Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

One of the reasons the Mac is considered “more intuitive” than Windows is it’s reliance on a standard set of keyboard controls and input methods, no matter which program you were operating in. Depending on the version of Windows and the program you were using, to create a new window, sometimes it is Control-F1, or Control-N, or Alt-N, or whatever. Printing was sometimes Control-P, sometimes Alt-P; basically, it differed in every program. There is no point in me trying to point out the commands, Microsoft has done it for me If you watch a seasoned Mac user, most of the new users can’t understand how we “move so quickly” around the interface – it’s because everything we do, no matter the version of the operating system, the commands were the same. You don’t have to remember which program you were using to recall what keys you needed to hit just to save the current document or print. It is always the same.

On the Mac, the Apple, or Command, Key, is labeled with this symbol: ⌘. With that key, no matter which program you were in, you know that ⌘-P would print, and ⌘-N would create a new document or new window, regardless of the program you were using. The only exception to that rule that I can think of is ⌘-S, which saves your work in nearly every program, but in FileMaker, it brings up the Sort command – and that is simply because FileMaker always saves your work for you automatically after every entry.

So here is the list of the commands that work no matter which program you are in:

⌘ + Q = Quit the current application
⌘ + W = Close the frontmost window; if you hold down the Option Key (⌥), sometimes labeled Alt (to the left or right of the ⌘), in many programs, that will close all open Windows. It’s very handy if you have a ton of Finder windows open!
⌘ + O = Open a file in your application, or open a file in the default application from the Finder
⌘ + P = Print
⌘ + C = Copy
⌘ + V = Paste
⌘ + X = Cut
⌘ + S = Save
⌘ + Z = Undo
⌘ + A = Select All
⌘ + Y or Space = Quicklook (10.5 (Leopard) only!)
⌘ + Tab = Cycle through windows
⌘ + Shift + Tab = Cycle through windows in reverse order

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