Mac shortcuts: the most important keyboard combinations for Apple computers

Anyone who works with a Mac on a daily basis would like to perform routine tasks as quickly as possible. Using the mouse cursor to navigate to the right buttons interrupts the workflow and takes precious time. For this reason, Apple offers a range of Mac keyboard shortcuts to make working with an iMac or MacBook more efficient. It’s worthwhile to take a look at the macOS shortcuts available.

For recurring tasks, it’s a good idea to memorise Mac shortcuts which make it much easier and more efficient to work on a computer. Although the trackpad of Apple notebooks performs excellently, MacBook shortcuts can be a really helpful tool for users.

Consistent shortcuts in any program

Since Apple has provided guidelines for the use of programs, many of the Mac shortcuts work irrespective of the program you use. The main Mac keyboard commands for documents are identical, no matter whether you’re working in Word, Pages, or Notes. So it’s all the more advisable to memorise these practical macOS shortcuts.

Using Mac shortcuts

To use a Mac keyboard shortcut, you need to keep at least one of the special keys pressed down in combination with the relevant keys. Key combinations are always performed with Macs as follows:

  • Press and hold down the special key
  • Press and hold down the second and third special key, where necessary
  • Press and release the last key of the Mac shortcut – the command will then be executed

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Mac shortcut cheat sheet

The following table lists the most useful keyboard shortcuts. As you know, Apple uses a number of special symbols for specific keys on Mac keyboards. These are:

  • Command key (or Cmd key): ⌘
  • Shift key: ⇧
  • Option key (or Alt key): ⌥
  • Control key (or Ctrl key): ⌃
  • Caps lock key: ⇪
  • Function key: (fn)

General Mac shortcuts

Key combination Action
⌘+ C Copy
⌘+ V Insert
⌘+ A Select all
⌘+ X Cut
⌘+ S Save
⌘+ Z Back/undo
⌘+ Q End program
⌘+ F Search
fn + return Remove

Mac keyboard shortcuts for Finder

Key combination Action
Enter Rename selected file
⌥ + ⌘+ T Display Finder toolbar
⌘+ N New window
⌘+ Shift + N New folder
⌘+ O Open file or folder
⌘+ D Copy
⌘+ I Open file information
⌘+ L Create link
⌘+ 1 Symbol view
⌘+ 2 List view
⌘+ 3 Column view
⌘+ 4 Cover-flow view
⌘+ W Close window
⌘+ M Minimise window

Mac keyboard shortcuts for sleep mode, log out, and shut down

Key combination Action
⌃ + ⌘+ Q Lock screen immediately
⇧ + ⌘+ Q Log off
⌥ + ⌘+ Eject Sleep mode
⌘+ ⌃ + Eject Restart
⌥ + ⌘+ ⌃ + Eject Shut down
⌃ + ⇧ + Eject Turn off display

macOS shortcuts for documents

Key combination Action
⌘+ Right arrow Go to the end of the line
⌘+ Left arrow Go to the start of the line
⌘+ Upwards arrow Go to the start of the document
⌘+ Downwards arrow Go to the end of the document
⌥ + Right arrow Go forwards one word
⌥ + Left arrow Go back one word
⌥ + Upwards arrow Go back one paragraph
⌥ + Downwards arrow Go down one paragraph
fn + Upwards arrow Go to the previous page
fn + Downwards arrow Go to the next page
fn + Left arrow Go to the start of the document
fn + Right arrow Go to the end of the document
⌘+ B Format the selected text in bold
⌘+ U Underline the selected text
⌘+ I Format the selected text in italics

Mac shortcuts for screenshots

Key combination Action
⌘+ ⇧ + 3 Screenshot of the entire screen
⌘+ ⇧ + 4 Screenshot of the selected area
⌘+ ⇧ + 4 then Space Screenshot of a selected window

Mac keyboard shortcuts for Safari

Key combination Action
⌘+ T Open a new tab
⌘+ N Open a new window
⌘+ W Close the current tab
⌘+ ⇧ + Left arrow Go to the previous tab
⌘+ ⇧ + Right arrow Go to the next tab

Mac shortcuts for the complete system

Key combination Action
⌘+ Tab Switch between active applications
⌘+ < Switch between windows in an application
⌘+ Q End program
⌥ + ⌘+ Escape Open the window “End program immediately”
F3 Display all active windows
⌘+ F3 Display desktop
⌘+ Space Spotlight search

Mac shortcuts for preview

Key combination Action
⌘+ L Rotate document anti-clockwise
⌘+ R Rotate document clockwise
⌘+ + Enlarge document
⌘+ - Reduce document
⌘+ 0 View in original size
⌘+ ⇧ + A Toggle the display of comment tools
Tip

Find out how to split a screen on Mac in our handy how to article! 


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