Useful Keyboard Shortcuts in OS X

12 years ago in How do I? by Brent | 53 Comments

One of the biggest differences between PC & Mac is how the user interacts with the operating system. Where Windows is geared heavily towards a mouse driven OS, Mac is really built around the keyboard. Most Mac software has just about every menu function mapped to some sort of keyboard combination. Here at, I will post some of the more popular keyboard shortcut maps that I can find or take the time to compose. Hopefully you will find these helpful in your quest to assimilate your shiny new Mac. Here’s a list of keystrokes to help you get around in OS X. This list is put together by someone named cynikal. I found it here.

Application switching keystrokes

  • opt+click on icon (of running app) in dock = hide app in front of app clicked on dock
  • opt+click inside app window = hide app in front of app click on
  • opt+cmd+click on dock icon = hide all other apps
  • opt+cmd+click inside app window = hide all other apps

Dialog specific keystrokes

  • cmd+d (in open dialog) = open desktop
  • cmd+d (in save/discard/cancel dialog) = discard

Mac controlling keystrokes

  • cmd+e = eject media (only useful during/after start up chime)
  • cmd+opt+eject = sleep
  • cmd+ctrl+eject = graceful restart
  • cmd+opt+ctrl+eject = graceful shutdown
  • cmd+ctrl+power = immediate restart (dangerous, should only be used if your system is frozen though we know how rare that is)

Navigational keystrokes

  • opt+scrollbar = jump to exact scrollbar location
  • opt+scrollbar arrows = scroll page at a time (page up/down)

Window manipulation keystrokes

  • cmd+expose command = slow motion expose
  • shift+minimize button = slow motion minimize (works in un-minimize direction too)
  • opt+minimize button = minimize all windows (of current app)
  • opt+close button = closes all windows (of current app)
  • cmd+drag on title bar = move any window around without changing focus to it first

General, yet essential app keystrokes

  • cmd+q = quit
  • cmd+o = open file
  • cmd+i = get info (on current selected object/file/dir)
  • cmd+n = new window/document
  • cmd+s = save
  • cmd+m = minimize
  • cmd+h = hide app (ctrl+cmd+h in photoshop since cmd+h is reserved)
  • cmd+opt+h = hide OTHER apps (useful to show desktop if you cmd+tab to finder first – thanks go to Zeca Moraes)

App switching keystrokes

  • cmd+tab = toggle back to previous app
  • cmd+tab then q (while still holding cmd) = close other app (w/o switching to it)
  • cmd+tab then h (while still holding cmd) = hide other app (w/o switching to it)

Screen shots

  • cmd+shift+3 = take a screenshot (at any time) of the entire screen
  • cmd+shift+4 = draw selection for a screenshot

Finder specific keystrokes

  • cmd+down = open
  • cmd+up = up to parent dir (cd ..)
  • cmd+double-click folder icon = open in new window
  • opt+drag file/folder = explicit copy (when it may possibly move instead if destation and source are on same volume)
  • cmd+drag file/folder = explicit move (when it may possibly move instead if destation and source are on different volume)
  • cmd+opt+drag file/folder = create link
  • cmd+i = get info (on current selected object/file/dir)
  • cmd+shift+A = open Application Folder
  • cmd+shift+U = open Utility Folder
  • cmd+shift+H = open Home Folder
  • cmd+shift+G = go to DIR (in tiger, in a dialog box, beginning a filename with a / does the same)
  • cmd+shift+N = create new folder and name it something
  • cmd+shift+K = go to network
  • cmd+k = connect to server (tiger now has servers in recent items menu in apple menu)
  • cmd+~ = cycle window (including desktop)

Dock specific keystrokes

  • cmd+drag (to/through dock) = keeps icons on dock from moving “out of the way” (useful for when dragging stuff to trash)
  • cmd+opt+d = hide/show dock (should work while in any app)

Terminal specific keystroke

  • cmd+double-click on a URL in Terminal = url grab / open in default browser
  • cmd+opt+shift+s = save selected text
  • cmd+left/right arrow = switch windows
  • cmd+1 or 2 or 3.. = switch to 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc window

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