For years I’ve collected these keystrokes. I hope they help you become the power user that lies within. They have been tested in Mac OS X El Capitan (Mac OS 10.11) but most should work on other versions of Mac OS (10.10 Yosemite, 10.9 Mavericks, 10.8 Mountain Lion, etc.).

ArrowsCommandControlDelete LeftDelete RightEjectEndEnterEscapeHomeOptionPage DownPage UpReturnShiftTab

Menu Symbols

SymbolKey on Keyboard
Command keyCommand (or Cmd)
Like the Control key on Windows/PC. Formerly known as the Apple key.
Option keyOption (like Alt on Windows/PC)
Shift keyShift
Control keyControl (Control-click = Right-click)
Tab keyTab
Return keyReturn
Enter keyEnter (on Number Pad)
Eject keyEject
Escape keyEscape
Page Up keyPage Up
Page Down keyPage Down
Home keyHome
End keyEnd
Arrow keysArrow Keys
Delete Left keyDelete Left (like Backspace on Windows/PC)
Delete Right keyDelete Right (also called Forward Delete)


Open Sidebar item in a new Tab or Window (depending on Finder Preferences)Cmd-Click
Switch Finder views
(Icon, List, Column, Cover Flow)
Cmd-1, Cmd-2, Cmd-3, Cmd-4
In List view, expand a folderRight Arrow
In List view, collapse a folderLeft Arrow
Rename the selected file/folderPress Return (or Enter)
Go into selected folder or open the selected fileCmd-Down Arrow
Go to parent folderCmd-Up Arrow
Go BackCmd-[
Go ForwardCmd-]
Select the next icon in Icon and List viewsTab (Shift-Tab reverses direction)
Alternate columns in Column ViewTab (Shift-Tab reverses direction)
Resize one column to fit the longest file name (Column View)Double-Click column divider (or the resize widget at the bottom of the column divider, depending on your setup)
Resize all columns to fit their longest file names (Column View)Option Double-Click column divider (or the resize widget at the bottom of the column divider, depending on your setup)
Copy and Paste filesCmd-C, then Cmd-V
Copy and Paste files Exactly (Keeps original ownership & permissions. Requires Admin username & password.)Cmd-C, then Cmd-Option-Shift-V
Cut and Paste files (Move files)Cmd-C, then Cmd-Option–V
Move a file instead of copying (Copies to the destination and removes it from the original disk.)Cmd-Drag file to disk
Immediately Delete a File (does not put file in Trash)Cmd-Opt–Delete
Move selected files to the Trash (called the Recycle Bin in Windows)Cmd-Delete
Empty the Trash with warning (like emptying Recycle Bin in Windows)Cmd-Shift-Delete
Empty the Trash with no warning (like emptying Recycle Bin in Windows)Cmd-Opt-Shift-Delete
Cancel a drag-n-drop action while in the midst of draggingEsc
Show Inspector (a single, live refreshing Info window)Cmd-Opt-I
Undo the last action (such as rename file, copy file, etc.)Cmd-Z
Hide/Show Sidebar (on the left)Cmd-Opt-S
Hide/Show Toolbar (on the top) and the SidebarCmd-Opt-T
Move or Remove item in toolbar (at the top of the window). Works in most programs.Cmd-Drag
Open Quick Look (Previews most types of files without having to open them)Press the Spacebar (or Cmd-Y). On a trackpad can also tap with 3 fingers.
Zoom In/Out in Quick Look (Images & PDFs)Pinch on a trackpad or hold Opt while scrolling. For images, hold Option to zoom to 100%.
Find FilesCmd-F

App Switcher

Quickly switch between 2 apps (like Safari & Finder)Press Cmd-Tab to switch to last used app.
Press Cmd-Tab again to switch back.
Switch between appsPress Cmd-Tab & continue holding Cmd. While holding Cmd, to choose which app you want to switch to:
  • press Tab (multiple times as needed) to scroll right
  • press Tilde(~) or Shift-Tab to scroll left
  • press Left/Right Arrow keys
  • aim with the mouse
  • press End/Home key to go to first/last app
Quit an app in the app switcherIn the app switcher, you’re already holding Cmd, so hit Q to quit selected app.
Hide an app in the app switcherIn the app switcher, you’re already holding Cmd, so hit H to hide selected app.
Cancel the app switcherIn the app switcher, you’re already holding Cmd, so hit Esc or period(.)

Managing Windows & Dialogs

Switch to next windowCmd-Tilde(~)
Switch to previous windowCmd-Shift-Tilde(~)
See where the File/Folder is located (a menu will pop-up displaying the folder hierarchy). Works in most programs, including the Finder.Cmd-Click on name of the window (in the titlebar)
Move a window in the background without switching to it.Cmd-Drag on the window’s titlebar
Choose “Don’t Save” in a DialogCmd-D in some apps, but other apps use Cmd-Delete (Cmd-D will change the location to the Desktop)


Hide all other applications (except the one you're clicking on)Command-Option click an App’s icon in Dock
Reveal a Dock item’s location in the FinderCommand Click on the icon in the Dock
Force a file to open in a specific appWhile dragging the file onto an app’s icon in the Dock, hold Command-Option
In an App’s Dock menu change the Quit to Force Quit (Click & hold on an App in the Dock to show the menu)Hold Option while in Dock menu
Move Dock to left, bottom, right side of screenHold Shift and drag Dock divider
Change the icon size of a stack (must be the grid view)Cmd-plus(+) or Cmd-minus(–)
Temporarily turn magnification on/offHold Control-Shift
Force the Dock to only resize to non-interpolated icon sizesHold Option while dragging Dock separator


Close a widget without having to open the widget dockHold Option and hover over widget (close box will appear)
Reload/Refresh a widgetCmd-R

Working with Text Only work in some apps (Safari, Mail, TextEdit, etc.)

Go to end of lineCmd-right arrow
Go to beginning of lineCmd-left arrow
Go to end of all the textCmd-down arrow
Go to beginning of all the textCmd-up arrow
Go to end of current or next wordOption-right arrow
Go to beginning of current or previous wordOption-left arrow
Add Shift to the above keystrokes to make a selection to that point.
On Laptops: Delete Text to the right of the cursor (like the Del key on a full keyboard)Function(fn)-Delete
Non-touching (Discontinuous) text selectionsCommand-drag
Select non-linear areasOption-drag
Delete entire word to the leftOpt-Delete
Paste and Match Style (so it looks the same as the text you are pasting into)Cmd–Opt-Shift–V
Look up word in dictionaryMouse over a word and hit Cmd-Ctrl-D (Or on a trackpad use 3 fingers to tap on a word)
Display Emoji pop-upCommand-Control-Space (You can then start typing to search the list of Emojis)
Display Special/Alternate CharactersHold any key. Example: Holding the “A” key will display à á â etc. You can press the corresponding number under the character you want to type to choose it (or arrow over to it).
Auto completion wordStart typing the word. Press Esc (or F5) to open suggested word list
Switch to Outline Mode in TextEdit
  • Press Option-Tab to convert the current line into a list item
  • Press Return to create another list item
  • Press Tab at the start of a blank list item to indent it, creating a sublist
  • Press Shift-Tab to remove a level of indention
  • Press Return twice to decrease the indent, exiting the current sublist/list

Screenshots Saved to the Desktop as a PNG file.

Take picture of the entire screenCmd-Shift-3
Take picture of a selected areaCmd-Shift-4 and Drag over an area
While dragging:
  • Hold Spacebar to move selected area.
  • Hold Shift to change size in one direction only (horizontal or vertical)
  • Hold Option for center-based resizing.
Take picture of a specific window/objectCmd-Shift-4, then press Spacebar, then Click on the window/object
Hold Control with any of the above keystrokes to copy the screenshot to the clipboard instead of making a file.


Show Spotlight SearchCmd-Space
Open Spotlight Finder Search WindowCmd-Option-Space
Launch Top Hit (in the Menu)Return
Reveal selected item in FinderIn Spotlight Search: Press Cmd-Return
In Finder Window: Press Cmd-R
Skip to first result in a categoryCmd Up/Down Arrow
Look up the definition of a wordType the word in Spotlight menu’s search field and hit Cmd–L to look it up.
Clear Spotlight SearchEsc clears to do another search.
Esc a second time closes Spotlight.

Mission Control

Enter Mission ControlCtrl-Up Arrow
Move to a neighboring space or full screen appCtrl-Left or Right Arrow
View Windows in the Current AppCtrl-Down Arrow
Show DesktopF11 (may need to hold the fn buton on some keyboards)
Show DashboardF12 (may need to hold the fn buton on some keyboards) or the dedicated Dashboard key

Startup, Restart, Shutdown & Sleep

Eject CD on bootHold Mouse button down immediately after powering on
Safe bootHold Shift during startup
Start up in FireWire Target Disk modeHold T during startup
Startup from a CD, DVDHold C during startup
Bypass primary startup volume and seek a different startup volume (CD, etc.)Hold Cmd-Opt-Shift-Delete during startup
Choose Startup disk before bootingHold Option during startup
Start up in Verbose modeHold Cmd-V during startup
Start up in Single-User mode (command line)Hold Cmd-S during startup
Shutdown immediately (no confirmation)Hold Cmd-Opt-Ctrl and press the Eject key or Power button
Restart immediately (no confirmation)Cmd-Ctrl-Eject
Forced Restart (only do this when absolutely needed)Cmd-Ctrl-Power button
Sleep immediately (no confirmation)Press the Power button (or hit Cmd-Opt-Eject)
Show Dialog with Restart, Sleep & Shutdown OptionsHold Ctrl and press the Eject key or Power button (or hold the Power button for a few seconds and the dialog will appear)
Put display to sleepHold Ctrl-Shift and press the Eject key or Power button


Highlight URL/Search Field (at top of window)Cmd–L
Switch to Next TabCtrl-Tab (or Cmd-Shift-Right Arrow)
Switch to Previous TabCtrl-Shift-Tab (or Cmd-Shift-Left Arrow)
Switch tabs: jump directly to the first tab, second tab, etc.
(If you change the preference, this will go to one of the first 9 bookmarks in the Bookmarks Bar.)
Cmd-1 through Cmd-9
Move between found itemsCmd-F, enter your search text and Press:
Return to Move Forward
Shift-Return to Move Backward
Cancel current FindPress Escape or Cmd-Period(.)
Scroll by one full screenScroll Down: Spacebar or Option–Down Arrow
Scroll Up: Shift–Spacebar or Option-Up Arrow
Open Link in New Tab (in the background)Cmd–Click a link
Open Link in New WindowCmd–Opt–Shift Click a link
Add to Reading ListShift–Click a link

Apple Mail

Send MessageCmd–Shift–D (remember as D = Deliver)
Reply to MessageCmd–R or Opt–Double Click Message
Reply AllCmd–Shift–R
Go to InboxCmd–1
Go to other mailboxes in your favorites barCmd–2, 3, etc.
Prevent the next message from being automatically selected & marked as readOpt–Delete


Zoom In or OutCmd-Plus(+) or Cmd-Minus(-)
Zoom to Actual SizeCmd-0
Zoom to FitCmd-9


Force Quit (displayed list of apps)Cmd-Opt-Esc
Scroll using a Trackpad (like a mouse’s scroll wheel)
Slide 2 fingers on the trackpad
Right-click using a Trackpad (like on a 2 button mouse)Place 2 fingers on the trackpad and Click
Quickly find any menu item and launch it.
  1. Press Cmd-? which is Cmd-Shift-/
  2. In the Help menu Search that opens, start typing a few letters of your desired menu command.
  3. Arrow key down to the item you want and press Return to choose it.
If an app re-opens with the windows that were open when you last quit it, you can tell it not to re-open the windows.Hold Shift while launching an app
Turn off notifications (turn on Do Not Disturb)Option-click the Notification Center icon in menu bar to toggle notifications off/on
Change system volume in smaller incrementsHold Opt–Shift while changing volume
Change system volume with confirmation beepsHold Shift while changing volume (prior to Yosemite this would disable the beeps)
Turn display mirroring on/off (when connected to an additional display)Command–Brightness Down (F1)
Completely smooth scrolling, one pixel at a time (does not work in all apps)Hold Option while dragging scrollbar
Open “Sound” panel of System PreferencesPress Option and a Sound key (Mute, Volume Up or Down)
Open “Displays” panel of System PreferencesPress Option and a Brightness key
Customize the toolbar at the top of a window. Works in the Finder, Apple Mail, Preview, etc. but not some apps, like Firefox.
  • Cmd drag icons to rearrange.
  • Cmd drag icon off toolbar to remove.
  • Ctrl-click toolbar and choose Customize for more options.
Move the Terminal cursor with the mouseOption–click where you’d like the cursor
Change Terminal Directory to a specific folder (cd into the folder)Cmd-Drag a folder onto the Terminal Window

Emacs Key Bindings Only work in some apps (Safari, Mail, TextEdit, etc.)

ActionKeystrokeRemember As
Go to start of line (move cursor to start of line)Ctrl-AA = Start of alphabet
Go to end of line (move cursor to end of line)Ctrl-EE = End
Go up one lineCtrl-PP = Previous
Go down one lineCtrl-NN = Next
Go back a character (move cursor left)Ctrl-BB = Back
Go forward a character (move cursor right)Ctrl-FF = Forward
Delete the character to the right of the cursorCtrl-DD = Delete
Delete the character to the left of the cursorCtrl-H
Delete the selection or to the end of the line (acts like cutting the text)Ctrl-KK = Kill
Yank back the killed text (acts like pasting)Ctrl-YY = Yank
Scroll downCtrl-V
Center the current line in the windowCtrl-L
Insert line break after the cursor without moving the cursorCtrl-O
Transpose letters (swaps letters on left and right of cursor)Ctrl-TT = Transpose

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