OS X Tips and shortcuts

This is a discussion on OS X Tips and shortcuts within the OS X How-To's, Tutorials, Tips & Tricks forums, part of the Mac OS X category; Summary Learn about common Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts. A keyboard shortcut is a way to invoke a function in Mac OS X by pressing ...

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    OS X Tips and shortcuts

    Summary

    Learn about common Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts. A keyboard shortcut is a way to invoke a function in Mac OS X by pressing a combination of keys on your keyboard.

    Mac OS X 10.0, Mac OS X 10.3, Mac OS X 10.2, Mac OS X 10.1, Mac OS X 10.4, Mac OS X 10.6, Mac OS X 10.5, OS X Lion

    To use a keyboard shortcut, or key combination, you press a modifier key with a character key. For example, pressing the Command key (the key with a symbol) and the "c" key at the same time copies whatever is currently selected (text, graphics, and so forth) into the Clipboard. This is also known as the Command-C key combination (or keyboard shortcut).

    A modifier key is a part of many key combinations. A modifier key alters the way other keystrokes or mouse clicks are interpreted by Mac OS X. Modifier keys include: Command, Control, Option, Shift, Caps Lock, and the fn key (if your keyboard has a fn key).

    Here are the modifier key symbols you can see in Mac OS X menus:

    (Command key) - On some Apple keyboards, this key also has an Apple logo ()
    (Control key)
    (Option key) - "Alt" may also appear on this key
    (Shift key)
    (Caps Lock) - Toggles Caps Lock on or off
    fn (Function key)

    Startup keyboard shortcuts

    Press the key or key combination until the expected function occurs/appears (for example, hold Option during startup until Startup Manager appears, or Shift until "Safe Boot" appears). Tip: If a startup function doesn't work and you use a third-party keyboard, connect an Apple keyboard and try again.

    Key or key combination What it does

    Option Display all bootable volumes (Startup Manager)
    Shift Perform Safe Boot (start up in Safe Mode)
    C Start from a bootable disc (DVD, CD)
    T Start in FireWire target disk mode
    N Start from NetBoot server
    X Force Mac OS X startup (if non-Mac OS X startup volumes are present)
    Command-V Start in Verbose Mode
    Command-S Start in Single User Mode

    Finder keyboard shortcuts

    Key combination What it does
    Command-A Select all items in the front Finder window (or desktop if no window is open)
    Option-Command-A Deselect all items
    Shift-Command-A Open the Applications folder
    Command-C Copy selected item/text to the Clipboard
    Shift-Command-C Open the Computer window
    Command-D Duplicate selected item
    Shift-Command-D Open desktop folder
    Command-E Eject
    Command-F Find any matching Spotlight attribute
    Shift-Command-F Find Spotlight file name matches
    Option-Command-F Navigate to the search field in an already-open Spotlight window
    Shift-Command-G Go to Folder
    Shift-Command-H Open the Home folder of the currently logged-in user account
    Command-I Get Info
    Option-Command-I Show Inspector
    Control-Command-I Get Summary Info
    Shift-Command-I Open iDisk
    Command-J Show View Options
    Command-K Connect to Server
    Shift-Command-K Open Network window
    Command-L Make alias of the selected item
    Command-M Minimize window
    Option-Command-M Minimize all windows
    Command-N New Finder window
    Shift-Command-N New folder
    Option-Command-N New Smart Folder
    Command-O Open selected item
    Shift-Command-Q Log Out
    Option-Shift-Command-Q Log Out immediately
    Command-R Show original (of alias)
    Command-T Add to Sidebar
    Shift-Command-T Add to Favorites
    Option-Command-T Hide Toolbar / Show Toolbar in Finder windows
    Shift-Command-U Open Utilities folder
    Command-V Paste
    Command-W Close window
    Option-Command-W Close all windows
    Command-X Cut
    Option-Command-Y Slideshow (Mac OS X 10.5 or later)
    Command-Z Undo / Redo
    Command-1 View as Icon
    Command-2 View as List
    Command-3 View as Columns
    Command-4 View as Cover Flow (Mac OS X 10.5 or later)
    Command-, (Command and the comma key) Open Finder preferences
    Command-` (the Grave accent key--above Tab key on a US English keyboard layout) Cycle through open Finder windows
    Command-Shift-? Open Mac Help
    Option-Shift-Command-Esc (hold for three seconds) - Mac OS X v10.5, v10.6 or later only Force Quit front-most application
    Command-[ Back
    Command-] Forward
    Command-Up Arrow Open enclosed folder
    Control-Command-Up Arrow Open enclosed folder in a new window
    Command-Down Arrow Open highlighted item
    Command-Tab Switch application--cycle forward
    Shift-Command-Tab Switch application--cycle backward
    Command-Delete Move to Trash
    Shift-Command-Delete Empty Trash
    Option-Shift-Command-Delete Empty Trash without confirmation dialog
    Spacebar (or Command-Y) Quick Look (Mac OS X 10.5 or later)
    Command key while dragging Move dragged item to other volume/location (pointer icon changes while key is held--see this article)
    Option key while dragging Copy dragged item (pointer icon changes while key is held--see this article)
    Option-Command key combination while dragging Make alias of dragged item (pointer icon changes while key is held--see this article)


    Application and other Mac OS X keyboard commands

    Note: Some applications may not support all of the below application key combinations.

    Key combination What it does
    Command-Space Show or hide the Spotlight search field (if multiple languages are installed, may rotate through enabled script systems)
    Control-A Move to beginning of line/paragraph
    Control-B Move one character backward
    Control-D Delete the character in front of the cursor
    Control-E Move to end of line/paragraph
    Control-F Move one character forward
    Control-H Delete the character behind the cursor
    Control-K Delete from the character in front of the cursor to the end of the line/paragraph
    Control-L Center the cursor/selection in the visible area
    Control-N Move down one line
    Control-O Insert a new line after the cursor
    Control-P Move up one line
    Control-T Transpose the character behind the cursor and the character in front of the cursor
    Control-V Move down one page
    Option-Delete Delete the word that is left of the cursor, as well as any spaces or punctuation after the word
    Option-Command-Space Show the Spotlight search results window (if multiple languages are installed, may rotate through keyboard layouts and input methods within a script)
    Command-Tab Move forward to the next most recently used application in a list of open applications
    Shift-Command-Tab Move backward through a list of open applications (sorted by recent use)
    Shift-Tab Navigate through controls in a reverse direction
    Control-Tab Move focus to the next grouping of controls in a dialog or the next table (when Tab moves to the next cell)
    Shift-Control-Tab Move focus to the previous grouping of controls
    Command-esc Open Front Row (if installed)
    Option-Eject Eject from secondary optical media drive (if one is installed)
    Control-Eject Show shutdown dialog
    Option-Command-Eject Put the computer to sleep
    Control-Command-Eject Quit all applications (after giving you a chance to save changes to open documents), then restart the computer
    Control Option-Command-Eject Quit all applications (after giving you a chance to save changes to open documents), then shut down the computer
    fn-Delete Forward Delete (on portable Macs' built-in keyboard)
    Control-F1 Toggle full keyboard access on or off
    Control-F2 Move focus to the menu bar
    Control-F3 Move focus to the Dock
    Control-F4 Move focus to the active (or next) window
    Shift-Control-F4 Move focus to the previously active window
    Control-F5 Move focus to the toolbar.
    Control-F6 Move focus to the first (or next) panel
    Shift-Control-F6 Move focus to the previous panel
    Control-F7 Temporarily override the current keyboard access mode in windows and dialogs
    F9 Tile or untile all open windows
    F10 Tile or untile all open windows in the currently active application
    F11 Hide or show all open windows
    F12 Hide or display Dashboard
    Command-` Activate the next open window in the frontmost application
    Shift-Command-` Activate the previous open window in the frontmost application
    Option-Command-` Move focus to the window drawer
    Command- - (minus) Decrease the size of the selected item
    Command-{ Left-align a selection
    Command-} Right-align a selection
    Command-| Center-align a selection
    Command-: Display the Spelling window
    Command-; Find misspelled words in the document
    Command-, Open the front application's preferences window (if it supports this keyboard shortcut)
    Option-Control-Command-, Decrease screen contrast
    Option-Control-Command-. Increase screen contrast
    Command-? Open the application's help in Help Viewer
    Option-Command-/ Turn font smoothing on or off
    Shift-Command-= Increase the size of the selected item
    Shift-Command-3 Capture the screen to a file
    Shift-Control-Command-3 Capture the screen to the Clipboard
    Shift-Command-4 Capture a selection to a file
    Shift-Control-Command-4 Capture a selection to the Clipboard
    Command-A Highlight every item in a document or window, or all characters in a text field
    Command-B Boldface the selected text or toggle boldfaced text on and off
    Command-C Copy the selected data to the Clipboard
    Shift-Command-C Display the Colors window
    Option-Command-C Copy the style of the selected text
    Control-Command-C Copy the formatting settings of the selected item and store on the Clipboard
    Option-Command-D Show or hide the Dock
    Command-Control-D Display the definition of the selected word in the Dictionary application
    Command-D Selects the Desktop folder in Open and Save dialogs
    Selects "Don't Save" in dialogs that contain a Don't Save button, in Mac OS X v10.6.8 and earlier
    Command-Delete Selects "Don't Save" in dialogs that contain a Don't Save button, in OS X Lion
    Command-E Use the selection for a find
    Command-F Open a Find window
    Option-Command-F Move to the search field control
    Command-G Find the next occurrence of the selection
    Shift-Command-G Find the previous occurrence of the selection
    Command-H Hide the windows of the currently running application
    Option-Command-H Hide the windows of all other running applications
    Command-I Italicize the selected text or toggle italic text on or off
    Option-Command-I Display an inspector window
    Command-J Scroll to a selection
    Command-M Minimize the active window to the Dock
    Option-Command-M Minimize all windows of the active application to the Dock
    Command-N Create a new document in the frontmost application
    Command-O Display a dialog for choosing a document to open in the frontmost application
    Command-P Display the Print dialog
    Shift-Command-P Display a dialog for specifying printing parameters (Page Setup)
    Command-Q Quit the frontmost application
    Command-S Save the active document
    Shift-Command-S Display the Save As dialog
    Command-T Display the Fonts window
    Option-Command-T Show or hide a toolbar
    Command-U Underline the selected text or turn underlining on or off
    Command-V Paste the Clipboard contents at the insertion point
    Option-Command-V Apply the style of one object to the selected object (Paste Style)
    Option-Shift-Command-V Apply the style of the surrounding text to the inserted object (Paste and Match Style)
    Control-Command-V Apply formatting settings to the selected object (Paste Ruler Command)
    Command-W Close the frontmost window
    Shift-Command-W Close a file and its associated windows
    Option-Command-W Close all windows in the application without quitting it
    Command-X Remove the selection and store in the Clipboard
    Command-Z Undo previous command (some applications allow for multiple Undos)
    Shift-Command-Z Redo previous command (some applications allow for multiple Redos)
    Control-Right Arrow Move focus to another value or cell within a view, such as a table
    Control-Left Arrow Move focus to another value or cell within a view, such as a table
    Control-Down Arrow Move focus to another value or cell within a view, such as a table
    Control-Up Arrow Move focus to another value or cell within a view, such as a table
    Command-Right Arrow Move the text insertion point to the end of the current line
    Command-Left Arrow Move the text insertion point to the beginning of the current line
    Command-Down Arrow Move the text insertion point to the end of the document
    Command-Up Arrow Move the text insertion point to the beginning of the document
    Shift-Command-Right Arrow

    Select text between the insertion point and the end of the current line (*)

    Shift-Command-Left Arrow Select text between the insertion point and the beginning of the current line (*)
    Shift-Right Arrow Extend text selection one character to the right (*)
    Shift-Left Arrow Extend text selection one character to the left (*)
    Shift-Command-Up Arrow Select text between the insertion point and the beginning of the document (*)
    Shift-Command-Down Arrow Select text between the insertion point and the end of the document (*)
    Shift-Up Arrow Extend text selection to the line above, to the nearest character boundary at the same horizontal location (*)
    Shift-Down Arrow Extend text selection to the line below, to the nearest character boundary at the same horizontal location (*)
    Shift-Option-Right Arrow Extend text selection to the end of the current word, then to the end of the following word if pressed again (*)
    Shift-Option-Left Arrow Extend text selection to the beginning of the current word, then to the beginning of the following word if pressed again (*)
    Shift-Option-Down Arrow Extend text selection to the end of the current paragraph, then to the end of the following paragraph if pressed again (*)
    Shift-Option-Up Arrow Extend text selection to the beginning of the current paragraph, then to the beginning of the following paragraph if pressed again (*)
    Control-Space Toggle between the current and previous input sources
    Option-Control-Space Toggle through all enabled input sources
    Option-Command-esc Force Quit

    (*) Note: If no text is selected, the extension begins at the insertion point. If text is selected by dragging, then the extension begins at the selection boundary. Reversing the direction of the selection deselects the appropriate unit.


    Universal Access - VoiceOver keyboard commands

    For information about VoiceOver key combination differences in Mac OS X v10.6, see this article.

    Key combination What it does
    Command-F5 or
    fn Command-F5 Turn VoiceOver on or off
    Control Option-F8 or
    fn Control Option-F8 Open VoiceOver Utility
    Control Option-F7 or
    fn Control Option-F7 Display VoiceOver menu
    Control Option-;
    or fn Control Option-; Enable/disable VoiceOver Control Option-lock
    Option-Command-8 or
    fn Command-F11 Turn on Zoom
    Option-Command-+ Zoom In
    Option-Command- - (minus) Zoom Out
    Option-Control-Command-8 Invert/revert the screen colors
    Control Option-Command-, Reduce contrast
    Control Option-Command-. Increase contrast

    Note: You may need to enable "Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard keys" in Keyboard preferences for the VoiceOver menu and utility to work.


    Universal Access - Mouse Keys

    When Mouse Keys is turned on in Universal Access preferences, you can use the keyboard or numeric keypad keys to move the mouse pointer. If your computer doesn't have a numeric keypad, use the Fn (function) key.

    Key combination What it does

    8 Move Up
    2 Move Down
    4 Move Left
    6 Move Right
    1 Move Diagonally Bottom Left
    3 Move Diagonally Bottom Right
    7 Move Diagonally Top Left
    9 Move Diagonally Top Right
    5 Press Mouse Button
    0 Hold Mouse Button
    . (period on number pad) Release Hold Mouse Button

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    Disable Inertia Scrolling in Mac OS X Lion




    Flick down with two fingers on a trackpad or Magic Mouse in Mac OS X Lion and you’ll experience inertial scrolling, where after your finger has stopped moving the page continues to scroll in the intended direction until it slowly stops. This fluid and natural scrolling experience comes from the iOS world, and while it works quite well on the desktop, it’s not for everyone.

    Open System Preferences from the  Apple menu

    Click on “Universal Access” and then click on “Mouse & Trackpad”

    Near the bottom, click on “Trackpad Options” button

    Next to the “Scrolling” checkbox, click so that “without inertia” is set then click “OK” and close out of System Preferences

    Intertial scrolling is now off. Try to scroll now, and even if you flick your fingers the scrolling will end immediately when you lifted them from the trackpad, just like it’s 2005 again.

    Note that in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, intertial scrolling was called “scrolling with momentum” instead, and the option was contained within the standard Trackpad & Mouse preference panel.

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    Enable Hidden Dock Stack Gestures in Mac OS X Lion




    Here’s another awesome tip from Keir Thomas, the author of a new book called Mac Kung Fu, which contains over 300 tips and tricks for OS X Lion. He’s the same guy who discovered the iTunes “Now Playing” notification tip and the Quick Look select text tip. Here’s the tip direct from Keir:

    This is a neat little hack that lets you activate any stack within the Dock by hovering over it and making the scroll gesture on a multitouch trackpad or Magic Mouse, or by rolling the scroll wheel on a mouse.

    Do the same trick while hovering the mouse cursor over an app icon in the Dock, and App Exposé will activate. You will see open program windows for that particular app and—with compatible apps—the app’s document history. This is similar to the App Exposé option within the More Gestures section of the Trackpad entry within System Preferences.

    However, in each case, once you’ve activated the secret setting, you need to scroll up to activate (that is, to make the stack expand), and then scroll down to deactivate (to make the stack hide again). You’ll need to scroll a substantial amount to activate the feature so that OS X knows you’re doing it on purpose and not accidentally. In other words, you’ll need to flick the scroll wheel up rather than just rotate it a few clicks.

    To activate this hidden feature, open a Terminal window and type the following:

    defaults write com.apple.dock scroll-to-open -bool TRUE;killall Dock

    The changes take effect immediately. To deactivate this feature, open a Terminal window and type the following:

    defaults delete com.apple.dock scroll-to-open;killall Dock

    11-30-11


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    Disable the Empty Trash Warning in Mac OS X




    Tired of having to approve the Trash being emptied in Mac OS X? You can either hold down the Option key when emptying the trashcan, or you can turn off the Trash warning dialog window completely in Finder preferences:

    From the desktop, click on the “Finder” menu and choose “Preferences”

    Click on the “Advanced” tab

    Uncheck the box next to “Show warning before emptying the Trash”

    From here on out you won’t get a dialog confirmation when emptying the Trash.

    12-2-11


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    Warning: Don’t leave your iPhone unattended or risk pranks, data theft




    Thanks to the quick Camera access and power of Siri as a virtual assistant, iOS 5 and iPhone 4S are more convenient than ever — but they also leave you open to everything from pranks to data theft. We’ve talked about this extensively on the iPhone Live podcast but it’s worth repeating here.


    Double clicking the Home button and tapping the Camera icon bypasses a Passcode Lock and instantly lets you take pictures. You can’t access anything else, but if you leave your iPhone unattended, a friend or passerby can easily prank you by taking an inappropriate picture (from innocuous “funny faces” to to full on “junk attacks” — don’t ask.) If you have Photo Stream enabled, that prank picture can quickly propagate to all your other iOS devices, your PC, and your Apple TV, and the only way to remove it is to delete the entire stream.

    You can’t currently disable the fast Camera access. You can disable Photo Stream by going to Settings, iCloud, and toggling Photo Stream to Off.

    Holding down the Home button to activate Siri also bypasses the Passcode Lock, and while Siri is prohibited from doing things like deleting contacts or performing web searches without the lock code being entered, Siri can still call numbers, delete alarms, and perform other tasks unencumbered. If someone knows a contact’s name, they can get access to their email address(es), phone number(s), etc. Even if they don’t know a contact’s name, because relationships can be set, they can simple ask for “mom” or “boss” and get the data that way.

    Friends and strangers alike can also prank you by telling Siri to address you by some funny or rude name.

    You can disable Siri’s Passcode bypass. Go to Settings, General, Passcode Lock and flip the Siri toggle to Off.

    Convenience and security are always at opposite ends of any feature list. Each individual has to decide for themselves how much convenience they want and how much security they’re willing to give up for it. (Some people choose to not even use a Passcode Lock, after all.)

    Disabling Siri’s Passcode bypass reduces its speed and ease of use but increases its security. You can’t just hold a button and start talking to have Siri take an email, for example, while you’re driving. You have to enter the unlock code first, and perhaps each time depending on your settings.

    Unfortunately, Camera access and Photo Stream need to wait for Apple to provide an easy off-toggle, and a way to delete individual pictures from the stream. Disabling Photo Stream contains any pranks, but means you lose the backup and multi-device replication of the feature.

    In the meantime, the best practice is, of course, to never leave your iPhone unattended, especially around people you don’t know — or people you can’t trust not to prank you.


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    Quickly Select the Startup Disk on the Mac OS X Desktop




    Want to quickly find and select your boot disk amidst a variety of other internal and external drives? Just hit Command+Shift+↑ (Command + Shift + Up Arrow) to immediately choose the startup drive on the Mac OS X desktop from anywhere in the Finder.

    This command is what the Go To Parent folder shortcut turns into when you hold down the Shift key, which is appropriate given the startup disk is the ultimate root directory to anything else on the boot volume.

    12-5-11


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    Quickly Sleep the Display in Mac OS X with a Hot Corner




    You can quickly sleep the display of a Mac or immediately start a screen saver by setting up Hot Corners, which are activated just by sliding your cursor into the specified corners of the screen.

    Setting up Hot Corners has been moved in Mac OS X Lion as part of Mission Control, here’s how to set it up:

    Launch System Preferences and click on “Mission Control”

    Click on “Hot Corners…” in the lower left corner

    Set the screen corners you want to use to “Put Display to Sleep”

    Close out of System Preferences and test the Hot Corner by sliding your cursor into that screens corner

    In the screenshot example, the lower right corner is set to put the display to sleep, while the lower left corner starts the screen saver. Sleeping the display is more akin to turning it off, and it’s not the same as putting the Mac to sleep.

    If moving the cursor isn’t your preference, you can also setup a keyboard shortcut to lock the Mac screen. In both cases, if you have a password enabled for the lock or screensaver screen you will need to enter the login credentials again to regain access to the Mac OS X desktop.

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    Lock a Mac Screen



    Lock your Mac Screen



    The absolute fastest and easiest way to lock the screen in Mac OS X is with a simple keyboard shortcut: Control+Shift+Eject

    Hit that key combination and your Mac screen will go dark. This also locks the Mac screen, requiring a user to enter a password before the Mac can be accessed again… if you have the setting enabled.

    If you don’t have the feature enabled, here’s how to set this up on any Mac:



    Enable the Lock Screen in Mac OS X



    This will cause the above keyboard shortcut to lock the screen with a password:

    Launch System Preferences

    Click on “Security” and look under the “General” tab

    Click the checkbox next to “Require password after sleep or screen saver begins” – select either immediately or 5 seconds as the time interval

    Exit out of System Preferences






    The Mac OS X lock screen is the same as what you see when you wake a Mac from sleep or a screensaver when this feature is enabled, so remember that if you use a screensaver that auto-activates or sleep your Mac regularly, you’ll also be entering your password.

    This feature is highly recommended to enable in offices, schools, and any other environment where you may have sensitive data on your Mac that you want to keep from prying eyes.

    If you happen to forget your Mac password, you can reset it through a few different methods.


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    Add Pull-To-Refresh to Mac OS X in Chrome & Safari



    iOS popularized the pull-to-refresh gesture, where pulling down and releasing on browser and app windows causes them to refresh their contents. With the help of a browser extension, we can bring the same pull to refresh feature to Mac OS X 10.7 in either the Chrome or Safari web browsers:

    Extension for Chrome


    Extension for Safari – requires an Apple Safari Dev certificate

    Installation is just a matter of clicking on the appropriate browser extension and opening a new browser window, which it will then be active in. The pull to refresh extension works best with trackpads and a two-fingered pull down, you will see a small black message box appear in the browser window indicating the refresh will occur if the pull is released.

    You can add this to the list of things to make Mac OS X more like iOS, but I’d wager that future versions of browsers will probably include this feature, which some Mac apps already support.






    Update: The Safari extension currently requires an Apple Developer Certificate to build and install, you can use the pre-built version posted in the comments at your own risk, or wait for the developer to release a bundled version. In the meantime, the Chrome extension is still easy to install.

    12-6-11


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