Mac keyboard shortcuts

In last week’s post, I gave a list of keyboard shortcuts that are helpful for Windows users. Mac users: you may be in the minority, but I haven’t forgotten about you. Today I’ll share some of the most commonly used and most useful Mac keyboard shortcuts.

Mac shortcuts in the menu
Keyboard shortcuts are listed next to commands in Mac OS X.

One thing I find very helpful on the Mac operating system is that the menus at the top of the screen include keyboard shortcuts for many of the commands in the menu. For example, in the photo to the right, you can see that to open a new window in Safari I would press Command (⌘) and N. The Command key, incidentally, is labelled with its symbol on Mac keyboards, but none of the other modifier keys are labelled with the symbols used in the menu lists. So below I’ve included a list of the symbols used for the most common modifier keys. (In the shortcuts I list below, I’ll use the written names like you see on the keyboard, but if you’re learning shortcuts from the menus this list will help.)

Command key
Control key
Option key
Shift Key
Caps Lock
fn Function Key

Common commands

  • Control + mouse-click   —–>   Right-click
  • Command + X   —–>   Cut the selected item
  • Command + C   —–>   Copy the selected item
  • Command + V   —–>   Paste the selected item
  • Command + Z   —–>   Undo an action
  • Shift + Command + Z   —–>   Redo an action
  • Command + Tab   —–> Switch between open apps
  • Command + Q   —–>   Quit the current app
  • Command + W   —–>   Close the current window (without quitting the app)
  • Command + M   —–>   Minimize the current window
  • Command + N   —–>   Open a new window in the current app
  • Command + F3   —–> Show the desktop
  • fn + Delete   —–>   Delete text like the Windows Delete key (the Delete key on a Mac normally acts like the Backspace key in Windows)

Working with files

  • Command + spacebar   —–> Open Spotlight to search your computer
  • Command + A   —–>   Select all items (or all text if in a document)
  • Command + Delete   —–>   Send selected item(s) to the trash
  • Return (or Enter)   —–>   Rename selected item
  • Click an item, then hold shift and click another item   —–>   Select all items in between the two you clicked
  • Click an item, then hold command and click other items   —–>   Select all items clicked

For a more comprehensive listing, check out Apple’s list or this list compiled by Dan Rodney.

Got one I missed? Let me know below.


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