MacOS Shortcut Keys

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Key combinations in Apple OS X can be used in multiple ways, including affecting the startup process, within the Finder window, or to access Menu commands. The commands listed below as well as some additional shortcut combinations can be found here.

Windows keyboard vs Apple keyboard

Apple keyboards have minor key differences compared to Windows keyboards. On the bottom row, the first three keys on an Apple keyboard are "Control", "Option", and "Command". The "Option" is sometimes called the "Alt" key, and the "Command" key was originally known as the Apple key, and may occasionally be referred as such. An Apple keyboard also has an "Eject" key on the far upper-right for opening the CD/DVD tray.

A Windows keyboard has CTRL, Windows-key, and ALT as the first three keys, and does not have an eject key. If you are using a Windows keyboard with your Apple system, then see the following table to see how certain keys are re-mapped in OS X:

Windows OS X
Windows Key functions as Command Key
Alt Key functions as Option Key
F12 functions as Eject Key1
1 OS X 10.3 and earlier only.

During Startup

NOTE: To use, power on your Apple computer and hold down these key combinations after you hear the tone.

Hold C during Startup

  • Boots to CD or DVD that has a System folder

Hold Mouse Button during Startup

  • Ejects media in CD/DVD drive and other media drives.
  • On multiple button mice, hold down the Left Mouse Button.

Hold T during Startup

  • Boots machine into Firewire Target Disk mode, which allows the machine's HD to be accessed from another machine that it is connected to by firewire
  • To use, connect your computer to another Apple computer by a firewire cable and turn it on while holding down this key. Release once the firewire icon appears on the screen and then the drive will become accessible on the other machine.
  • To disconnect, drag the computer's HD to the trash and then shut down the machine.

Hold SHIFT during Startup

  • Start up in Safe Mode

Hold Command + S during Startup

  • Start up in Single-User mode.
  • You will need the root password to access the system (this is not the same as a password for an admin account in OS X)

Hold Option + Command + Shift + Delete during Startup

  • Bypass primary startup volume and seek a different startup volume (such as a CD or external disk).
  • Used for older Mac models.

Hold Option + Command + P + R during Startup

  • Resets system settings in PRAM
  • While holding down this combination, you will hear the machine chime. Allow the machine to chime at least three times before releasing the combination. The machine will then boot into OS X.

While in Finder Window

Command + 1

  • View as icons

Command + 2

  • View as list

Command + 3

  • View as columns

Command + Right Arrow

  • Expand folder
  • Hold down Option key as well to also expand all nested subfolders

Command + Left Arrow

  • Collapse folder.
  • Hold down Option key as well to open parent folder and close current window

SHIFT + Mouse button

  • This will allow you to select a batch of files/objects by adding them individually to your selection.
  • Hold down the SHIFT button as you click objects, files, emails, etc with your mouse. All objects that you have clicked will remain selected as long as you hold down the SHIFT button.

Option + Command + Mouse button

  • Click and drag an object to another location to create a shortcut to that object.

Accessing Menu Commands

NOTE: These commands can be performed at any time.

Command + W

  • Close active window
  • Hold down Option key as well to close all windows

Command + M

  • Minimize active window
  • Hold down Option key as well to minimize all windows

Command + T

  • Select an object and use this combination to add a shortcut to that object on the Finder sidebar

SHIFT + Command + Q

  • Log out
  • Hold down Option key as well to log out immediately

Command + Delete

  • Move selected object(s) directly to the Trash

SHIFT + Command + Delete

  • Empty Trash

Command + I

  • Get Info of selected object

Command + P

  • Open Print window

Command + N

  • Open new window
  • Will work for Finder, Safari and other progams

SHIFT + Command + N

  • Create new folder

Command + E

  • Eject

SHIFT + Command + C

  • Open Computer folder

SHIFT + Command + H

  • Open Home folder

SHIFT + Command + A

  • Open Applications folder

SHIFT + Command + U

  • Open Utilities folder

Command + ?

  • Open Mac Help

Command + SPACEBAR

  • Open Spotlight Search (OS X 10.4 and later only)

Other Commands

Control + Mouse button

  • Simulates a right-click.
  • Used on files to open file menus for getting info, deleting, copying, etc. Use on Dock icons for starting or stopping programs, hiding program windows, or removing icons from the Dock.

Command + Tab

  • Cycles through all currently running applications

Command + '

  • Cycle through all windows within the active application

Command + .

  • Cancels an operation in progress

Option + Command + ESC

  • Forces a program to quit. Unsaved data will be lost

Option + Command + Eject

  • Put machine to sleep

Control + Eject

  • Opens Restart / Sleep / Shutdown dialog box
  • Hold down Command key as well to close all applications and restart