OS X: Time Saving Keyboard Shortcuts

Do you work in a multi-OS environment? Are you a diehard PC fan whose business has switched over to Mac? While Mac OS X may seem a bit strange to some, there’s no need for it to be so, there are many excellent features that make using the OS easy. One of the features Mac OS X relies on heavily is keyboard shortcuts. Do you know how to use them, or what they do?

When you first switch to OS X it can take a while to figure out the shortcuts, or to even find out if there is a shortcut for what you need, not to mention the confusing symbols used to indicate key strokes. Here’s a list of the most common shortcuts.

If you’ve looked online for shortcuts, you have undoubtedly seen a number of potentially confusing symbols before the letter or number – these are actually keys to press. The most commonly used symbols are:

  • ⌘ Command. It’s found beside the spacebar on most Mac keyboards. If you’re using a keyboard that isn’t supplied by Apple, the Windows button should also work.
  • ∧ Control.
  • ⌥ Option. On Windows based keyboards, Alt will do the same thing.
  • ⇧ Shift.
  • FN Function. It’s found under F13 on most desktop keyboards, or in the bottom left of most laptop keyboards.

Finder Shortcuts
The Finder is Mac OS X’s file system. It includes your desktop and all the folders on it. If you’re unsure whether you’re on the Finder or not, look at the top left of your screen beside the Apple icon. It will say Finder if you’re on it.

  • ⌘+A Selects all files. To deselect simply left-click on empty space that’s not highlighted. To deselect one item simply hold ⌘ and click on the folder/file you don’t want to be selected.
  • ⌘+I Retrieves information on a folder or file including name, size, creation date, etc.
  • ⇧+⌘+N Creates a new folder in the window currently open. If you’re on the desktop, a new file will be created there.
  • ⇧+⌘+Q Logs out. If you want to log out without waiting press ⌥+⇧+⌘+Q.
  • ⌘+Delete If you press this after you’ve selected something, your selection will be moved to the trash. To empty the trash hit ⇧+⌘+Delete.
  • ⇧+⌘+A Opens the Applications folder

Shortcuts for Applications and General
These shortcuts will work in most applications, and will generally work on all other non-applications, including the Finder.

  • ⌘+C Copies your selection.
  • ⌘+Z Cuts your selection.
  • ⌘+V Pastes what you’ve just copied or cut.
  • ⌘+Z Undoes your last action.
  • ⌘+H Hides the program you currently have open. The program won’t close, it’ll just be hidden, and can be opened again by clicking on its icon in the dock.
  • ⌘+M Minimizes the window currently open.
  • ⌘+TAB You will cycle to the other applications you have open. If you hold down ⌘, while pressing TAB, you’ll see the icons for open programs.
  • ⇧+⌘+4 Selects a screenshot. When you press these keys, you’ll be able to drag and select a screenshot. You’ll hear a camera lens click when you let go indicating the picture has been taken, and the file will be on your desktop.
  • ⇧+⌘+3 Takes a screenshot of the whole screen.
  • ⌘+S Saves the document you have open.
  • ⌘+F Searches within the window currently open.
  • ⌥+⌘+ESCAPE Force quit. This is the same thing as Control + Alt + Delete on Windows.

These are the most useful keyboard shortcuts, but there are many more out there. If you would like to know more shortcuts, or more about the Mac OS X, please let us know – we’re happy to help.

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