Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

// Finder

Action Keystroke
Open Sidebar item in a new Tab or Window (depending on Finder Preferences) Cmd-Click
Switch Finder views
(Icon, List, Column, Cover Flow)
Cmd-1, Cmd-2, Cmd-3, Cmd-4
In List view, expand a folder Right Arrow
In List view, collapse a folder Left Arrow
Rename the selected file/folder Press Return (or Enter)
Go into selected folder or open the selected file Cmd-Down Arrow
Go to parent folder Cmd-Up Arrow
Go Back Cmd-[
Go Forward Cmd-]
Select the next icon in Icon and List views Tab (Shift-Tab reverses direction)
Alternate columns in Column View Tab (Shift-Tab reverses direction)
Resize one column to fit the longest file name (Column View) Double-Click column divider (or the resize widget at the bottom of the column divider, depending on your setup)
Resize all columns to fit their longest file names (Column View) Option Double-Click column divider (or the resize widget at the bottom of the column divider, depending on your setup)
Copy and Paste files Cmd-C, then Cmd-V
Copy and Paste files Exactly (Keeps original ownership & permissions. Requires Admin username & password.) Cmd-C, then Cmd-Option-Shift-V
Cut and Paste files (Move files) Cmd-C, then Cmd-Option–V
Move a file instead of copying (Copies to the destination and removes it from the original disk.) Cmd-Drag file to disk
Immediately Delete a File (does not put file in Trash) Cmd-Opt–Delete
Move selected files to the Trash (called the Recycle Bin in Windows) Cmd-Delete
Empty the Trash with warning (like emptying Recycle Bin in Windows) Cmd-Shift-Delete
Empty the Trash with no warning (like emptying Recycle Bin in Windows) Cmd-Opt-Shift-Delete
Cancel a drag-n-drop action while in the midst of dragging Esc
Show Inspector (a single, live refreshing Info window) Cmd-Opt-I
Undo the last action (such as rename file, copy file, etc.) Cmd-Z
Hide/Show Sidebar (on the left) Cmd-Opt-S
Hide/Show Toolbar (on the top) and the Sidebar Cmd-Opt-T
Move or Remove item in toolbar (at the top of the window). Works in most programs. Cmd-Drag
Open Quick Look (Previews most types of files without having to open them) Press the Spacebar (or Cmd-Y). On a trackpad can also tap with 3 fingers.
Zoom In/Out in Quick Look (Images & PDFs) Pinch on a trackpad or hold Opt while scrolling. For images, hold Option to zoom to 100%.
Find Files Cmd-F

App Switcher

Action Keystroke
Quickly switch between 2 apps (like Safari & Finder) Press Cmd-Tab to switch to last used app.
Press Cmd-Tab again to switch back.
Switch between apps Press Cmd-Tab & continue holding Cmd. While holding Cmd, to choose which app you want to switch to:

  • press Tab (multiple times as needed) to scroll right
  • press Tilde(~) or Shift-Tab to scroll left
  • press Left/Right Arrow keys
  • aim with the mouse
  • press End/Home key to go to first/last app
Quit an app in the app switcher In the app switcher, you’re already holding Cmd, so hit Q to quit selected app.
Hide an app in the app switcher In the app switcher, you’re already holding Cmd, so hit H to hide selected app.
Cancel the app switcher In the app switcher, you’re already holding Cmd, so hit Esc or period(.)

Managing Windows & Dialogs

Action Keystroke
Switch to next window Cmd-Tilde(~)
Switch to previous window Cmd-Shift-Tilde(~)
See where the File/Folder is located (a menu will pop-up displaying the folder hierarchy). Works in most programs, including the Finder. Cmd-Click on name of the window (in the titlebar)
Move a window in the background without switching to it. Cmd-Drag on the window’s titlebar
Choose “Don’t Save” in a Dialog Cmd-D in some apps, but other apps use Cmd-Delete (Cmd-D will change the location to the Desktop)


Action Keystroke
Hide all other applications (except the one you’re clicking on) Command-Option click an App’s icon in Dock
Reveal a Dock item’s location in the Finder Command Click on the icon in the Dock
Force a file to open in a specific app While dragging the file onto an app’s icon in the Dock, hold Command-Option
In an App’s Dock menu change the Quit to Force Quit (Click & hold on an App in the Dock to show the menu) Hold Option while in Dock menu
Move Dock to left, bottom, right side of screen Hold Shift and drag Dock divider
Change the icon size of a stack (must be the grid view) Cmd-plus(+) or Cmd-minus(–)
Temporarily turn magnification on/off Hold Control-Shift
Force the Dock to only resize to non-interpolated icon sizes Hold Option while dragging Dock separator


Action Keystroke
Close a widget without having to open the widget dock Hold Option and hover over widget (close box will appear)
Reload/Refresh a widget Cmd-R

Working with Text Only work in some apps (Safari, Mail, TextEdit, etc.)

Action Keystroke
Go to end of line Cmd-right arrow
Go to beginning of line Cmd-left arrow
Go to end of all the text Cmd-down arrow
Go to beginning of all the text Cmd-up arrow
Go to end of current or next word Option-right arrow
Go to beginning of current or previous word Option-left arrow
Add Shift to the above keystrokes to make a selection to that point.
On Laptops: Delete Text to the right of the cursor (like the Del key on a full keyboard) Function(fn)-Delete
Non-touching (Discontinuous) text selections Command-drag
Select non-linear areas Option-drag
Delete entire word to the left Opt-Delete
Paste and Match Style (so it looks the same as the text you are pasting into) Cmd–Opt-Shift–V
Look up word in dictionary Mouse over a word and hit Cmd-Ctrl-D (Or on a trackpad use 3 fingers to tap on a word)
Display Emoji pop-up Command-Control-Space (You can then start typing to search the list of Emojis)
Display Special/Alternate Characters Hold any key. Example: Holding the “A” key will display à á â etc. You can press the corresponding number under the character you want to type to choose it (or arrow over to it).
Auto completion word Start typing the word. Press Esc (or F5) to open suggested word list
Switch to Outline Mode in TextEdit
  • Press Option-Tab to convert the current line into a list item
  • Press Return to create another list item
  • Press Tab at the start of a blank list item to indent it, creating a sublist
  • Press Shift-Tab to remove a level of indention
  • Press Return twice to decrease the indent, exiting the current sublist/list

Screenshots Saved to the Desktop as a PNG file.

Action Keystroke
Take picture of the entire screen Cmd-Shift-3
Take picture of a selected area Cmd-Shift-4 and Drag over an area
While dragging:

  • Hold Spacebar to move selected area.
  • Hold Shift to change size in one direction only (horizontal or vertical)
  • Hold Option for center-based resizing.
Take picture of a specific window/object Cmd-Shift-4, then press Spacebar, then Click on the window/object
Hold Control with any of the above keystrokes to copy the screenshot to the clipboard instead of making a file.


Action Keystroke
Show Spotlight Search Cmd-Space
Open Spotlight Finder Search Window Cmd-Option-Space
Launch Top Hit (in the Menu) Return
Reveal selected item in Finder In Spotlight Search: Press Cmd-Return
In Finder Window: Press Cmd-R
Skip to first result in a category Cmd Up/Down Arrow
Look up the definition of a word Type the word in Spotlight menu’s search field and hit Cmd–L to look it up.
Clear Spotlight Search Esc clears to do another search.
Esc a second time closes Spotlight.

Mission Control

Action Keystroke
Enter Mission Control Ctrl-Up Arrow
Move to a neighboring space or full screen app Ctrl-Left or Right Arrow
View Windows in the Current App Ctrl-Down Arrow
Show Desktop F11 (may need to hold the fn buton on some keyboards)
Show Dashboard F12 (may need to hold the fn buton on some keyboards) or the dedicated Dashboard key

Startup, Restart, Shutdown & Sleep

Action Keystroke
Eject CD on boot Hold Mouse button down immediately after powering on
Safe boot Hold Shift during startup
Start up in Recovery mode Hold Cmd-R during startup
Start up in Target Disk mode Hold T during startup
Startup from a CD, DVD Hold C during startup
Bypass primary startup volume and seek a different startup volume (CD, etc.) Hold Cmd-Opt-Shift-Delete during startup
Choose Startup disk before booting Hold Option during startup
Start up in Verbose mode Hold Cmd-V during startup
Start up in Single-User mode (command line) Hold Cmd-S during startup
Shutdown immediately (no confirmation) Hold Cmd-Opt-Ctrl and press the Eject key or Power button
Restart immediately (no confirmation) Cmd-Ctrl-Eject
Forced Restart (only do this when absolutely needed) Cmd-Ctrl-Power button
Sleep immediately (no confirmation) Press the Power button (or hit Cmd-Opt-Eject)
Show Dialog with Restart, Sleep & Shutdown Options Hold Ctrl and press the Eject key or Power button (or hold the Power button for a few seconds and the dialog will appear)
Put display to sleep Hold Ctrl-Shift and press the Eject key or Power button


Action Keystroke
Highlight URL/Search Field (at top of window) Cmd–L
Switch to Next Tab Ctrl-Tab (or Cmd-Shift-Right Arrow)
Switch to Previous Tab Ctrl-Shift-Tab (or Cmd-Shift-Left Arrow)
Switch tabs: jump directly to the first tab, second tab, etc.
(If you change the preference, this will go to one of the first 9 bookmarks in the Bookmarks Bar.)
Cmd-1 through Cmd-9
Move between found items Cmd-F, enter your search text and Press:
Return to Move Forward
Shift-Return to Move Backward
Cancel current Find Press Escape or Cmd-Period(.)
Scroll by one full screen Scroll Down: Spacebar or Option–Down Arrow
Scroll Up: Shift–Spacebar or Option-Up Arrow
Open Link in New Tab (in the background) Cmd–Click a link
Open Link in New Window Cmd–Opt–Shift Click a link
Add to Reading List Shift–Click a link

Apple Mail

Action Keystroke
Send Message Cmd–Shift–D (remember as D = Deliver)
Reply to Message Cmd–R or Opt–Double Click Message
Reply All Cmd–Shift–R
Go to Inbox Cmd–1
Go to other mailboxes in your favorites bar Cmd–2, 3, etc.
Prevent the next message from being automatically selected & marked as read Opt–Delete


Action Keystroke
Zoom In or Out Cmd-Plus(+) or Cmd-Minus(-)
Zoom to Actual Size Cmd-0
Zoom to Fit Cmd-9


Action Keystroke
Force Quit (displayed list of apps) Cmd-Opt-Esc
Scroll using a Trackpad (like a mouse’s scroll wheel) Slide 2 fingers on the trackpad
Right-click using a Trackpad (like on a 2 button mouse) Place 2 fingers on the trackpad and Click
Adjust the font size in Messages app Cmd-Plus(+) or Cmd-Minus(-)
Quickly find any menu item and launch it.
  1. Press Cmd-Shift-/ (which is Cmd-? on the keyboard)
  2. In the Help menu Search that opens, start typing a few letters of your desired menu command.
  3. Arrow key down to the item you want and press Return to choose it.
If an app re-opens with the windows that were open when you last quit it, you can tell it not to re-open the windows. Hold Shift while launching an app
Turn off notifications (turn on Do Not Disturb) Option-click the Notification Center icon in menu bar to toggle notifications off/on
Change system volume in smaller increments Hold Opt–Shift while changing volume
Change system volume with confirmation beeps Hold Shift while changing volume (prior to Yosemite this would disable the beeps)
Turn display mirroring on/off (when connected to an additional display) Command–Brightness Down (F1)
Completely smooth scrolling, one pixel at a time (does not work in all apps) Hold Option while dragging scrollbar
Open “Sound” panel of System Preferences Press Option and a Sound key (Mute, Volume Up or Down)
Open “Displays” panel of System Preferences Press Option and a Brightness key
Customize the toolbar at the top of a window. Works in the Finder, Apple Mail, Preview, etc. but not some apps, like Firefox.
  • Cmd drag icons to rearrange.
  • Cmd drag icon off toolbar to remove.
  • Ctrl-click toolbar and choose Customize for more options.
Move the Terminal cursor with the mouse Option–click where you’d like the cursor
Change Terminal Directory to a specific folder (cd into the folder) Cmd-Drag a folder onto the Terminal Window

Emacs Key Bindings Only work in some apps (Safari, Mail, TextEdit, etc.)

Action Keystroke Remember As
Go to start of line (move cursor to start of line) Ctrl-A A = Start of alphabet
Go to end of line (move cursor to end of line) Ctrl-E E = End
Go up one line Ctrl-P P = Previous
Go down one line Ctrl-N N = Next
Go back a character (move cursor left) Ctrl-B B = Back
Go forward a character (move cursor right) Ctrl-F F = Forward
Delete the character to the right of the cursor Ctrl-D D = Delete
Delete the character to the left of the cursor Ctrl-H
Delete the selection or to the end of the line (acts like cutting the text) Ctrl-K K = Kill
Yank back the killed text (acts like pasting) Ctrl-Y Y = Yank
Scroll down Ctrl-V
Center the current line in the window Ctrl-L
Insert line break after the cursor without moving the cursor Ctrl-O
Transpose letters (swaps letters on left and right of cursor) Ctrl-T T = Transpose