8 useful keyboard shortcuts on OS X

Apple is the top choice for users who want to be more productive and productive, and for good reason. After all, macOS is packed with keyboard shortcuts that make working easier. Combine those Mac OS X shortcuts with the rest of macOS’s productivity features, and you’ll soon be able to navigate your system faster than ever with your mouse.

However, there are so many keyboard shortcuts that it can be difficult to figure out which is the most effective. The following eight keyboard shortcuts are some of the most useful for users and are a great place to start.

These shortcuts work with all keyboard layouts, but their intended effect is designed for use with QWERTY keyboards. Users of DVORAK and others may not find these shortcuts quite useful, but it’s still a good idea to keep them in mind.

Search for focus (Command + Space)

When it comes to quickly searching your entire Mac for a specific file (or even information from the internet), nothing beats Spotlight. It’s great even for a quick definition lookup.

You can manually drag Spotlight by clicking the magnifying glass icon in the top-right corner of the menu bar, but a quicker option is to press Command first, then the Space Bar. This will open Spotlight and let you immediately start typing in the search bar.

Quick Save (Command + S)

Save icon

Nothing strikes a user’s heart with fear quite like data loss. Everyone has heard horror stories about programs crashing and entire projects being lost, all because someone forgot to click Save.

The truth is, there’s no reason to forget to save whatever you’re working on. Saving quickly is such an easy task to do that you should make it second nature. Just press Command and S at the same time to save the file. The first time you use this shortcut on a new file, you’ll be prompted to name the file — but every time your file is saved.

Force quit (Command + Option + Esc)

Force quit windows application

Everyone knows that Command + Q is the fastest way to close an application, but sometimes the application freezes. When this happens, press Command, Option, and Esc at the same time to force quit the program.

The difference between the two is that the normal “Quit” command gives the program a chance to properly shut down its operations, while the “Force Quit” command essentially crashes the program and forces it to close. Force quit should only be used when a program will not shut down normally.

Recycle Bin (Command + Delete)

Trash icon

If you need to quickly move files to the Trash, you don’t need to click and drag. You select that file (or all the files you want) and press Command + Delete. Files will be immediately moved to the Recycle Bin, but will not be deleted immediately.

Files stay in the Recycle Bin for a long time and continue to take up space in your memory. After you delete an item, press the Command + Shift + Delete Mac OS X keyboard shortcut to empty the recycle bin and free up that storage.

Switch Windows (Command + Tab)

Keyboard images

Even with macOS’ ability to put two windows side by side, there are situations when you need to switch between windows. While swiping gestures on the trackpad can make this easier for you, Command + Tab lets you move between the two most recent windows instantly.

Just touch two keys simultaneously to make the swap. If you need to navigate between other windows, press and hold Command and then press Tab. You can navigate between any currently open apps without touching the mouse.

Cut, Copy, and Paste (Command + X or C, Command + V)

Pictures of Ctr V

These are three shortcuts rolled into one, but they’re used together often so shouldn’t make much of a difference. You should never Highlight something and then copy it using the mouse. It wastes too much time that could be better spent on other tasks.

Instead, select the text you need to copy and then press Command + C to bring it to the clipboard. If you want to delete that text and move it somewhere else, you can cut it using Command + X. To paste, all you need to do is position your cursor in the appropriate position. and press Command+V.

Let a few of these shortcuts become second nature to you and you’ll get things done faster than ever.

Select All (Command + A)

Sometimes you need to select everything currently on the screen. You may need to copy and paste a full document into another, or you may be moving files around inside folders.

Whatever the reason, you don’t have to click and drag to select everything. Just press Command + A to select and highlight everything in your current space.

Undo (Command + Z)

Undo icon

It’s easy to make mistakes when working on a project, especially if you’re implementing some of these shortcuts and you still don’t understand them well. If you make a mistake, don’t worry — just press Command + Z to undo the last action you took.

It’s a lifesaver if you accidentally delete something (like your entire document using the “Select All” shortcut, for example). You can keep using this Mac OS X keyboard shortcut over and over. to undo your previous actions as long as the app allows.

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