HomeHow-ToUltra Guide On Mac Keyboard Shortcuts | MacUpdate
Stephanie Neely

Stephanie Neely

Software Expert

Ultra Guide On Mac Keyboard Shortcuts | MacUpdate

23 August 2018

Ultra Guide On Mac Keyboard Shortcuts | MacUpdate

Keyboard shortcuts are brilliant time-savers. With them, you can do more with less effort. Already intrigued, right? Simply put, keyboard shortcuts for Mac allow you to activate the most commonly used commands with one click.

Using keyboard shortcuts is pretty easy. To use a keyboard shortcut, press and hold one or more modifier keys and then press the last key of the shortcut. But first, you need to set them up:

  • Open the Apple menu, select System Preferences, then find and choose Keyboard.

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  • Open the Shortcuts tab.

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You can disable or enable any shortcut using the tick boxes to the left, or set a different keystroke combination by clicking on the shortcut you want to change and then hitting the replacement combination on your keyboard.

Now that you know how to customize keyboard shortcuts, we would like to remind you that there dozens of default Mac hotkeys. Let’s take a look at the most important ones.

List of Shortcuts that Utilize Control Key and How to Use Control Key On Mac

The Control key is indicated as a Ctrl key on your Mac.

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Ctrl-Up Arrow: Enter Mission Control

Ctrl–Cmd–Power button*: Force your Mac to restart, without prompting to save any open and unsaved documents.

Ctrl-Down Arrow: View Windows in the Current App

Ctrl-Cmd-F: Use the app in full screen, if supported by the app.

Ctrl–Shift–Power button* or Ctrl–Shift–Media Eject: Put your displays to sleep.

Ctrl–Cmd–Space bar: Show the Character Viewer, from which you can choose emoji and other symbols.

Ctrl-Tab (in Safari): Switch to Next Tab.

List of Shortcuts That Utilize Command key and How to Use Command Key On Mac

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The Apple key is also known as the Command key or Cmd key. There are many commands you can do with it. Below, we have hand-picked the most commonly used Keyboard shortcuts for Mac that use the Cmd key.

Cmd-X: Cut the selected item and copy it to the Clipboard.

Cmd-C: Copy the selected item to the Clipboard. 

Cmd-V: Paste the contents of the Clipboard into the current document or app.

Cmd-Z: Undo the previous command. You can then click Shift-Command-Z to Redo, reversing the undo command. Note: there are apps where you can undo and redo multiple commands.

Cmd-A: Select All items.

Cmd-F: Find items in a document or open a Find window.

Cmd-G: Find Again: Find the next occurrence of the item previously found. To find the previous occurrence, press Shift-Cmd-G.

Cmd-H: Hide the windows of the front app. To view the front app but hide all other apps, press Option-Cmd-H.

Cmd-M: Minimize the front window to the Dock. To minimize all windows of the front app, press Option-Cmd-M.

Cmd-O: Open the selected item, or open a dialog to select a file to open.

Cmd-P: Print the current document.

Cmd-S: Save the current document.

Cmd-T: Open a new tab.

Cmd-W: Close the front window. By the way, if you need to close all windows of the app, you need to press and hold Option-Cmd-W.

Cmd–Space bar: Show or hide the Spotlight search field. To perform a Spotlight search from a Finder window, press Cmd–Option–Space bar. Please note that upon using multiple input sources to type in different languages, these shortcuts change input sources instead of showing Spotlight.

Cmd-Tab: Displays the app switcher. It stays open until the Cmd key remains held. The second app in the list (the one which is used prior to what you’re currently using) is chosen by default. To switch to that app, release the Cmd key.

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To select a different app, press Tab when Command is held until you move to the needed one. Use the left and right arrow keys to navigate. To move the selection more rapidly, hold down Tab or one of the arrow keys. You can also use a trackpad or mouse for navigation and selection: a two-finger drag quickly moves the selection box, and clicking an app icon selects it.

Shift-Cmd-3: Take a screenshot of the entire screen. Learn more screenshot shortcuts.

Shift-Cmd-N: Create a new folder in the Finder.

Cmd-Comma: Open preferences for the front app.

List of Shortcuts that Utilize F key or How to Use F keys on Mac

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By default, F keys on your Mac mean function keys. Some F keys are already programmed to perform specific commands:

F1 — To show the Help menu.

F2 — To rename files and folders.

F5 — To reload webpages.

F8: Displays thumbnail images of all workspaces.

F9: Displays thumbnail images of all windows in a single workspace.

F10: Displays all open windows of the currently active program (the program that has one of its windows on “top” of any other windows).

F11: Displays the Desktop.

F12: Displays Dashboard, which are simple programs such as calculator or calendar.

How to use the Option Key On Mac

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The Option key is indicated as an Alt key on your MacBook. Here are some of the most widely used keyboard shortcuts with Alt:

Alt -Cmd-Esc: Force quit an app.

Alt and click on Wi-Fi: shows additional information about your wireless networks such as your IP and router address.

Important: Third party apps sometimes include keyboard shortcuts. For example, when you hold down the Alt key and click on the Fantastical Menu bar widget, it will automatically open a pop-up window showing the full calendar app.

How to Use Touch Bar as a Shortcut Tool On a Mac

By default, the Touch Bar compact Control Strip includes four buttons: a volume slider, mute, a brightness slider, and Siri. If you want to change your Touch Bar items, you can easily do that. There are built-in apps on your Mac that have Touch Bar controls. Your favorite third-party apps can take advantage of Touch Bar as well. Let’s assume you want to add Safari. 

To add it to your Touch bar, follow the following steps:

  • Choose View and find Customize Touch Bar. The customization window appears on your display, allowing you to choose your favorite items:

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  1. Open System Preferences and find Keyboard
  2. Select Customize Touch Bar
  3. The existing Touch Bar icons will jiggle about
  4. Drag and drop new icons to the Touch Bar, for instance, Safari.
  5. Tap Done in the Touch Bar or click Done on the screen when you finish.

That’s it, the Safari is now set as your Touch Bar icon. To visit your favorites, tap a favorite website in Touch Bar to open it.

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To navigate and search, click the arrow button to go backward or forward. Tap the search field to begin a search, or tap to open a new tab.

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Key Considerations

Keyboard shortcuts are real time-savers. Set the commands you use on a regular basis and spend more time doing the important stuff.

Stephanie Neely

Stephanie Neely

Software Expert

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