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The Ultimate Guide to Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

mac keyboard shortcuts

If you’re new to the Mac operating system, you’ll be pleased to know life gets easier with the help of Mac keyboard shortcuts. It goes without saying that getting oneself familiar with them is critical to accomplishing more on any MacOS.

Learn these useful shortcuts to get any job done fast as well as save precious time while working on your Mac.

TIP: In case you’re a Windows switcher and connecting a PC keyboard to your MacBook, use the Windows logo key in place of Command and the Alt key for Option.

Mac Shortcuts for Power States

Remember these shortcuts to restart, shut down, or log out your Mac in no time. In most cases, you’ll be asked whether you want to save any unsaved changes in open documents when you toggle these commands.

Keyboard  Shortcut

Action

Power buttonTapping once wakes your Mac from sleep or turns it on.
Hold it for 1.5 seconds while your Mac is awake and you’ll be shown a dialog asking if you want to restart, sleep, or shut down. If you don’t want to wait, press the keys Control + Power button or Control + Media Eject .
Hold for 5 seconds to force your Mac to turn off.
Shift + Command + QLogs you out of your MacOS user account
Option + Shift + Command + QLogs you out of your MacOS user account immediately without confirmation
Control + Command + Media EjectQuits all apps and restarts your Mac
Control + Option + Command + Power button or Media EjectQuits all apps then shuts down your Mac
Control + Command + Power buttonForces your Mac to restart.
Control + Shift + Power button or Media EjectPuts your display to sleep

Common Mac Shortcuts

Many of these shortcuts apply on various platforms, but a few of them works exclusively on the Mac. Learn these and you’ll be cruising through Mac OS like a pro.

Keyboard         Shortcut         

Action

Command + ASelects all items within a document, web browser, or Finder
Command + CCopies the selected item to the Clipboard. You may also use this shortcut for copying files in the Finder.
Command + VPastes the Clipboard content/s into a document or app. Use this shortcut for moving files in the Finder.
Command + ZThis will undo the previous command. You can press Command + Shift + Z to reverse the undo command.
Command + XRemoves or cuts the selected item and copies it to the Clipboard
Command + FFinds an item or text in a document or opens a Find window
Command + GFinds the next occurrence of the item found previously. To go back to the previous occurrence, press the keys Command + Shift + G.
Command + HHides the windows of the front app. To view the front app but hide all the others, press the keys Command + Option + H.
Command + MMinimizes the front window to the Dock. To minimize all windows of the current, active app, press the keys Command + Option + M.
Command + NOpens a new document or window
Command + OOpens the item selected or opens a dialog so you can select a file to open
Command + PPrints the current document
Command + QQuits the current app
Command + SSaves the current document
Command + WCloses the front window. If you want to close all windows of the app, press the keys Command + Option + W.
Option + Command + EscChooses an app to force quit. You may also press and hold the keys Command + Shift + Option + Esc for 3 seconds to force just the front app to quit.
Command + SpacebarShows/hides the Spotlight search. To perform a Spotlight search from a Finder window, press the keys Command + Option + Spacebar.
SpacebarUses the Quick Look feature to preview a selected item
Command + tabSwitches to the next most recently used app among the apps you’ve opened
Shift + Command + Tilde (~)Switches to the next most recently used window of the current app you’re on
Shift + Command + 3Takes a screenshot of the entire screen
Command + CommaOpens the preferences for the current app

Keyboard Shortcuts for Finder

As you’re busy digging your files on Finder, have these shortcuts ready. They’ll surely make quick work of anything that you’re trying to do.

Keyboard Shortcut

Action

Command + 1Views items in Finder as icons
Command + 2Views items in Finder as a list
Command + 3Views items Finder in columns
Command + 4Views items in Finder with Cover Flow
Command + Up arrowOpens the folder that contains the currently accessed folder
Command + Control + Up arrowOpens the folder that contains the current folder in a separate window
Command + Down arrowOpens the currently selected item
Command + DCreates a duplicate of the selected file/s
Command + EEjects the selected disk or drive
Command + FStarts a Spotlight search in Finder
Command + IShows the Get Info window for a selected file
Command + JShows View Options
Command + KOpens the Connect to Server window
Command + LMakes an alias of the selected item
Command + NOpens a new Finder window
Command + RShows the original file for a selected alias
Command + TShows/hides the tab bar when a single tab is open in the Finder window
Command + YUses Quick Look to preview selected file/s
Command + Left Bracket ([)Gets you back to the previous folder
Command + Right Bracket (])Takes you to the next folder
Shift + Command + COpens the Computer window
Shift + Command + DOpens the desktop folder
Shift + Command + FOpens the All My Files window
Shift + Command + GOpens a Go to Folder window
Shift + Command + HOpens the Home folder of the current MacOS user account
Shift + Command + IOpens iCloud Drive
Shift + Command + KOpens the Network window
Shift + Command + OOpens the Documents folder
Shift + Command + ROpens the AirDrop window.
Shift + Command + TAdds selected Finder item to the Dock (Tip: works in OS X Mountain Lion or earlier)
Shift + Command + UOpens the Utilities folder
Shift + Command + TShows/hides a Finder tab
Option + Command + LOpens the Downloads folder.
Option + Command + DShows/hides the Dock (Tip: This works even when you’re not in the Finder)
Control + Command + TAdds the selected item to the sidebar (Tip: works in OS X Mavericks or later).
Option + Command + PHides/shows the path bar in Finder
Option + Command + SHides/shows the Sidebar in Finder
Shift + Command + NCreates a new folder
Option + Command + NCreates a new Smart Folder
Option + Command + TShows/hides the toolbar when a single tab is open in the current Finder window
Option + Command + VMoves the files in the clipboard to the current location
Option + Command + YViews a Quick Look slideshow of the selected files
Right ArrowOpens the selected folder when in list view
Left ArrowCloses the selected folder when in list view
Option + double-clickOpens a folder in a separate window and closes the current window
Command + double-clickOpens a folder in a separate tab or window
Command + DeleteMoves selected item/s to the Trash
Shift + Command + DeleteEmpties the Trash content
Option + Shift + Command + DeleteEmpties the Trash without confirmation dialog
Control + Shift + Command + TAdds selected Finder item to the Dock (Tip: works only in OS X Mavericks or later)
Command + Slash (/)Hides/shows the status bar in Finder
Command + Mission ControlTakes you to the desktop
Command + Brightness UpTurns Target Display Mode on or off
Command + Brightness DownTurns display mirroring on/off when your Mac is connected to another display
Option + Brightness UpOpens Displays preferences. (Tip: works just fine with either Brightness key)
Option + Mission ControlOpens Mission Control preferences
Option + Volume UpOpens Sound preferences (Tip: works with any volume keys)
Pressing Command while draggingMoves the dragged item to another volume or location
Pressing Option key while draggingCopies the dragged item
Pressing Option + Command while draggingMakes an alias of the dragged item
Pressing Option + click a disclosure triangleOpens all folders within the selected folder when in list view
Pressing Command + click on a window titleShows the folder that contains the current folder

Keyboard Shortcuts for Mac Documents

Breeze through any work that has to be done in Mac’s productivity suite with these shortcuts. Keep in mind, though, that many of these shortcuts aren’t exclusive to the MacOS.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Action

Command + Up arrow

Moves the text cursor to the start of the document

Command + Down arrow

Moves the text cursor to the end of the document

Command + Left arrow

Moves the text cursor to the beginning of the current line
Command + Right arrowMoves the insertion point to the end of the current line
Command + BTurns boldfacing on/off or turns the selected text into bold
Command + ITurns italics on/off or italicizes the selected text
Command + UTurns underlining on/off or underlines the selected text
Command + TShows/ hides the Fonts window
Command + DSelects the Desktop folder from within an Open dialog or Save dialog
Shift + Command +Colon (:)Displays the Spelling and Grammar window
Command + Semicolon (;)Finds misspelled words within a document
Control + H or DeleteDeletes the character on the left of the text cursor
Control + D or Fn + DeleteDeletes the character on the right of the insertion point
Control + KDeletes the text between the text cursor and the end of the line/paragraph
Control + Command + DShows/hides the definition of the selected word
Fn + Up arrowScrolls the view up one page at a time (Pg Up)
Fn + Down arrowScrolls the view down one page (Pg Dn)
Fn + Left arrowScrolls cursor back to the beginning of a document
Fn + Right arrowScrolls cursor to the end of the document
Option + Left arrowMoves the text cursor to the beginning of the previous word
Option + Right arrowMoves the text cursor to the end of the next word
Shift + Command + Up arrowSelects the text between the insertion point and the beginning of the document
Shift + Command + Down arrowSelects the text between the text cursor and the end of the document
Shift + Command + Left arrowSelects the text between the insertion point and the beginning of the current line
Shift + Command + Right arrowSelects the text between the text cursor and the end of the current line
Shift + Up arrowExtends the text selection to the nearest character at the same horizontal location one line above
Shift + Down arrowExtends text selection to the nearest character at the same horizontal location found one line below
Shift + Left arrowExtends text selection one character to the left
Shift + Right arrowExtends text selection one character to the right
Control + AMoves the cursor to the beginning of the line or paragraph
Control + EMoves the cursor to the end of a line or paragraph
Control + FMoves one character forward
Control + BMoves one character backward
Control + LCenters the cursor or selection in the visible area
Control + PMove up one line
Control + NMove down one line
Control + OInserts a new line after the text cursor
Control + TSwaps the character behind the insertion point with the character in front of it
Option + DeleteDeletes the word to the left of the text cursor
Fn + Delete / Control + DForward-deletes on keyboards that don’t have a Forward Delete  key
Command + DeleteSelects Delete or Don’t Save in a dialog that contains a Delete or Don’t Save button.
Option + Shift + Up arrowExtends the text selection to the beginning of the current paragraph, then to the beginning of subsequent paragraphs if pressed again
Option + Shift + Down arrowExtends text selection to the end of the current paragraph, then to the end of the following paragraph when pressed again
Option + Shift + Left arrowExtends text selection to the beginning of the current word, then to the beginning of the following word if pressed once more
Option + Shift + Right arrowExtends the text selection to the end of the current word, then to the end of the following word if pressed again
Command + Left Curly Bracket ({)Left aligns
Command + Right Curly Bracket (})Right aligns
Shift + Command + Vertical bar (|)Center aligns
Shift + Command + Minus sign (-)Decreases the size of the selected item
Shift + Command + Plus sign (+) / Command + Equal sign (=)Increases the size of the selected item
Shift + Command + Question mark (?)Opens the Help menu
Option + Command + FTakes you to the search field.
Option + Command + TShows/hides a toolbar in the app
Option + Command + CCopies the formatting settings of the selected item to the Clipboard
Option + Command + VApplies the copied style to the selected item
Option + Shift + Command + VApplies the style of the surrounding content to the item pasted within that content
Option + Command + IShows/hides the inspector window
Shift + Command + PDisplays a window for selecting document settings
Shift + Command + SDisplays the Save As dialog or creates a duplicate of the current document

Do you want to learn even more shortcuts? In that case, just check the menus of the app you’re using. Remember that every app has its own shortcuts and those that work in one application aren’t guaranteed to work in another app.

You might also be interested to know that you can create your own keyboard shortcuts for menu commands in any OS X app. You may want to explore this option when a global shortcut is in conflict with a specific app’s shortcut. To do this navigate to the appropriate window to do this, navigate to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts.

If the reason why you’re learning about Mac keyboard shortcuts is that you’ve made the switch from the Windows OS recently, feel free to read our guide on switching from the PC to a Mac.

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