September 25, 2023

What are Mac shortcuts?

Mac shortcuts can help you navigate your Mac quickly without a mouse.

Keyboard shortcuts are combinations of keys that you can press on your computer keyboard to quickly perform specific actions or commands within an application or the operating system. They are designed to save time and make it more efficient to navigate and interact with your computer. Keyboard shortcuts are commonly used in various software applications and operating systems, including macOS, Windows, and Linux.

What are Mac shortcuts?

What are common Command Key shortcuts?

On a Mac keyboard, the “Command” key (often represented by the ⌘ symbol) is used as a modifier key to execute various functions and shortcuts within macOS and applications. Here are some common Command key functions:

  1. ⌘ + C: Copy selected text or items.
  2. ⌘ + X: Cut selected text or items.
  3. ⌘ + V: Paste copied or cut text or items.
  4. ⌘ + Z: Undo the last action.
  5. ⌘ + Shift + Z: Redo an undone action (or ⌘ + Y in some applications).
  6. ⌘ + A: Select all items or text.
  7. ⌘ + F: Open the “Find” dialog to search within documents or applications.
  8. ⌘ + N: Open a new document or window in many applications.
  9. ⌘ + W: Close the active window or tab.
  10. ⌘ + Q: Quit the active application.
  11. ⌘ + S: Save the current document or file.
  12. ⌘ + P: Print the current document.
  13. ⌘ + Tab: Switch between open applications (hold down ⌘ and press Tab to cycle through).
  14. ⌘ + Space: Open Spotlight search to quickly find files, apps, and perform calculations.
  15. ⌘ + Option + Esc: Force quit applications that are not responding.
  16. ⌘ + Shift + 3: Take a screenshot of the entire screen.
  17. ⌘ + Shift + 4: Take a screenshot of a selected area.
  18. ⌘ + Shift + 5: Open the screenshot and screen recording tool.
  19. ⌘ + , (comma): Open the Preferences/Settings window of the active application.
  20. ⌘ + Left Arrow or ⌘ + Right Arrow: Navigate to the beginning or end of a line of text.
  21. ⌘ + Up Arrow or ⌘ + Down Arrow: Navigate to the beginning or end of a document.
  22. ⌘ + [ or ⌘ + ]: Navigate backward or forward through web pages or document history.
  23. ⌘ + Shift + N: Create a new folder in Finder.

Keep in mind that some applications may have additional or custom Command key shortcuts, and you can often view these shortcuts in the application’s menus or settings. If you have questions regarding shortcuts contact an Apple service provider.

What are less common Command Key shortcuts?

  1. ⌘ + Option + D: Show or hide the Dock.
  2. ⌘ + Option + Control + Eject (or Power button): Put the computer to sleep.
  3. ⌘ + Option + Control + Power Button: Force restart the computer.
  4. ⌘ + Option + Shift + Delete: Empty the Trash without confirmation.
  5. ⌘ + Option + Esc: Open the Force Quit Applications window.
  6. ⌘ + Option + Control + Esc: Force quit the front-most application without opening the Force Quit window.
  7. ⌘ + Control + F: Toggle full screen mode for the front-most application.
  8. ⌘ + Shift + A: Open the Applications folder.
  9. ⌘ + Shift + H: Open the Home folder of the currently logged-in user.
  10. ⌘ + Shift + U: Open the Utilities folder.
  11. ⌘ + Option + Control + T: Show or hide the Dock’s magnification.
  12. ⌘ + Option + Control + Comma (,): Decrease screen contrast.
  13. ⌘ + Option + Control + period (.): Increase screen contrast.
  14. ⌘ + Option + Control + Space: Open the Character Viewer for accessing special characters.
  15. ⌘ + Option + Control + 8: Invert colors on the screen.
  16. ⌘ + Option + I: Show or hide the Inspector (in some applications).
  17. ⌘ + Control + N: Show the “Desktop & Screen Saver” preferences.
  18. ⌘ + Option + Control + Shift + V: Paste and match style (often used to paste text without formatting).
  19. ⌘ + Option + Shift + K: Open the Network Utility.
  20. ⌘ + Option + Control + S: Hide or show the Sidebar in Finder windows.
  21. ⌘ + Option + P + R: Reset NVRAM (non-volatile random-access memory) during startup.
  22. ⌘ + Shift + G: Open the “Go to Folder” dialog in Finder for navigating to a specific directory.
  23. ⌘ + Control + D: Show the definition of the selected word (works in some applications).

The availability of these shortcuts might vary based on the macOS version and the specific applications you are using. You can also customize some shortcuts in System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts.

What are situations I would use Mac keyboard shortcuts?

Mac keyboard shortcuts can be incredibly useful in a variety of situations, helping you navigate your computer more efficiently and perform tasks more quickly. Here are some situations where you might find Mac keyboard shortcuts particularly handy:

  1. Text Editing:
    • Copy, cut, and paste text within documents or between applications.
    • Undo and redo actions without reaching for the mouse.
    • Bold, italicize, or underline text in documents.
    • Increase or decrease font size.
    • Find and replace text within documents.
  2. File and Folder Management:
    • Create new folders or documents.
    • Save files quickly.
    • Open, close, and switch between multiple applications or windows.
    • Navigate through files and folders in Finder using shortcuts like Command + Arrow keys.
  3. Browsing the Web:
    • Open new tabs and close tabs in web browsers.
    • Refresh web pages.
    • Navigate forward and backward between web pages.
    • Bookmark pages for quick access.
  4. Multimedia:
    • Play, pause, and control media playback.
    • Adjust volume and screen brightness.
    • Take screenshots and screen recordings.
    • Toggle full-screen mode for videos and presentations.
  5. System Management:
    • Lock the screen or put the computer to sleep.
    • Force quit unresponsive applications.
    • Access system preferences and settings quickly.
    • Open Spotlight to search for files, applications, and information.
  6. Text Entry and Formatting:
    • Insert special characters and symbols.
    • Change text alignment, line spacing, and indentation in documents.
    • Apply styles and formatting to text.
  7. Productivity and Workflow:
    • Use keyboard shortcuts in applications like Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, and coding editors.
    • Switch between virtual desktops or spaces.
    • Use gestures, navigation, and multitasking shortcuts.
  8. Accessibility:
    • Invert colors or enable other accessibility features.
    • Use VoiceOver or other screen reader features.
  9. Coding and Development:
    • Navigate code editors using keyboard shortcuts.
    • Compile, run, and debug code.
  10. Communication:
    • Use shortcuts in email applications for composing, replying, and managing messages.
    • Start video calls or chats quickly.
  11. Presentations:
    • Navigate slides and control presentations using shortcuts.
    • Start and end slideshows.

These are just a few examples of the many situations where Mac keyboard shortcuts can be beneficial. Learning and incorporating keyboard shortcuts into your workflow can significantly enhance your efficiency and productivity when using a Mac.

What if I’m using a Windows keyboard?

When using a Windows keyboard with a Mac, the “Command” key on a Mac keyboard is equivalent to the “Windows” key on a Windows keyboard. In other words, you can use the Windows key on your Windows keyboard as a substitute for the Command key on a Mac keyboard.


For example:

  • ⌘ + C (Mac) is equivalent to Windows Key + C (Windows) for copying.
  • ⌘ + V (Mac) is equivalent to Windows Key + V (Windows) for pasting.
  • ⌘ + A (Mac) is equivalent to Windows Key + A (Windows) for selecting all.

While many shortcuts will map directly from Mac to Windows keyboards and vice versa, keep in mind that there might be some differences or variations in specific shortcuts, especially if the software you’re using has platform-specific key bindings.

In some cases, you might need to use the “Alt” key (also known as “Option” on Mac) in combination with the Windows key to achieve certain shortcuts that involve the Command key on a Mac keyboard. It’s a good idea to experiment and test the shortcuts on your Windows keyboard to see how they work with your Mac.

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