109 Mac keyboard shortcuts that’ll make your life easier

Macs are brilliantly advanced pieces of machinery, yet many users don't realize that pressing specific key combinations can make them even more efficient. Much like with Windows PCs, these keyboard shortcuts can dramatically reduce the amount of time spent performing manual actions.

Whether you're wondering how to copy and paste on a Mac or are searching for an advanced keystroke with which to impress your colleagues, keyboard shortcuts promise to make your life a little easier. This article explains what and where the relevant keys are, and lists a variety of actions and how to execute them. 

How to perform a Mac keyboard shortcut

To execute a keyboard shortcut, press and hold a modifier key or keys (see below) and then press the last key of the shortcut. For example, to copy by using the ‘Command + C’ shortcut, press and hold the Command key, then hit the C key. Once done, release both keys. 


Mac keyboard symbols

Mac menus and keyboards often use symbols for certain keys, including modifier keys:

  • Command/Cmd

  • Shift

  • Option (or, on a PC keyboard, Alt)

  • Control (or, on a PC keyboard, Ctrl)

  • Caps Lock

  • Fn/Function

 

How to search a page on a Mac

Our list is comprehensive, so the best way to find what you need is by using a shortcut that will allow you to find keywords on the page, and navigate to the relevant information. Hit Command and F together, and a small window will appear. Type the keyword of what you want to do into the window, for example, ‘copy’ or ‘paste’, and you’ll be shown every occurrence of that word. If there are multiple occurrences of the word you can navigate from one to another to find the relevant entry.


How to copy and paste on a Mac

The copy and paste shortcuts may soon become your favorite as it will likely come in handy most times you use your Mac:

  • Command + C (copy)

  • Command + V (paste)

How to select all on Mac

Making a text selection is easy with a mouse, but when you want to select everything on the page, there is a much simpler way that endless scrolling. Simply use this shortcut:

  • Command + A 

Desktop and system shortcuts

Go to the search field

Option + Command + F

Open the selected files or items, or open a dialog to select a file to open within a program

Command + O

Show app full screen (if supported by the program)

Control + Command + F

Switch to the next most recently used app among your open apps 

Command +Tab 

Take a screenshot or make a screen recording (in macOS Mojave)

Shift + Command + 5

Take a screenshot or make a screen recording (in earlier macOS versions)

Shift + Command-3 

or 

Shift + Command + 4 

Take a screenshot of a selected area

Command + Shift + 4 and drag over the area you want to screenshot. While dragging, hold Spacebar to move the selected area. Hold Shift to change the size in one direction only (horizontal or vertical). Hold Option for center-based resizing.

Take a screenshot of a specific window/object

Command + Shift + 4, then press Spacebar, then click on the window/object.

Take a screenshot of the touch bar

Command + Shift + 6

Create a new folder in the Finder

Shift+ Command + N

Open preferences for the program you’re using 

Command + Comma 

Turn on Zoom 

Option + Command + * (asterisk)

Zoom in 

Option + Command + + (plus)

Zoom out 

Option + Command + - (minus)

Hide the windows of the front app

Command + H

To view the front app but hide all other apps

Option + Command + H

Minimize the front window to the Dock

Command + M

Minimize all windows of the front app

Option + Command + M

 

Document shortcuts

The action of these shortcuts may vary depending on the program you're using.

 

Boldface the selected text (and un-boldface text if already bold)

Command +B

Italicize the selected text (and un-italicize text is already in italics)

Command + I

Add a weblink

Command + K

Underline the selected text, or turn to underline on or off

Command + U

Show or hide the Fonts window

Command + T

Select the Desktop folder from within an Open dialog or Save dialog

Command + D

Show or hide the definition of the selected word

Control + Command + D 

Display the Spelling and Grammar window

Shift + Command + Colon (:)

Find misspelled words in the document

Command + Semicolon (;)

Delete the word to the left of the insertion point (cursor)

Option + Delete

Delete the character to the left of the insertion point

Control + H 

or 

Delete

Delete the character to the right of the insertion point

Control + D

or

Fn + Delete

Forward delete on keyboards that don't have a Forward Delete key

Control + D

or

Fn + Delete

Delete the text between the insertion point and the end of the line or paragraph

Control + K

Page Up: Scroll up one page

Fn + Up Arrow

Page Down: Scroll down one page

Fn + Down Arrow

Scroll to the beginning of a document: ‘Home’

Fn + Left Arrow

Scroll to the end of a document: ‘End’

Fn + Right Arrow

Move the insertion point to the beginning of the document

Command + Up Arrow

Move the insertion point to the end of the document

Command + Down Arrow

Move the insertion point to the beginning of the current line

Command + Left Arrow

Move the insertion point to the end of the current line

Command + Right Arrow

Move the insertion point to the beginning of the previous word

Option + Left Arrow

Move the insertion point to the end of the next word

Option +Right Arrow

Select non-linear areas


Option + Drag

Select the text between the insertion point and the beginning of the document

Shift + Command + Up Arrow

Select the text between the insertion point and the end of the document

Shift + Command + Down Arrow 

Select the text between the insertion point and the beginning of the current line

Shift + Command + Left Arrow 

Select the text between the insertion point and the end of the current line

Shift + Command + Right Arrow

Extend text selection to the nearest character at the same horizontal location on the line above

Shift + Up Arrow

Extend text selection to the nearest character at the same horizontal location on the line below

Shift + Down Arrow

 

Extend text selection one character to the left

Shift + Left Arrow

Extend text selection one character to the right

Shift + Right Arrow

Extend text selection to the beginning of the current paragraph (press again to extend to the beginning of the following paragraph)

Option + Shift + Up Arrow

 

Extend text selection to the end of the current paragraph (press again to extend to the beginning of the following paragraph)

Option + Shift + Down Arrow

 

Extend text selection to the beginning of the current word (press again to extend to the beginning of the following word)

Option + Shift + Left Arrow

 

Extend text selection to the end of the current word (press again to get to the of the following word)

Option + Shift + Right Arrow

 

Move the cursor to the beginning of the line or paragraph

Control + A

Move the cursor to the end of a line or paragraph

Control + E

Move cursor one character forward

Control + F

Move cursor one character backward

Control + B

Centre the cursor or selection in the visible area

Control + L

Move up one line

Control + P

Move down one line

Control + N

Insert a new line after the insertion point

Control + O

Swap the character behind the insertion point with the character in front of the insertion point

Control + T

Left align

Command + Left Curly Bracket ({)

Right align

Command + Right Curly Bracket (})

Centre align

Shift + Command + Vertical bar (|)

Show or hide a toolbar in the app

Option + Command + T

Copy style/formatting

Option + Command + C

Paste style/formatting

Option + Command + V

Paste and match style: apply the style of the surrounding content to the item pasted within that content

Option + Shift + Command + V 

Show or hide the inspector window

Option + Command + I

Page setup: display window for selecting document settings

Shift + Command + P

Display the Save As dialog, or duplicate the current document

Shift + Command + S

Decrease the size of the selected item

Shift + Command + Minus sign (-)

Increase the size of the selected item

Shift + Command + Plus sign (+)

Open the Help menu

Shift + Command + Question mark (?)

Autocomplete a word

Start typing the word. Press Option + Esc (or F5) to open suggested word list

Print the current document

Command + P

Save the current document

Command + S

Open a new tab

Command + T

Close the current window you’re working in

Command + W

Close all windows of the app

Option + Command + W

Force quit an app

Option + Command + Esc

Show or hide the Spotlight search field

Command + Space bar

Perform a Spotlight search from a Finder window

Command + Option + Space bar

Show the Character Viewer, from which you can choose emojis and other symbols

Control +Command + Space bar 

 

Find next. Find the next occurrence of the item being searched for

Command + G 

 

Find previous. Find the previous occurrence

Shift +Command + G

Undo the previous command

Command + Z

Redo the previous action you undid

Shift + Command + Z

Cut the selected item AND copy it to the clipboard

Command + X

Copy the selected item to the Clipboard

Command + C

Paste the contents of the Clipboard into the current document, folder or app.

Command + V

Select all (everything on a page or in a folder)

Command + A

Search for a word on a page on a Mac (web or other documents)

Command + F

Shut down and log out shortcuts

For some of these shortcuts, you may need to press and hold the keys for slightly longer than other shortcuts. This is so that people can avoid using them unintentionally.

 

Put your Mac to sleep

Option + Command + Power button 

or 

Option + Command + Media Eject 

Put your display to sleep

Control + Shift + Power button 

or 

Control + Shift + Media Eject 

Display ‘restart, sleep, or shut down’ options

Control + Power button 

or 

Control + Media Eject 

Force your Mac to restart without prompting to save any open/unsaved documents

Control + Command + Power button

Force your Mac to restart BUT be prompted to save documents that have unsaved changes

Control + Command + Media Eject 

Log out of your macOS user account including a request to confirm

Shift + Command + Q

Log out immediately without confirming

Option + Shift + Command + Q

Force quit an app (This will close whatever app is currently active, or foremost. Make sure it’s the right one!)

Option + Command + Shift + Esc

Force quit all apps

Option + Command + Esc

(Select which apps you want to force quit on the menu that pops up)

How do I create my own shortcut on a Mac?

While many shortcuts already exist, it is possible to set up your own for specific actions to help speed up processes you do often. To set up your own shortcut, follow the process below: 

  1. On your Mac, 

    1. Open the Apple menu bar

    2. Choose ‘System Preferences’

    3. Click ‘Keyboard’

    4. Click ‘Shortcuts’.

  2. Select an item in the left pane then, in the right pane, select the tick-box beside the shortcut that you want to change.

  3. Double-click the current key combination, then press the NEW key combination that you want to use.

  4. Once complete, quit and restart any programs or apps. This will activate your keyboard shortcuts.

 We hope that helps! If you have any comments, please tweet us. We're @Piriform.

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