Mac OS X Keyboard Shortcuts

  • 1
  • June 4, 2012
Products Associated: Mac OS X 10.2, Mac OS X 10.3, Mac OS X 10.4, Mac OS X 10.5, Mac OS X 10.6, OS X Lion

Did you know like Windows Mac OS has keyboard shortcuts that can help make the use of their system easier?

To use a keyboard shortcut, or key combination, you press a modifier key with a character key. For example, pressing the Command key (the key with a symbol) and the “c” key at the same time copies whatever is currently selected (text, graphics, and so forth) into the Clipboard. This is also known as the Command-C key combination (or keyboard shortcut).

A modifier key is a part of many key combinations. A modifier key alters the way other keystrokes or mouse clicks are interpreted by Mac OS X. Modifier keys include: Command, Control, Option, Shift, Caps Lock, and the fn key (if your keyboard has a fn key).

Here are the modifier key symbols you can see in Mac OS X menus:

Command key icon (Command key) – On some Apple keyboards, this key also has an Apple logo (apple<br /> logo)
Control key icon (Control key)
Option or Alt key icon (Option key) – “Alt” may also appear on this key
Shift icon (Shift key)
Caps lock icon (Caps Lock) – Toggles Caps Lock on or off
fn (Function key)

Start up keyboard shortcuts

Press the key or key combination until the expected function occurs/appears (for example, hold Option during start up until Startup Manager appears, or Shift until “Safe Boot” appears). Tip: If a startup function doesn’t work and you use a third-party keyboard, connect an Apple keyboard and try again.

Option Display all bootable volumes (Startup Manager)
Shift Perform Safe Boot (start up in Safe Mode)
C Start from bootable media (DVD, CD, USB thumb drive, and so forth)
T Start in FireWire target disk mode
N Start from NetBoot server
X Force Mac OS X startup (if non-Mac OS X startup volumes are present)
Command-V Start in Verbose Mode
Command-S Start in Single User Mode

Finder keyboard shortcuts

Command-A Select all items in the front Finder window (or desktop if no window is open)
Option-Command-A Deselect all items
Shift-Command-A Open the Applications folder
Command-C Copy selected item/text to the Clipboard
Shift-Command-C Open the Computer window
Command-D Duplicate selected item
Shift-Command-D Open desktop folder
Command-E Eject
Command-F Find any matching Spotlight attribute
Shift-Command-F Find Spotlight file name matches
Option-Command-F Navigate to the search field in an already-open Spotlight window
Shift-Command-G Go to Folder
Shift-Command-H Open the Home folder of the currently logged-in user account
Command-I Get Info
Option-Command-I Show Inspector
Control-Command-I Get Summary Info
Shift-Command-I Open iDisk
Command-J Show View Options
Command-K Connect to Server
Shift-Command-K Open Network window
Command-L Make alias of the selected item
Command-M Minimize window
Option-Command-M Minimize all windows
Command-N New Finder window
Shift-Command-N New folder
Option-Command-N New Smart Folder
Command-O Open selected item
Shift-Command-Q Log Out
Option-Shift-Command-Q Log Out immediately
Command-R Show original (of alias)
Command-T Add to Sidebar
Shift-Command-T Add to Favorites
Option-Command-T Hide Toolbar / Show Toolbar in Finder windows
Shift-Command-U Open Utilities folder
Command-V Paste
Command-W Close window
Option-Command-W Close all windows
Command-X Cut
Option-Command-Y Slideshow (Mac OS X 10.5 or later)
Command-Z Undo / Redo
Command-1 View as Icon
Command-2 View as List
Command-3 View as Columns
Command-4 View as Cover Flow (Mac OS X 10.5 or later)
Command-, (Command and the comma key) Open Finder preferences
Command-` (the Grave accent key–above Tab key on a US English keyboard layout) Cycle through open Finder windows
Command-Shift-? Open Mac Help
Option-Shift-Command-Esc (hold for three seconds) – Mac OS X v10.5, v10.6 or later only Force Quit front-most application
Command-[ Back
Command-] Forward
Command-Up Arrow Open enclosed folder
Control-Command-Up Arrow Open enclosed folder in a new window
Command-Down Arrow Open highlighted item
Command-Tab Switch application–cycle forward
Shift-Command-Tab Switch application–cycle backward
Command-Delete Move to Trash
Shift-Command-Delete Empty Trash
Option-Shift-Command-Delete Empty Trash without confirmation dialog
Spacebar (or Command-Y) Quick Look (Mac OS X 10.5 or later)
Command key while dragging Move dragged item to other volume/location (pointer icon changes while key is held)
Option key while dragging Copy dragged item (pointer icon changes while key is held)
Option-Command key combination while dragging Make alias of dragged item (pointer icon changes while key is held)

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