The best Mac keyboard shortcuts to learn

The engineering behind each of Apple’s touchpads makes them some of the best on the market today. A quick swipe can move the pointer wherever you need it, while gestures provide an unprecedented level of control over windows, apps, and more.

Users could be forgiven for thinking that a smooth trackpad is all they need, but there are keyboard shortcuts that can completely change your experience with macOS.

Many people have the misconception that keyboard shortcuts are only for “expert users” — that is, normal macOS users can’t use keyboard shortcuts or don’t use them at all. Really bad. The following keyboard shortcuts are the absolute most useful macOS keyboard shortcuts that you need to keep in mind. Knowing these keyboard shortcuts will help you in every aspect of your macOS experience.

Close Windows & Quit Applications with Command + Q

The red “X” in the upper-left corner of any macOS app indicates that it should close the program, but it doesn’t. It just closes the window. If you want to close the window and the program at the same time, you need to press Command + Q. The Command key, also known as the Apple key, is found to the right and left of the spacebar on most Apple keyboards.

Command + Q is highlighted in the About menu

This is easy to remember if you forget — just select an app from the menu bar at the top left and you’ll see a shortcut show up next to the “Quit” option.

Switch between Windows and apps with Command + Tab

If you don’t use software to split your screen into segments (or you need fullscreen functionality from one application) and still need to check something in another window, you can quickly convert between them with Command + Tab. This shortcut moves from your current window to the last, most recently used window.

Command + Tab . screen

A quick press of the combination will swap between windows, but if you press and hold Command + Tab, a series of icons representing all open applications will appear. Pressing Tab will scroll between them. Select the window you want to open and release the Command key to open it.

Force quit frozen & unresponsive apps using Command + Option + Esc

Sometimes apps will get locked or frozen for various reasons. If this happens you can right click the app on your taskbar or you can press the shortcut Command + Option + Esc.

Force quit windows application

This will display a list of active programs. Select the unresponsive one and choose to force quit it.

Draw attention with Command + Space

The built-in Spotlight search on macOS is one of the most useful tools the platform has to offer. You can bring it up quickly by pressing Command + Space.

Spotlight search window

Search will appear on the screen and you can start typing your request without having to take your hands off the keyboard. Spotlight will search your files, emails, messages, and the web for any mentions of your search term.

Quickly save work with Command + WILL

Most people have experienced the ultimate fear of a sudden crash when your document has not been saved. No need to touch the floppy icon every time you want to save your work; Just press Command + WILL to save your file.

Command + S highlighted in File Menu

It’s instant and takes no time; in fact, you can make it part of your workflow. End a sentence and press Command + S. If you save a file that you haven’t saved before, a prompt will appear for you to select a destination and give it a filename.

Select everything on the screen or in the document with Command + A

If you need to select every file in a folder to delete or you need to copy and paste the entire document, press Command + A. This will select all text or files on the screen. You will know because the selected sections will be highlighted

Text selected with Command + A

If you need to quickly copy and paste, just press Command + and Command + DRAW.

Bypass Trash & Permanently Delete Files with Command + Delete

Sometimes you just need to delete a file that you know you’ll never use again. Maybe you captured the wrong part of the screen, or it was something that was accidentally saved due to an uncontrolled habit of pressing Command + S repeatedly.

Trash window

Whatever the reason, you can avoid filling up your computer’s memory and permanently deleting the file by selecting it and pressing Command + Delete. Be warned, however – there’s no action on this back.

Take a screenshot with Command + Shift + 3

You can take a picture of your entire screen by tapping Command + Shift + 3but you can also take a screenshot of a specific part of the screen with Command + Shift + 4.

Doing this will turn your cursor into a crosshair. Click and hold the pointer to select the part of the screen you want to capture, then release the pointer to take the picture.

Screenshot window

You can also hit Command + Shift + 5 to display a list of sub-options for taking screenshots, such as Capture the entire screen and Capture the selected part. Command + Shift + 5 also has the ability to record the screen on some Mac computers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.