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Mac OS X Keyboard Shortcuts

Keystrokes to Action | Action to Keystrokes


The "Command" key is immediately to the left and right of the spacebar on the Mac keyboard above.
Symbol Key on Keyboard
Key on Keyboard
img   Command/Apple key (like Control on a PC) img   Delete
img   Option (like Alt on a PC) img   Escape
img   Shift img   Page Up
img   Control (Control-click = Right-click) img   Page Down
img   Tab img   Home
img   Return img   End
img   Enter (on Number Pad) img   Arrow Keys


Here is a list of all the shortcuts in Mac OS X. There are 2 ways you can learn the shortcuts. You can go from keystrokes to action or you can look them up going from action to keystrokes. I prefer the latter.

Keystrokes to Action

Please note that the Command key is the img figure on your keyboard.


  • "Press X during startup" = Force Mac OS X startup
  • "Press Option-Command-Shift-Delete during startup" = Bypass primary startup volume and seek a different startup volume (such as a CD or external disk)
  • "Press C during startup" = Start up from a CD that has a system folder
  • "Press N during startup" = Attempt to start up from a compatible network server (NetBoot)
  • "Press T during startup" = Start up in FireWire Target Disk mode
  • "Press Shift during startup" = start up in Safe Boot mode and temporarily disable login items and non-essential kernel extension files (Mac OS X 10.2 and later)
  • "Press Command-V during startup" = Start up in Verbose mode
  • "Press Command-S during startup" = Start up in Single-User mode
  • "Hold the mouse down during startup" = Eject DVD/C

Finder window

  • "Command-W" = Close Window
  • "Option-Command-W" = Close all Windows
  • "Command-Right Arrow" = Expand folder (list view)
  • "Option-Command-Right Arrow" = Expand folder and nested subfolders (list view)
  • "Command-Left Arrow" = Collapse Folder (list view)
  • "Option-Command-Up Arrow" = Open parent folder and close current window

Menu Commands

  • "Shift-Command-Q" = Apple Menu Log out
  • "Shift-Option-Command-Q" = Apple Menu Log out immediately
  • "Shift-Command-Delete" = Finder Menu Empty Trash
  • "Option-Shift-Command-Delete" = Finder Menu Empty Trash without dialog
  • "Command-H" = Finder Menu Hide Finder
  • "Option-Command-H" = Finder Menu Hide Others
  • "Command-N" = File Menu New Finder window
  • "Shift-Command-N" = File Menu New Folder
  • "Command-O" = File Menu Open
  • "Command-S" = File Menu Save
  • "Shift-Command-S" = File Menu Save as
  • "Command-P" = File Menu Print
  • "Command-W" = File Menu Close Window
  • "Option-Command-W" = File Menu Close all Windows
  • "Command-I" = File Menu Get Info
  • "Option-Command-I" = File Menu Show Attributes Inspector
  • "Command-D" = File Menu Duplicate
  • "Command-L" = File Menu Make Alias
  • "Command-R" = File Menu Show original
  • "Command-T" = File Menu Add to Favorites
  • "Command-Delete" = File Menu Move to Trash
  • "Command-E" = File Menu Eject
  • "Command-F" = File Menu Find
  • "Command-Z" = Edit Menu Undo
  • "Command-X" = Edit Menu Cut
  • "Command-C" = Edit Menu Copy
  • "Command-V" = Edit Menu Paste
  • "Command-A" = Edit Menu Select All
  • "Command-1" = View Menu View as Icons
  • "Command-2" = View Menu View as List
  • "Command-3" = View Menu View as Columns
  • "Command-B" = View Menu Hide Toolbar
  • "Command-J" = View Menu Show View Options
  • "Command - [" = Go Menu Back
  • "Command - ]" = Go Menu Forward
  • "Shift-Command-C" = Go Menu Computer
  • "Shift-Command-H" = Go Menu Home
  • "Shift-Command-I" = Go Menu iDisk
  • "Shift-Command-A" = Go Menu Applications
  • "Shift-Command-F" = Go Menu Favorites
  • "Shift-Command-G" = Go Menu Goto Folder
  • "Command-K" = Go Menu Connect to Server
  • "Command-M" = Window Menu Minimize Window
  • "Command-?" = Help Menu Open Mac Help
  • "Command-Space" = Open Spotlight (Mac OS X 10.4 or later)
  • "Command-Alt-Space" = Open Spotlight Guide (Mac OS X 10.4 or later)
  • "F12" = Opens Dashboard (Mac OS X 10.4 or later)

Universal Access and VoiceOver

  • "Option-Command-* (asterisk)" = Turn on Zoom
  • "Option-Command-+ (plus)" = Zoom in
  • "Option-Command-- (minus)" = Zoom out
  • "Control-Option-Command-* (asterisk)" = Switch to White on Black
  • "Control-F1" = Turn on Full Keyboard Access When Full Keyboard Access is turned on, you can use the key combinations listed in the table below from the Finder.
  • "Control-F2" = Full Keyboard Access Highlight Menu
  • "Control-F3" = Full Keyboard Access Highlight Dock
  • "Control-F4" = Full Keyboard Access Highlight Window (active) or next window behind it
  • "Control-F5" = Full Keyboard Access Highlight Toolbar
  • "Control-F6" = Full Keyboard Access Highlight Utility window (palette)
  • "Command-F5 or fn-Command-F5" = Turn VoiceOver on or off (Mac OS X 10.4 or later)
  • "Control-Option-F8 or fn-Control-Option-F8" = Open VoiceOver Utility (Mac OS X 10.4 or later)
  • "Control-Option-F7 or fn-Control-option-F7" = Display VoiceOver menu (Mac OS X 10.4 or later)
  • "Control-Option-; or fn-Control-option-" = Enable/disable VoiceOver Control-Option lock (Mac OS X 10.4 or later)

Mouse Keys

  • "8" = Move Up
  • "2" = Move Down
  • "4" = Move Left
  • "6" = Move Right
  • "1, 3, 7, 9" = Move Diagonally
  • "5" = Press Mouse Button
  • "0" = Hold Mouse Button
  • ". (period on keypad)" = Release Mouse Button (use after pressing 0)

Other Commands and Screenshots

  • "Option-Command-D" = Show/Hide Dock
  • "Command-Tab" = Switch application
  • "Command-Up Arrow" = Move up one directory
  • "Command-Down Arrow" = Move down one directory
  • "Page Up or Control-Up Arrow" = Move up one page
  • "Page Down or Control-Down Arrow" = Move down one page
  • "Option-Drag" = Copy to new location
  • "Option-Command-Drag" = Make alias in new location
  • "Command-Drag" = Move to new location without copying
  • "Command-C" = Show Colors palette in application
  • "Command-T" = Show Font palette in application
  • "Command-Shift-3" = Take a picture of the screen
  • "Command-Shift-4" = Take a picture of the selection (crop image)
  • "Command-Shift-4, then press Control while selecting" = Take a picture of the screen, place in Clipboard
  • "Command-Shift-4, then Spacebar" = Take a picture of the selected window
  • "Option-Command-esc" = Force Quit
  • "Control-Eject" = Restart, Sleep, Shutdown dialog box
  • "Control-Command-Eject" = Quit all applications and restart
  • "Option-Command-Eject or Option-Command-Power" = Sleep
  • "Command-click window toolbar button (upper right corner)" = Cycle through available views for the window's toolbar (dependant on the nature of the Finder or application window)
  • "Command-`" = Cycle through windows in application or Finder (if more than one window is open)
  • "Function-Delete (PowerBook, iBook only)" = Forward Delete (delete the character to the right of your cursor)


Action to Keystrokes

Please note that Cmd is short for the Command key img

Symbol Key on Keyboard
Key on Keyboard
img   Command/Apple key (like Control on a PC) img   Delete
img   Option (like Alt on a PC) img   Escape
img   Shift img   Page Up
img   Control (Control-click = Right-click) img   Page Down
img   Tab img   Home
img   Return img   End
img   Enter (on Number Pad) img   Arrow Keys


Finder Shortcuts

Action Keystroke
Open Sidebar item in a new window Cmd-Click it
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-[  (that’s left square bracket)
Go Forward Cmd-]  (that’s right square bracket)
Select the next icon in Icon and List views Tab (Shift-Tab reverses direction)
Alternate columns in Column View Tab (Shift-Tab reverses direction)
Instantly show long file name (for names condensed with a “...”) Hold Option while mousing over long filenames
Resize current column to fit the longest file name Double-Click column resize widget
Resize all columns to fit their longest file names Option Double-Click resize widget
Copy and Paste files Cmd-C, then Cmd-V
Move a file instead of copying. (Copies the file to the destination and removes it from the original disk.) Cmd-Drag file to disk
Move selected files to the Trash Cmd-Delete
Empty the Trash (with warning) Cmd-Shift-Delete
Empty the Trash (without warning) 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-T
Move or Remove item in toolbar (at the top of the window).
This works in most programs.
Open Quick Look (Mac OS 10.5) With file selected, tap Spacebar (or Cmd-Y)
Zoom In/Out on a Quick Look Preview Cmd-Plus(+) or Cmd-Minus(-)
Find by File Name (Mac OS 10.5) Cmd-Shift-F

Application Switcher

Action Keystroke
Quickly switch between 2 programs
(such as: InDesign & Photoshop)
Press Cmd-Tab to switch to the last used program.
Press Cmd-Tab again to switch back.
NOTE: Press keys quickly and do NOT hold them down.
Switch between programs (but you choose which program to switch to) Press Cmd-Tab and continue holding Cmd.
While holding Cmd, to choose which program you want to switch to you can:
• press Tab (several times if needed) to scroll right
• press Shift-Tab or tilde(~) to scroll left
• use the left/right arrow keys
• aim with the mouse
• use end/home keys to just to first/last item
Quit a program using the application switcher When in the app switcher you’re already holding Cmd.
Once the program is selected hit Q to quit.
Hide a program using the application switcher When in the app switcher you’re already holding Cmd.
Once the program is selected hit H to hide.
Cancel out of the application switcher once it’s open When in the app switcher you're already holding Cmd.
Hit Esc or period(.)

Dock Shortcuts

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
Move and a Dock item to somewhere else on the hard drive Command Drag the icon from the Dock to new destination
Force a file to open in a specific program While dragging the file onto an app’s icon in the Dock, hold Command-Option
When in an app’s Dock menu, change the Quit to Force Quit Hold Option while in Dock menu
Force the Dock to only resize to non-interpolated icon sizes Hold Option while dragging Dock separator
Move Dock to left, bottom, right side of screen Hold Shift and drag Dock divider
Temporarily turn magnification on (or off) It’s a toggle. Hold Control-Shift (Mac OS 10.5 and later)

Working with Windows

Action Keystroke
Switch windows (works in most programs) Next window: Cmd-tilde(~)
Previous Window: Cmd-Shift-tilde(~)
See where the File/Folder is located (a menu will pop-up displaying the folder hierarchy). This works in “most” programs as well as the Finder. Cmd-Click on name of the window in its titlebar
Move a window in the background without switching to it.
(Example: You’re in a dialog and can’t move a window in the background, so Cmd-Drag its titlebar.)
Cmd-Drag on a window’s titlebar

Taking Screenshots

Action Keystroke
Take picture of the entire screen Cmd-Shift-3
Take picture of a selected area Cmd-Shift-4 and Drag over desired area
New in Mac OS 10.5: 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
Copy the screenshot to the clipboard instead of making a file Hold Control with the above keystrokes
Screenshots are saved to the Desktop as PNG file in OS 10.4 and later (or a PDF file in OS 10.3 and prior).

Startup Commands

Action Keystroke
Eject CD on boot Hold Mouse button down immediately after powering on
OS X Safe boot Hold Shift during startup
Start up in FireWire Target Disk mode Hold T during startup
Startup from a CD 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
Force OS X startup Hold X during startup

Shutdown/Sleep Commands

Action Keystroke
Shutdown immediately (no confirmation) Cmd-Opt-Ctrl-Eject
Sleep immediately (no confirmation) Cmd-Opt-Eject
Restart, Sleep, Shutdown dialog (like hitting the Power button on old Mac keyboards) Ctrl-Eject
Put display to sleep Ctrl-Shift-Eject


Action Keystroke
Open/Close Widget Dock Cmd-Plus(+)
Cycle to next/previous “page” of widgets in widget dock Cmd-Right/Left Arrow
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

Spaces Mac OS 10.5 and 10.6

Action Keystroke
Activate Spaces (birds-eye view of all spaces) F8
Consolidate all windows into a Single Workspace After pressing F8, press C to consolidate (press C again to restore)
Move to a neighboring space Ctrl-arrow key (left, right, up or down)
Move to a specific space Ctrl-number of the space (1, 2, 3, etc.)
Move all windows of an app to another space Cmd-Drag in Space’s birds-eye view (Control and Shift also work)



Action Keystroke
Open Spotlight Menu Cmd-Space
Open Spotlight Window Cmd-Option-Space
In Spotlight menu: Launch Top Hit Return (In Mac OS 10.4 it’s Cmd-Return)
Reveal the selected item in the Finder

In Spotlight Menu: Cmd-click item or press Cmd-Return

In Spotlight Window: Press Cmd-R

Skip to first result in each category Cmd up/down arrow
Clear Spotlight’s search field Esc clears to do another search.
Esc a second time closes the spotlight menu.

Working with Text (some only work in Cocoa apps like 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
NOTE: Add Shift to any of 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
Look up word in dictionary Position mouse over a word and hold Cmd-Ctrl-D

Auto completion word

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

Emacs Key Bindings (only work in Cocoa apps like Safari, Mail, TextEdit, iChat, etc.)

Action Keystroke Remember As
go to start of line (puts cursor at beginning of current line) Ctrl-A A = Start of alphabet
go to end of line (puts cursor at end of current line) Ctrl-E E = End
go up one line Ctrl-P P = Previous
go down one line Ctrl-N N = Next
go back one character (moves cursor left 1 place) Ctrl-B B = Back
go forward one character (moves cursor right 1 place) 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 to end of the line (or delete the selection) Ctrl-K K = Kill rest of line
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 letter on the left and right of cursor) Ctrl-T T = Transpose


Action Keystroke
Force Quit (opens list so you can choose application) Cmd-Opt-Esc
Force Quit Frontmost Application (without confirmation) Hold Cmd-Opt-Shift-Escape for about 4 seconds
On Laptops: Scroll (like a mouse’s scroll wheel)
(Works on newer laptops if enabled in System Preferences)
Slide 2 fingers on the trackpad
On Laptops: Right-click (like on a 2 button mouse)
(Works on newer laptops if enabled in System Preferences)
Place 2 fingers on the trackpad and Click
Quickly find any menu item and launch it. (Mac OS 10.5) 1. Press Cmd-?  FYI: That’s Cmd-Shift-/
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.
Change system volume without the confirmation beeps Hold Shift while changing volume
Completely smooth scrolling—one pixel at a time.
(Only works in Cocoa apps.)
Hold Option while dragging scrollbar
Open System Preferences:
NOTE: These launch directly into a preference pane.
Two examples are given.
To open “Sound” Preferences:
Hold Option and press any Sound key
(Mute, Volume Up or Down )

To open “Displays” Preferences:
Hold Option and press any Brightness key
Open Front Row Cmd-Esc
Quickly Exit Front Row Press any F key, like F5. In 10.5 and later, non F keys also work.
Customize the toolbar at the top of a window.
Works for toolbars like in Safari, Apple Mail, Preview, Finder, etc. But it doesn't work in all programs, like Firefox.

- Rearrange icons:
   Hold Cmd and drag the icons around.

- Remove icons:
   Hold Cmd and drag icon off toolbar.
- View toolbar options:
   Ctrl-click on the toolbar to get a menu.


Action Keystroke
Switch Tabs Next Tab: Ctrl-Tab (or Cmd-Shift-Right Arrow)
Previous Tab: Ctrl-Shift-Tab (or Cmd-Shift-Left Arrow)
Go to one of the first 9 bookmarks (not folders) in the Bookmarks Toolbar Cmd-1 through Cmd-9
Move between found items (in Safari 3 and later) 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 a web page by a screenful Scroll Down: Spacebar or Option-Down Arrow
Scroll Up: Shift-Spacebar or Option-Up Arrow

Apple’s Mail.app

Action Keystroke
Reply to Message Cmd–R or
Option-Double Click Message
Go to the next/previous email in a thread even if you haven’t organized by threads Option-Up/Down Arrow
Scroll the listing of emails at the top (not the actual contents of an email) Ctrl-Page Up/Down

Apple’s Preview.app

Action Keystroke
Choose the Scroll tool Cmd-1
Choose the Text tool Cmd-2
Choose the Select tool Cmd-3
Zoom in or out Cmd-Plus(+) or Cmd-Minus(-)
Scroll Large Images Hold Spacebar and drag on the image (like you do in Photoshop)



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