Keyboard shortcuts

From Mac Guides

Jump to: navigation, search

Keyboard shortcuts are combinations of simultaneous key presses that perform certain actions as an alternative to using the mouse. Keyboard shortcuts usually require a combination of modifier keys (command, option, control and shift) and other keys.

The command key (cmd), also known as 'Apple'
The command key (cmd), also known as 'Apple'


Mac OS X Shortcuts

Many of these shortcuts can be customized (eg the Exposé shortcuts), as explained in Customizing shortcuts below.

Symbols seen on Mac menus and non-US Apple keyboards, with their common names
Symbols seen on Mac menus and non-US Apple keyboards, with their common names

Shortcuts With Global Scope

More shortcuts with global scope can be found on the Universal Access page.

command-option-esc force quit
hold command-shift-option-escape for 4 sec Force quit front-most application (without confirmation)
control-eject show shutdown dialog
command-option-eject sleep now
command-shift-Q log out
command-shift-option-Q log out without confirmation
command-control-eject restart
control-shift-eject sleep displays
command-option-control-eject shut down
command-tab cycle between open applications
command-` *after* having pressed command-tab, it will cycle between open applications in reverse
command-shift-tab cycle between open applications in reverse direction
command-` cycle between open windows in the selected application
command-shift-` cycle between open windows in the selected application in reverse direction
control-F4 cycle between open windows in all applications
control-shift-F4 cycle between open windows in all applications in reverse direction
F8 Spaces (Leopard only)
F9 Exposé for all windows (Panther and newer)
F10 Exposé for all windows in selected application
F11 Exposé to reveal desktop
F12 Dashboard (Tiger and newer)
control-# Jump to a space (10.5+)
control-arrow Cycle through spaces (10.5+)
command-space activate Spotlight (Tiger) or switch between keyboard layouts (pre-Tiger systems)
command-option-space open a Spotlight search in a finder "Find" window
shift-volume Change volume without sound effect
option-shift-volume Fine-grained volume control (10.5+ ?)
option-volume Sound Preference Pane
option-brightness Display Preference Pane
command-decrease-brightness Change display mode (only on revised fn keyboard layout on Alu. keyboards, newer MBP/MBs?)
opt-"Empty Trash" Empty trash, including locked items, without any alerts
command-escape open front row (Press any F key (except F2) or Escape to exit)
hold shift while performing action slow down any animation (exposé, time machine, minimize, etc)
option-drag scrollbar smooth scrolling
option-eject Eject secondary optical media drive (if one exists)
option-click dock icon or window Switch to application and hide previous application
command-option-click dock icon or window Switch to application and hide all others
command-drag menulet re-order icon
command-drag menulet off the menu bar remove icon from menu bar

Command-Tab Box

Press command-tab and hold the command key to keep the box open. Release the command key to switch to the selected application.

escape exit command-tab box (equivalent to pressing the period key (.))
H hide application
Q quit application
left/right arrow keys or home/end or `(grave accent)/tab select an application (you can also aim with the mouse)
up/down arrow keys view windows of selected application (use arrow keys to navigate, then press enter to select window)


hold option while in Dock menu change the Quit to Force Quit
option-command-drag onto Dock icon force application to open dropped item
option-drag Dock separator force the Dock to only resize to non-interpolated icon sizes
command-drag Dock icon to destination copy a Dock item to somewhere else on the hard drive
shift-drag Dock divider move Dock to left, bottom, or right side of screen
command-drag onto Dock icon prevent Dock icons from moving
command-click Dock icon show dock item in Finder

Keyboard Navigation in Mac OS X Core Apps

Expose, Spaces
tab (Expose) cycle through Expose'd windows
tab (Spaces) cycle through Spaces
number (Spaces) focus specific space
c (Spaces) collect all windows in space 1
command-right arrow go to next page of widgets in widget dock
command-left arrow go to previous page of widgets in widget dock
command-+ show/hide widget dock
command-R reload widget
option-hover pointer over widget show close button for widget
escape clear search field (press again to close menu)
tab select current search term (equivalent to command-a)
command-enter show selected file in Finder (equivalent to command-R or command-clicking an item)
command-up arrow move to the first result in the previous category
command-down arrow move to the first result in the next category
shift-command-T Add to Favorites
command-T Add to Sidebar
escape Cancel a drag-and-drop action while dragging
option-click zoom button Cascade all Finder windows
option-click close box or command-option-W Close all open finder windows (except popup windows)
shift-option-command-W Close all open finder windows (including popup windows)
command-K Connect to Server
option-drag file Copy file to location
option-command-A Deselect all items
command-E Eject
shift-command-delete Empty the Trash (with warning)
shift-option-command-delete Empty the Trash (without warning)
command-F Find any matching Spotlight attribute
shift-command-F Find Spotlight file name matches
shift-option-command-escape Force Quit Finder
control-command-I Get Summary Info
command-[ Go Back
command-] Go Forward
shift-command-G Go to Folder dialog (with Tab Autocomplete)
shift-command-H Go to home folder of current user
shift-command-? Mac Help
option-command-drag file Make alias of file
command-L Make alias of the selected item
shift-option-command-up arrow Make desktop the active window, select parent volume
Page Down or control-down arrow Move down one page
command-drag file Move file
command-delete Move to Trash
Page Up or control-up arrow Move up one page
command-N New Finder window
shift-command-N New folder
option-command-N New Smart Folder
shift-command-D Open desktop folder
control-command-up arrow Open enclosed folder in a new window
Space while dragging When dragging file onto folder it will spring open without the usual delay
shift-command-I Open iDisk
shift-command-K Open Network window
command-up arrow Open parent folder (if there is no selection or open windows, open Home)
option-command-up arrow Open parent folder, closing current folder
command-O Open selected item
command-down arrow Open selected item (if there is no selection or open windows, open Desktop)
option-command-down arrow Open selected item, closing current folder
command-click sidebar icon Open Sidebar item in a new window
shift-command-A Open the Applications folder
shift-command-C Open the Computer window
shift-command-U Open Utilities folder
Space or command-Y Quick Look selected item
option-spacebar Fullscreen quicklook selected item
Return or Enter Rename the selected file/folder (escape cancels, enter accepts the changes)
double-click resize widget Resize current column to fit the longest file name
tab (shift-tab reverses direction) Select the next icon in Icon and List views
option-hover pointer over filenames Show full name if condensed with an ellipsis
option-command-I Show Inspector (a single window that updates based on selected item or items)
command-R Show original (of alias)
command-J Show View Options
option-command-Y Slideshow of selection
command-1, command-2, command-3, command-4 Switch Finder views (Icon, List, Column, Cover Flow)
command-Z Undo
shift-command-Z Redo
Finder - Icon View
command-1 switch to icon view
tab/shift-tab move between icons
Finder - Column View
command-3 Switch to Column View
tab/shift-tab switch between panes
option-double-click resize widget resize all columns to fit their longest file names
type anything Find As You Type within the focused pane (FAYT)
right Focus contents of selected directory in a new pane
left go one pane back
Finder - List View
command-2 switch to list view
type anything Find As You Type (FAYT)
tab cycle through contents of folder, wrapping around
shift tab
command-up change working directory to parent
right open selected folder
left (on a file) jump to parent folder, if that folder is visible
left (on folder) close that folder, if open
option-right open all children of all selected folders
option-left close all selected folders and children
option-click disclosure triangle expand/collapse folder and children, recursively
Cover Flow
command-4 switch to cover flow view
open..., save..., browse...
/ go to... dialogue, allowing one to specify full pathnames from root file. w/ Tab Autocomplete
command-shift-g Go to folder... dialogs. w/ Tab Autocomplete
tab space activate disclosure triangle

Column View Note:

  • A hollow arrow indicates that the pane with the selected folder is active.
  • A solid white arrow indicates that contents of the selected folder are active in the pane to the right .
  • The behavior of FAYT/Tab in Column View is functionally equivalent to tab-autocomplete on a standard *nix shell.

Taking Screenshots

The Taking Screenshots in Mac OS X article includes keyboard shortcuts related to taking screenshots.

Dialog Boxes

enter click the default button in dialog box (the button that is entirely blue) (The return key also works if there are no text fields that use return)
space click the focused button (the button that has a blue halo around it)
option with Enter, Return, or Tab applies that key to a text box without leaving the box
command-. cancel (equivalent to pressing the escape key)
command-D don’t save (in save/cancel/don’t save dialog)
command-R replace (in “Do you want to replace this file” dialog)
type first letter in button label press Button
tab (shift-tab reverses direction) tab between buttons (Full Keyboard Access must be turned on in System Preferences)

Shortcuts Common to Most Applications

hold option key with menu open show additional menu options
spacebar simulate a mouse click on focused object (i.e., the button or control that has a blue halo around it)
command-shift-? Search application help. As of 10.5, this also FAYT searches available menu items. It also activates the menu bar as keyboard navigable if the search string is empty.
command-shift-+ increase font size
command-- decrease font size
command-, preferences
command-? help
command-shift-: show spelling window
command-; check spelling
command-A select all
command-C copy
command-D duplicate
command-shift-C show colors
command-E use selection for find
command-F find
command-G find next
command-shift-G find previous
command-H hide application windows
command-option-H hide windows of other applications
command-J scroll to selection
command-M minimize (equivalent to double-clicking the title bar)
command-option-M minimize all application windows (equivalent to option-double-clicking the title bar or option-clicking the minimize button)
command-N new
command-O open
command-P print
command-Q quit
command-S save
command-S save
command-shift-S save as
command-option-S save all
command-T show fonts
command-V paste
command-W close window
command-option-W close all application windows (equivalent to option-clicking the close button)
command-shift-W close a file and its associated windows
command-X cut
command-Z undo
command-shift-Z redo

Other Application Shortcuts

command-option-T show/hide a toolbar
command-click toolbar lozenge cycle forward through toolbar displays
command-shift-click toolbar lozenge cycle backward through toolbar displays
command-drag toolbar icon re-order icon
command-drag toolbar icon off the toolbar remove icon from toolbar
command-drag title bar move window without bringing it to front
command-click file name in title bar show file path in popup

Text Shortcuts

These shortcuts can be used within all text areas in Cocoa applications.

option-left arrow move left one word
option-right arrow move right one word
control-delete delete accent to left
option-delete back delete one word
shift-option-delete foward delete one word (equivalent to option-del)
option-up arrow move up one paragraph
option-down arrow move down one paragraph
command-up arrow move to beginning of all text
command-down arrow move to end of all text
control-left arrow move to start of current line
command-left arrow
control-right arrow move to end of current line
command-right arrow
shift + any of the above extend selection by appropriate amount
click then drag select text
double-click then drag select text, wrapping to word ends
triple-click then drag select text, wrapping to paragraph ends
shift-select text with mouse add to selection (contiguous)
command-select text with mouse add to selection (non-contiguous)
option-drag select rectangular area (non-contiguous)
command-option-drag add rectangular area to selection
drag selection move text
option-drag selection copy text
command-control-D use the dictionary to look up the word under the mouse pointer
escape show auto-complete list for word (equivalent to F5 or option-escape)
control-A move to start of current paragraph
control-B move left one character
control-D forwards delete
control-E move to end of current paragraph
control-F move right one character
control-H delete
control-K delete remainder of current paragraph
control-N move down one line
control-O insert new line after cursor
control-P move up one line
control-T transpose (swap) two surrounding character
control-V move to end, then left one character
control-Y paste text previously deleted with control-K

System startup

Hold down these keys to cause a Mac to perform special actions at startup time.

C boot from CD or DVD
D force the boot device to be the internal hard drive
T start up in FireWire/Thunderbolt target mode (the Mac temporarily becomes a very expensive external FireWire/Thunderbolt drive)
X force boot into Mac OS X (older Macs that dual-boot into OS 9 and X)
N boot from Network drive
shift hold after power-up to boot into safe mode, hold after login to prevent startup items from opening
mouse button eject CD before booting normally
command-S boot into single user mode; type exit when done
command-option-O-F boot into the Open Firmware prompt
command-option-P-R reset PRAM
command-option-V verbose boot; show the Unixy text goodness at boot time
command-option-shift-delete bypass internal hard drive and boot from external drive or CD
option choose startup disk at boot time
command-. when startup disk chooser is active, open the CD tray

Customizing shortcuts

Many system-wide shortcuts can be customized. This is described in detail in the Changing Keyboard Shortcuts article.

Shortcuts on laptops

On most Mac laptops, some of the function keys (F1 - F12) are used to control hardware features:

F1 decrease brightness
F2 increase brightness
F3 mute on G4s, decrease volume on G3s
F4 decrease volume on G4s, increase volume on G3s
F5 increase volume on G4s, numlock on G3s
F6 Num lock on G4s, mute on G3s
F7 Display mode (mirror or extend external display)
F8 disable backlit keyboards (Aluminum PowerBooks)
F9 decrease keyboard brightness for backlit keyboards
F10 increase keyboard brightness for backlit keyboards
F12 eject (some Macs, namely all MacBooks, MacBook Pros, and newer PowerBooks, place a dedicated eject key next to the F12 key)

Newer Mac laptops (MacBook Pros made after February 2008, MacBooks after November(?) 2007, MacBook Airs), and the Aluminum keyboard, have a different layout for fn keys. Some keys have been added, while the numlock key has been removed and the display mode key has been integrated into the brightness key (see combinations in parenthesis)

F1 decrease brightness (command+F1 changes display mode, option+F1 brings up display prefs)
F2 increase brightness (option+F2 brings up display prefs)
F3 exposé (F3 shows all windows, control+F3 shows app windows, option+F3 brings up exposé prefs, command+F3 shows desktop)
F4 dashboard (option+F4 brings up exposé prefs)
F5 decrease keyboard brightness for backlit keyboards (option+F5 brings up keyboard prefs)
F6 increase keyboard brightness for backlit keyboards (option+F6 brings up keyboard prefs)
F7 media navigation backwards (like hitting back on Apple Remote)
F8 media play/pause (like hitting play/pause on Apple Remote)
F9 media navigation forwards (like hitting next on Apple Remote)
F10 mute volume (option+F10 brings up sound prefs)
F11 decrease volume (option+shift+F11 for incremental decrease, option+F11 brings up sound prefs)
F12 increase volume (option+shift+F12 for incremental increase, option+F12 brings up sound prefs)

If you want to use these function keys for standard keyboard shortcuts, you must use the fn key, located in the lower-left corner of the keyboard. For example, to use Spaces on these keyboards, you must press fn-F8; to shift between all open windows in all applications, you must press ctrl-fn-F4; etc.

This behaviour can be altered in the Keyboard tab of the Keyboard & Mouse preference pane, so that hardware functions (like screen brightness) require pressing fn, and standard keyboard shortcuts (like Spaces) work without the fn key.

Application specific shortcuts


command-option-backspace delete pictures from the library from within an album
command-1,2,3,4,5 rate picture


command-option-backspace delete songs from the library from within a playlist
command-B show browser
command-L highlight currently playing track
command-shift-R reveal currently playing track in Finder (was command-R until iTunes 10)

MS Office 2004

Word 2004

Insert Bullet
Clear Formatting Cntrl + Spacebar

Powerpoint 2004

page down while in normal view, cursor in the slide window (not notes or outline) next slide
F6/fn-F6 toggle between Slide, Outline, and notes windows
control-shift-S start slide show from first slide
control-shift-B start slide show from current slide

Powerpoint 2008

F6/fn-F6 toggle has a bug where it occasionally jumps to the first slide instead of toggling cursor.

Universal Access

See the Universal Access article for keyboard shortcuts.