Notes on Keyboard Shortcuts for the Mac. Oriented towards technical but not programmers.
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Notes on Keyboard Shortcuts for the Mac. Oriented towards technical but not programmers.

Using a Mac

The Mac has a standard set of keyboard shortcuts, that are generally consistent across all apps. Not only are they consistent across apps, but websites try to be consistent with those too. So a lot of the commands you learn for your Mac will work in Google Docs for example.

So let's start off by looking at the most useful key command of all time. Command + Shift + ?.


You can then start typing to find the menu item you want.


This also works in Google Docs! Though the command is a little different Option + /


Once you have that down, you can slowly memorize individual bits.

Window Management

We need to handle windows all the time, they show our stuff.

Command + w - Close window, or tab.
Command + Shift + w - Close all tabs.
Command + t - New Tab
Command + Shift + [ & ] - Switch between tabs. Not every app supports this.

Note that Command + w is not Quit, which is Command + q. This will close one window, or tab, whereas Quit, quits them all.

Text Management

Command + c - Copy
Command + v - Paste
Command + z - Undo
Command + Shift + z - Redo

Alt + Left / right - Jump between words.
Command + Left / Right - Jump to the ends of the line.
Command + Delete - Delete all the words till it hits the left edge.

Holding shift during those commands will expand the selection during that jump.

Operating System:

You have a few key commands that can do useful things in the Operating System, the most useful of this is the search command.

Command + Space - Spotlight Search, then up / down and enter to select.
Command + Tab - Application selector, I hold command and press left / right. You can tap Q on an app to close it from here.
Command + ` - Switch between windows in the current application

Taking a Screenshot

Pressing Command + Shift + 4 will turn your mouse into a crosshair. Clicking and dragging will take a screenshot of whatever is inside the rectangle that appears. If you are planning on taking a picture of a window, press Spacebar and it turns into a camera which highlights the window your mouse is over.

Document Management

Command + s - Save.

Searching inside an App

Command + e - Throw selected text into search.
Command + Shift + e - Throw selected text into replace.
Command + g - Find the next whatever, repeat to move to next.

Searching your Mac

If you want to open an app, or access a file, Spotlight is a great way to do it:

Press Command + Space:


You can then start typing:


Things to note:

  • You can use this for files
  • If you use this for an app, the most recent documents are in the right half. Press tab to jump to them.
  • I use this for the dictionary all the time

Other Keyboard Shortcuts: