi-selection Ctrl-Shift-L Ctrl-Shift-L
Go to Go to left Left Left, Ctrl-B
Go to Go to right Right Right, Ctrl-F
Go to Go to word left Ctrl-Left Opt-Left
Go to Go to word right Ctrl-Right Opt-Right
Go to Go line up Up Up, Ctrl-P
Go to Go line down Down Down, Ctrl-N
Go to Go to line start Alt-Left, Home Cmd-Left, Home, Ctrl-A
Go to Go to line end Alt-Right, End Cmd-Right, End, Ctrl-E
Go to Go to page up PageUp Opt-PageUp
Go to Go to page down PageDown Opt-PageDown, Ctrl-V
Go to Go to start Ctrl-Home Cmd-Home, Cmd-Up
Go to Go to end Ctrl-End Cmd-End, Cmd-Down
Go to Scroll line down Ctrl-Down Cmd-Down
Go to Scroll line up Ctrl-Up
Go to Go to matching bracket Ctrl-P
Go to Scroll page down Opt-PageDown
Go to Scroll page up Opt-PageUp
Find/Replace Find Ctrl-F Cmd-F
Find/Replace Replace Ctrl-H Cmd-Opt-F
Find/Replace Find next Ctrl-K Cmd-G
Find/Replace Find previous Ctrl-Shift-K Cmd-Shift-G
Folding Fold selection Alt-L, Ctrl-F1 Cmd-Opt-L, Cmd-F1
Folding Unfold Alt-Shift-L, Ctrl-Shift-F1 Cmd-Opt-Shift-L, Cmd-Shift-F1
Folding Unfold all Alt-Shift-0 Cmd-Opt-Shift-0
Other Autocomplete Ctrl-Space Ctrl-Space
Other Focus out Esc Esc

For illustration, you can perform the Format query action by using the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl-Alt-L for Windows/Linux, Opt-Cmd-L for Mac). It converts unformatted SQL to a well-formatted SQL, as shown in the following screenshots.

Similarly, you can try out the Toggle comment command (Ctrl-/ for Windows/Linux, Cmd-/ for Mac) to comment or uncomment lines of SQL in the Athena query editor. This comes in very handy when you want to quickly comment out specific lines in your query, as shown in the following screenshots.

You can do line operations like Remove line, Copy lines down, Copy lines up, and more. The following screenshots show an example of the Remove line action (Ctrl-D for Windows/Linux, Cmd-D for Mac).

You can do a line selection like Select all, Select left, Select line start, and more. The following screenshots show an example the Select all action (Ctrl-A for Windows/Linux, Cmd-A for Mac).

You can do multi-cursor actions like Add multi-cursor above, Add multi-cursor below, Add next occurrence to multi-selection, Add previous occurrence to multi-selection, Move multi-cursor from current line to the line above, and more. The following example is of the Add multi-cursor above action (Ctrl-Alt-Up for Windows/Linux, Ctrl-Opt-Up for Mac).

You can do go to actions like Go to left, Go to right, Go to word left, and more. The following is an example of the Go to left action (Ctrl-B).

You can do find and replace actions like Find, Replace, Find next, and more. The following is an example of the Replace action (Ctrl-H for Windows/Linux, Cmd-Opt-F for Mac).

You can also do folding actions like Fold selection, Unfold, and Unfold all. The following example is of the Unfold action (Alt-Shift-L or Ctrl-Shift-F1 for Windows/Linux, Cmd-Opt-Shift-L or Cmd-Shift-F1 for Mac).


In this post, we saw how Athena provides an array of native options to help you improve productivity when analyzing your data. You can go to the Athena console and start running SQL statements or querying data using the built-in query editor. The query editor provides key shortcuts to improve your productivity by using key combinations to edit SQL statements, instead of using a mouse.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment.

About the Authors

Naresh Gautam is a Data Analytics and AI/ML leader at AWS with 20 years of experience, who enjoys helping customers architect highly available, high-performance, and cost-effective data analytics and AI/ML solutions to empower customers with data-driven decision-making. In his free time, he enjoys meditation and cooking.

Srikanth Sopirala is a Principal Analytics Specialist Solutions Architect at AWS. He is a seasoned leader with over 20 years of experience, who is passionate about helping customers build scalable data and analytics solutions to gain timely insights and make critical business decisions. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, spending time with his family, and road biking.

Harsh Vardhan is an AWS Solutions Architect, specializing in analytics. He has over 5 years of experience working in the field of big data and data science. He is passionate about helping customers adopt best practices and discover insights from their data.

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