30+ Mac Commands and Keyboard Combinations to Boost Apple User Productivity

Mastering useful keyboard tricks on Apple computers makes you a step closer to becoming a Mac, power user. Each time you have to interrupt your typing to click a mouse button, use a touchpad, or tap a screen you are wasting precious time. Owners of MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac mini, and iMac can elevate their work productivity using basic Mac OS X keys combinations or assign their own. macOS Sierra has quick shortcuts for literally any type of actions. You can make application windows pop open with a single hotkey. How cool is that?

mac commands

How to Select All on Mac

Using the Command-A key combination to Select All in any application on Mac is a real timesaver. With this universal shortcut, you can select all folders and files in a Finder window, all pictures in the iPhoto library, or a page of text.


Keyboard Shortcut for Copy on Mac

Command-C is a well-known keyboard shortcut to copy items to the Clipboard on Mac. It works for copying text and files in the Finder likewise. There are less-known variations of this shortcut users should know about:

  • Option-Command-C serves for copying the style and formatting settings of a given item to the Clipboard.
  • Pressing the Option key while dragging the item will copy it.

Keyboard Shortcut for Cut on Mac

Use the Command-X key combination to cut the selected item or piece of text to the Clipboard. You can then paste it into a text or graphics editor.


How to Paste on Mac

Are you using keyboard shortcuts to paste files, folders, or blocks of text on your Mac? Apart from the standard Command-V key combination, there are several others:

  • Option-Command-Shift-V is a ‘Paste and Match Style’ shortcut. It allows using the style and formatting of the surrounding content to the item pasted into that content.
  • Option-Command-V allows applying the copied style to the selected item.

Delete Shortcut on Mac

As soon as you know how to copy, paste and cut on Mac, it’s about time you learned how to delete items and blocks of text. Use the Delete key separately or in a key combination when working in a text editor:

  • Option-Delete will remove the word to the left of the cursor.
  • Control-H or Delete will delete the character to the left of the cursor.
  • Control-D or Fn-Delete will delete the character to the right of the cursor.
  • Fn-Delete or Control-D will forward delete on keyboards without a Forward Delete
  • Control-K will delete the text between the cursor and the end of the line or paragraph.
  • Command-Delete will select Delete or Don't Save in a dialog that contains a Delete or Don't Save button.

Using keyboard shortcuts with Delete on Mac, you can move items to Trash and empty the Trash bin with or without confirmation.

  • Option-Shift-Command-Delete will empty the Trash without confirmation.
  • Shift-Command-Delete will Empty the Trash.
  • Command-Delete will move the selected item to the Trash.

How to Close a Window on Mac

Keyboard shortcuts allow doing different actions with windows in Finder. Users can minimize, hide, and close application windows.

  • Command-H shortcut allows hiding the windows of the front
  • Command-Option-H brings back the active app window but hides all other apps.
  • Command-M will minimize the active window to the Dock.
  • Command-Option-M will minimize all windows of the front
  • Command-W will quit the front window.
  • Command-Option-W will quit all windows of the app.
  • Option-double-click will open a folder in a separate window and quit the current window.

Is There an Undo Shortcut on Mac?

Sometimes files, folders, or text paragraphs are deleted by mistake. Is there a way to undo an action and bring a deleted item back?

  • Command-Z will undo the previous action or command.
  • Command-Shift-Z will reverse the undo command (Redo). Particular applications let you undo and redo multiple commands.

Mac Sleep Shortcut

Sleep states allow decreasing the power consumption when a Mac computer goes idle. Several sleep states are available: Sleep, Standby and Safe Sleep. To put a Mac machine to sleep, use either of the following:

  • Close the lid of your MacBook laptop.
  • Press the Power button and hold it for 1.5 seconds to see the dialog with options.
  • Press Control–Power button, or Control–Media Eject to put your Mac to sleep immediately.
  • Select Sleep from the Apple menu.
  • Press the Control–Shift–Power, or Command-Shift-Media Eject key combination to put displays to sleep.

Mac Find Command Key Combination

Keyboard shortcuts can help you find a specific item in a document fast.

  • Command-F to find items in a document or access a Find
  • Command-G to find the next occurrence of the item that you found
  • Command-Shift-G to find the previous occurrence of the item.
  • Command-Semicolon (;) to locate misspelled words in the document.

How to Create Keyboard Shortcuts for Mac Apps?

Apart from standard keyboard shortcuts, Mac users can assign the ones of their own to apps and menu commands in any app, including the Finder. Follow these steps to set a keyboard shortcut for an application:

  1. Choose Apple menu -> System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts.

Keyboard Shortcuts

  1. In the left sidebar, choose App Shortcuts. Click the ‘Add’ button -> click the Application pop-up menu -> select a specific app.
  2. If the needed application is missing, choose ‘Other’ -> find the application using the ‘Open’ dialog.

To set a keyboard shortcut for a menu command within an application:

  1. Click the ‘Add’ button -> click the Application pop-up menu -> select All Applications.
  2. In the Menu Title field, type in a specific menu command you want to create a shortcut for.

Note: Type in the menu command exactly as it appears in the app, including all characters and punctuation marks.

  1. Choose the key combination to use as the keyboard shortcut in the Keyboard Shortcut field.
  2. Click the ‘Add’ button.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a Mac power user is impossible without knowing basic keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys. Users have an option of utilizing standard Mac key combinations as well as assign their own. Hotkeys and shortcuts will help elevate your productivity and save your precious time. Get the most of your Mac with handy keyboard shortcuts!