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Mac Central: Your Place for Good, Concise Mac Keystrokes, Tips & Tricks


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Menu Symbols Finder App Switcher

Windows & Dialogs Dock Dashboard

Text Screenshots Spotlight

Mission Control Shutdown, etc. Safari

Apple Mail Preview Miscellaneous


For years Ive collected these keystrokes. I hope they help you become the power user
that lies within. I have tested them on Mac OS X El Capitan, but most should work on
older versions of Mac OS (such as Yosemite, Mavericks, Mountain Lion). After macOS
Sierra comes out I will update as needed!

Menu Symbols

Symbol Key on Keyboard

Command (or Cmd)

Like the Control key on Windows/PC. Formerly known as the Apple key.

Option (like Alt on Windows/PC)

Control (Control-click = Right-click)



Enter (on Number Pad, or fn-Return on compact keyboards)



Page Up (fn-Up Arrow on compact keyboards)

Page Down (fn-Down Arrow on compact keyboards)

Home (fn-Left Arrow on compact keyboards)

End (fn-Right Arrow on compact keyboards)

Arrow Keys

Delete Left (like Backspace on Windows/PC)

Delete Right (fn-Delete on compact keyboards. Also called Forward Delete)


Action Keystroke

Open Sidebar item in a new Tab or Window Cmd-Click

(depending on Finder Preferences)

Switch Finder views Cmd-1, Cmd-2, Cmd-3, Cmd-4

(Icon, List, Column, Cover Flow)

In List view, expand a folder Right Arrow

In List view, collapse a folder Left Arrow

Rename the selected le/folder Press Return (or Enter)

Go into selected folder or open the Cmd-Down Arrow

selected le
Go to parent folder Cmd-Up Arrow

Go Back Cmd-[

Go Forward Cmd-]

Select the next icon in Icon and List views Tab (Shift-Tab reverses direction)

Alternate columns in Column View Tab (Shift-Tab reverses direction)

Resize one column to t the longest le name Double-Click column divider (or the resize widget
(Column View) at the bottom of the column divider, depending
on your setup)

Resize all columns to t their longest Option Double-Click column divider (or the resize
le names (Column View) widget at the bottom of the column divider,
depending on your setup)

Copy and Paste les Cmd-C, then Cmd-V

Copy and Paste les Exactly (Keeps original Cmd-C, then Cmd-Option-Shift-V
ownership & permissions. Requires Admin
username & password.)

Cut and Paste les (Move les) Cmd-C, then Cmd-OptionV

Move a le instead of copying (Copies to the Cmd-Drag le to disk

destination and removes it from the original

Immediately Delete a File (does not put le in Cmd-OptDelete


Move selected les to the Trash (called the Cmd-Delete

Recycle Bin in Windows)

Empty the Trash with warning (like emptying Cmd-Shift-Delete

Recycle Bin in Windows)

Empty the Trash with no warning (like Cmd-Opt-Shift-Delete

emptying Recycle Bin in Windows)

Cancel a drag-n-drop action while in the midst Esc

of dragging

Show Inspector (a single, live refreshing Cmd-Opt-I

Info window)
Undo the last action (such as rename le, Cmd-Z
copy le, etc.)

Hide/Show Sidebar (on the left) Cmd-Opt-S

Hide/Show Toolbar (on the top) and the Cmd-Opt-T


Move or Remove item in toolbar (at the top of Cmd-Drag

the window). Works in most programs.

Open Quick Look (Previews most types of les Press the Spacebar (or Cmd-Y). On a trackpad can
without having to open them) also tap with 3 ngers.

Zoom In/Out in Quick Look (Images & PDFs) Pinch on a trackpad or hold Opt while scrolling.
For images, hold Option to zoom to 100%.

Find Files Cmd-F

App Switcher

Action Keystroke

Quickly switch between 2 apps Press Cmd-Tab to switch to last used app.
(like Safari & Finder) Press Cmd-Tab again to switch back.

Switch between apps Press Cmd-Tab & continue holding Cmd. While holding Cmd, to
choose which app you want to switch to:
press Tab (multiple times as needed) to scroll right

press Tilde(~) or Shift-Tab to scroll left

press Left/Right Arrow keys

aim with the mouse

press End/Home key to go to rst/last app

Quit an app in the app In the app switcher, youre already holding Cmd, so hit Q to quit
switcher selected app.

Hide an app in the app In the app switcher, youre already holding Cmd, so hit H to hide
switcher selected app.
Cancel the app switcher In the app switcher, youre already holding Cmd, so hit Esc or

Managing Windows & Dialogs

Action Keystroke

Switch to next window Cmd-Tilde(~)

Switch to previous window Cmd-Shift-Tilde(~)

See where the File/Folder is located (a menu will Cmd-Click on name of the window (in the
pop-up displaying the folder hierarchy). Works in titlebar)
most programs, including the Finder.

Move a window in the background without Cmd-Drag on the windows titlebar

switching to it.

Choose Dont Save in a Dialog Cmd-D in some apps, but other apps use
Cmd-Delete (Cmd-D will change the location
to the Desktop)


Action Keystroke

Hide all other applications (except the one you're clicking Command-Option click an Apps icon in
on) Dock

Reveal a Dock items location in the Finder Command Click on the icon in the Dock

Force a le to open in a specic app While dragging the le onto an apps

icon in the Dock, hold Command-

In an Apps Dock menu change the Quit to Force Quit Hold Option while in Dock menu
(Click & hold on an App in the Dock to show the menu)
Move Dock to left, bottom, right side of screen Hold Shift and drag Dock divider

Change the icon size of a stack (must be the grid view) Cmd-plus(+) or Cmd-minus()

Temporarily turn magnication on/o Hold Control-Shift

Force the Dock to only resize to non-interpolated icon Hold Option while dragging
sizes Dock separator


Action Keystroke

Close a widget without having to open the Hold Option and hover over widget (close box will
widget dock appear)

Reload/Refresh a widget Cmd-R

Working with Text

Only work in some apps (Safari, Mail, TextEdit, etc.)

Action Keystroke

Go to end of line Cmd-right arrow

Go to beginning of line Cmd-left arrow

Go to end of all the text Cmd-down arrow

Go to beginning of all the text Cmd-up arrow

Go to end of current or next Option-right arrow


Go to beginning of current or Option-left arrow

previous word

Add Shift to the above keystrokes to make a selection to that point.

On Laptops: Delete Text to the Function(fn)-Delete
right of the cursor (like the Del
key on a full keyboard)

Non-touching (Discontinuous) Command-drag

text selections

Select non-linear areas Option-drag

Delete entire word to the left Opt-Delete

Paste and Match Style (so it CmdOpt-ShiftV

looks the same as the text you
are pasting into)

Look up word in dictionary Mouse over a word and hit Cmd-Ctrl-D (Or on a trackpad use 3
ngers to tap on a word)

Display Emoji pop-up Command-Control-Space (You can then start typing to search the
list of Emojis)

Display Special/Alternate Hold any key. Example: Holding the A key will display etc.
Characters You can press the corresponding number under the character
you want to type to choose it (or arrow over to it).

Auto completion word Start typing the word. Press Esc (or F5) to open suggested word

Switch to Outline Mode in Press Option-Tab to convert the current line into a list item
TextEdit Press Return to create another list item

Press Tab at the start of a blank list item to indent it, creating a

Press Shift-Tab to remove a level of indention

Press Return twice to decrease the indent, exiting the current


Screenshots Saved to the Desktop as a PNG le.

Action Keystroke
Take picture of the entire screen Cmd-Shift-3

Take picture of a selected area Cmd-Shift-4 and Drag over an area

While dragging:
Hold Spacebar to move selected area.

Hold Shift to change size in one direction only (horizontal or


Hold Option for center-based resizing.

Take picture of a specic Cmd-Shift-4, then press Spacebar, then Click on the
window/object window/object

Hold Control with any of the above keystrokes to copy the screenshot to the clipboard instead
of making a le.


Action Keystroke

Show Spotlight Search Cmd-Space

Open Spotlight Finder Search Cmd-Option-Space


Launch Top Hit (in the Menu) Return

Reveal selected item in Finder In Spotlight Search: Press Cmd-Return

In Finder Window: Press Cmd-R

Skip to rst result in a category Cmd Up/Down Arrow

Look up the denition of a word Type the word in Spotlight menus search eld and hit CmdL to
look it up.

Clear Spotlight Search Esc clears to do another search.

Esc a second time closes Spotlight.
Mission Control

Action Keystroke

Enter Mission Control Ctrl-Up Arrow

Move to a neighboring space or Ctrl-Left or Right Arrow

full screen app

View Windows in the Ctrl-Down Arrow

Current App

Show Desktop F11 (may need to hold the fn buton on some keyboards)

Show Dashboard F12 (may need to hold the fn buton on some keyboards) or the
dedicated Dashboard key

Startup, Restart, Shutdown & Sleep

Action Keystroke

Eject CD on boot Hold Mouse button down immediately after powering on

Safe boot Hold Shift during startup

Start up in Recovery mode Hold Cmd-R during startup

Start up in Target Disk mode Hold T during startup

Startup from a CD, DVD Hold C during startup

Bypass primary startup volume and Hold Cmd-Opt-Shift-Delete during startup

seek a dierent startup volume (CD,

Choose Startup disk before booting Hold Option during startup

Start up in Verbose mode Hold Cmd-V during startup

Start up in Single-User mode Hold Cmd-S during startup

(command line)
Shutdown immediately (no Hold Cmd-Opt-Ctrl and press the Eject key or Power button

Restart immediately (no Cmd-Ctrl-Eject


Forced Restart (only do this when Cmd-Ctrl-Power button

absolutely needed)

Sleep immediately (no conrmation) Press the Power button (or hit Cmd-Opt-Eject)

Show Dialog with Restart, Sleep & Hold Ctrl and press the Eject key or Power button (or hold
Shutdown Options the Power button for a few seconds and the dialog will

Put display to sleep Hold Ctrl-Shift and press the Eject key or Power button


Action Keystroke

Highlight URL/Search Field (at top of window) CmdL

Switch to Next Tab Ctrl-Tab (or Cmd-Shift-Right Arrow)

Switch to Previous Tab Ctrl-Shift-Tab (or Cmd-Shift-Left Arrow)

Switch tabs: jump directly to the rst tab, Cmd-1 through Cmd-9
second tab, etc.
(If you change the preference, this will go to one
of the rst 9 bookmarks in the Bookmarks Bar.)

Move between found items Cmd-F, enter your search text and Press:
Return to Move Forward
Shift-Return to Move Backward

Cancel current Find Press Escape or Cmd-Period(.)

Scroll by one full screen Scroll Down: Spacebar or OptionDown Arrow

Scroll Up: ShiftSpacebar or Option-Up Arrow

Open Link in New Tab (in the background) CmdClick a link

Open Link in New Window CmdOptShift Click a link

Add to Reading List ShiftClick a link

Apple Mail

Action Keystroke

Send Message CmdShiftD (remember as D =


Reply to Message CmdR or OptDouble Click


Reply All CmdShiftR

Go to Inbox Cmd1

Go to other mailboxes in your favorites bar Cmd2, 3, etc.

Prevent the next message from being automatically selected & OptDelete
marked as read


Action Keystroke

Zoom In or Out Cmd-Plus(+) or Cmd-Minus(-)

Zoom to Actual Size Cmd-0

Zoom to Fit Cmd-9

Action Keystroke

Force Quit (displayed list of apps) Cmd-Opt-Esc

Scroll using a Trackpad (like a mouses scroll wheel) Slide 2 ngers on the trackpad

Right-click using a Trackpad (like on a 2 button Place 2 ngers on the trackpad and Click

Adjust the font size in Messages app Cmd-Plus(+) or Cmd-Minus(-)

Quickly nd any menu item and launch it.

1. Press Cmd-Shift-/ (which is Cmd-? on
the keyboard)

2. In the Help menu Search that opens,

start typing a few letters of your
desired menu command.

3. Arrow key down to the item you want

and press Return to choose it.

If an app re-opens with the windows that were open Hold Shift while launching an app
when you last quit it, you can tell it not to re-open
the windows.

Turn o notications (turn on Do Not Disturb) Option-click the Notication Center icon in
menu bar to toggle notications o/on

Change system volume in smaller increments Hold OptShift while changing volume

Change system volume with conrmation beeps Hold Shift while changing volume (prior to
Yosemite this would disable the beeps)

Turn display mirroring on/o (when connected to an CommandBrightness Down (F1)

additional display)

Completely smooth scrolling, one pixel at a time Hold Option while dragging scrollbar
(does not work in all apps)

Open Sound panel of System Preferences Press Option and a Sound key
(Mute, Volume Up or Down)

Open Displays panel of System Preferences Press Option and a Brightness key

Customize the toolbar at the top of a window. Works Cmd drag icons to rearrange.
in the Finder, Apple Mail, Preview, etc. but not some Cmd drag icon o toolbar to remove.
apps, like Firefox. Ctrl-click toolbar and choose Customize
for more options.

Move the Terminal cursor with the mouse Optionclick where youd like the cursor

Change Terminal Directory to a specic folder (cd Cmd-Drag a folder onto the Terminal
into the folder) Window

Emacs Key Bindings

Only work in some apps (Safari, Mail, TextEdit, etc.)

Action Keystroke Remember As

Go to start of line (move cursor to start of line) Ctrl-A A = Start of


Go to end of line (move cursor to end of line) Ctrl-E E = End

Go up one line Ctrl-P P = Previous

Go down one line Ctrl-N N = Next

Go back a character (move cursor left) Ctrl-B B = Back

Go forward a character (move cursor right) Ctrl-F F = Forward

Delete the character to the right of the cursor Ctrl-D D = Delete

Delete the character to the left of the cursor Ctrl-H

Delete the selection or to the end of the line (acts like cutting Ctrl-K K = Kill
the text)

Yank back the killed text (acts like pasting) Ctrl-Y Y = Yank

Scroll down Ctrl-V

Center the current line in the window Ctrl-L

Insert line break after the cursor without moving the cursor Ctrl-O

Transpose letters (swaps letters on left and right of cursor) Ctrl-T T = Transpose
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