Mac Keyboard Shortcuts & Hot Keys

Did you know you can save more than 3 hours a week by using Mac keyboard shortcuts? Check out our list of Hot Keys to test it for yourself!
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Written by Staff Writer • Posted on Feb 26, 2014

On average, it takes most people about 15 seconds to open Internet Explorer and navigate to a website. I can do it in 3 seconds. "3 seconds, 15 seconds! Who cares?" you might say to me. But those 12 extra seconds could be valuable in context. Imagine how much time you could save when you multiply 12 seconds across every similar task you do during an 8-hour shift at the computer. If you only do 200 such actions in 8 hours (which I think is an underestimate), you'd save 2,400 seconds every day. That equals 40 minutes a day -- or 3 1/3 hours a work week!

Regardless of whether you work on a computer all day or just use it for fun, think of the time you could save here. Keyboard shortcuts -- also known as hot keys -- are keyboard combinations that allow the user to quickly perform tasks which normally require several mouse clicks. To get you started, we've compiled a list of the most common shortcut keys for Apple computers. Print out this list and keep it close to your Mac so that you can work toward becoming a pro user!

To use Mac keyboard shortcuts, you press a modifier key simultaneously with a character key. For example, pressing the Command key (represented below by the symbol) and then the "c" key copies whatever is currently selected (text, graphics and so forth) into the Clipboard. This is also known as the Command+C keyboard shortcut. Keep in mind that some of these shortcuts have 2 functions depending on which program you're using. The commands with secondary functions will be noted below.

Here are the modifier key symbols you'll see in OS X menus:

  • - Command key
  • - Control key
  • - Option key
  • - Shift Key
  • - Caps Lock
  • Fn - Function Key

Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

Key CombinationShortcut Function
+ + Power buttonForces the Mac to restart
+ + Eject (䏏)Puts the computer to sleep
+ + + Eject (䏏)Quits all applications, then shuts down the computer
+ ASelects all items in the front Finder window (or the desktop, if no window is open)
+ BBold/unbolds selected text
+ CCopies selected item/text to clipboard
+ D1) Duplicates selected item
2) In your web browser, this bookmarks a page
+ FOpens a Find window
+ + FFinds Spotlight file name matches
+ + GGoes to Folder
+ IItalicize/un-italicizes selected text
+ MMinimizes window
+ +MMinimizes all windows
+ N1) Opens a new finder window
2) In your web browser, this opens a new window
+ + NCreates a new folder
+ OOpens selected item
+ PPrints
+ RRefreshes page
+ SSaves the active document
+ TOpens new tab in your web browser
+ UUnderlines selected text (or removes underline)
+ VPastes whatever was last copied to the clipboard
+ WCloses window/application you're in
+ +WCloses all windows
+ + ?Opens Mac Help
+ TabSwitches application (cycle forward; the ` key at the top left of your keyboard will cycle backward through your open applications)
+ F3Shows desktop
+ + DShows or hides the dock
+ + (plus key)Zooms in
+ - (minus key)Zooms out
+ SpacebarLaunches Spotlight (Mac's search app)

It will take some practice, but soon you'll be using these Mac keyboard shortcuts like a pro. You'll be pleasantly surprised to see how much time you save by keeping your hands off the mouse!

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