Top Five Coolest Best Mac Shortcuts!

I love Mac keyboard shortcuts, I can’t get enough of them. They are a bit like Krispy Kreme donuts… Once you try or learn about one, they become addictive and within 10 minutes you realise you have just polished off the entire box of 12. Yikes! But instead of your addiction to the exciting frosting flavours increasing your waistline, learning Mac keyboard shortcuts will only increase your productivity and brain size.

There are literally countless Mac keyboard shortcut combinations. Hey, you can even create your own Mac shortcuts! Unless you are a real life Dustin Hoffman Rain Man, who has super human memory skills, I would stick to learning and perfecting the shortcuts that will help you the most.

In our previous article Top 10 Mac Keyboard Shortcuts Every Mac User Should know, we teach you how to shut down Mac, force quite stubborn apps. How to cut, copy and paste and even instantly bring up your Spotlight search.

While the Mac keyword shortcut combinations in the articles above are helpful classics, the list below are a little more unusual, but equally helpful…


1.) How to Zoom in and Zoom Out

Picture this – you are about to surf the web, write a text document or begin reading chart topping virtual novel, but realise you have forgotten your spectacles. Instead of leaving the comfort of your seat to march upstairs and fetch them, you could just ‘ZOOM’ into your text!

To Zoom In, press the key combo Command and +

Zoom mac keyboard shortcut

Alternatively you may wish to see the bigger picture…To Zoom Out, press the key combo  Command and –

zoom mac shortcut


2.) How to Look up a Word with Mac Dictionary

This Mac keyboard shortcut is undoubtedly the easiest way to look up a word. Whether you are on a web page or text document and come across a baffling word, you can instantly look it up by doing the following…

Click you cursor on the word. (So your dictionary knows which spelling to bring up.) Then tap in  Command and Control and D

Mac Dictionary Shortcut


3.) How to Take a Mac Screen Shot

There are infinite reasons why you may wish to take a screen shot. You may want to take a cool still from your favourite blockbuster or home movie. I personally always use it whenever I purchase an item online. I take a screen shot of my order confirmations. Just incase anything goes wrong, I have visual proof of purchase.

You may notice somewhere else I always use this handy function…. spotted it yet? Every image I have posted in this tutorial as been taken using a screen shot on my Mac.

There are two ways to take a screen shot -Full Screen and Partial. A full screen snap shot records every bit of your screen, toolbar and all. With a partial screen shot, you are able to click and drag a section of your screen you wish to capture.

Full Screen shot – press Command and Shift and 3

mac screen shot

Partial screen shot – press Command and Shift and 4

how to take a mac screen shot


4.) Instantly Minimize Windows

If you have a lot of windows open, from all types of applications, it can be a nightmare if you wish to check something on your desktop. Instead of manually minimizing each and every window individually, you can use this nifty Mac keyboard shortcut.

Command and Option and M

minimize window mac shortcut


5.) Check Your Emails

If you are a busy bee and always checking your never ending inbox or typing away emails, this simple Mac shortcut will save you oodles of hours in the future.

Command and Shift and I

open mail mac shortcut

So there we have it, some seriously cool Mac keyword shortcuts. If you know any more, please feel free to get in touch, we always love to hear from our readers!

How to Create Keyboard Shortcuts for Mac Apps

If you have been reading our previous articles on the wonders of Mac keyboard shortcuts, you are no doubt in awe of how much easier they can make your virtual life. Why bother sieving through tedious menus when a few taps of your fingers can get you to your destination in an instant! It’s like magic.

While you may have already looked up our Top Ten Mac Keyword Shortcuts Every Mac Users Should Know and our browsed or step-by-step tutorial on ‘How to Customize Your keyboard Shortcuts on Mac’. You may not be familiar with how to create shortcuts for Mac Apps….

Did you know that your amazing Apple machine allows you to create and assign your own keyboard shortcuts to menu commands, in nearly all of your OS X Mac applications and Finder…

Learning how to create keyboard shortcuts for Mac apps, can be very useful if you are forever forgetting the current commands. Making up you own should help you to remember them. It is also particularly handy if one of the ‘global’ keyboard shortcuts (a shortcut that performs the same task in most apps) crosses over and collides with another function on another app. If you use this function in the other app a lot, you could make things simpler by assigning your own key combination.

Note: Unfortunately we can not concoct our own commands. We can only alter the Mac keyboard shortcuts for existing OS X commands.

Now lets delve into the step-by-step tutorial!


How to Create Keyboard Shortcuts for Mac Apps

If you are no stranger to creating your own Mac shortcuts, you will be an expert at the first few steps. Feel free to skip ahead to step 5, to learn about specifically customizing shortcuts for Mac apps.

1.) Click on your () Apple Menu from the left hand side of your desktop toolbar.
2.) Select the option ‘System Preferences’ from the drop down menu.
3.) A new window will open displaying a range of colorful Mac app icons. Cruise through the options until you see one marked ‘Keyboard’ (it should be in the second row). Go ahead and click on it.

keyboard shortcuts on mac
4.) Near the top of the ‘Keyboard’ preference window are four tabs. Select the one in the middle named ‘Shortcuts’.
5.) There are two columns in your Keyboard preference window. From the first, smaller column highlight ‘App Shortcuts’ with a single to create keybaord shortcuts for mac apps
6.) Now you should notice under the second column a + and – has appeared. Click on the + button.
7.) A new mini window will pop up. You can automatically alter a menu command for all your apps if you wish by leaving Application: ‘All Applications’. Alternatively you can click on this field and select an individual Mac app from the drop down menu.

If the application you wish to assign a Mac keyboard shortcut to is not on the list, select ‘Other’. You will then be able to look for it and select if from your Mac Applications folder. Bear in mind, not all apps allow you to create and customize shortcuts.

Keyboard Shortcuts for Mac Apps

8.) Next type the menu command you wish to add a Mac keyboard shortcut to into the blank ‘Menu Title:’ field.

Please note, in order for the Mac shortcut to successfully assign to the correct menu command i.e. Minimize or Zoom, the command must be typed exactly as it appears in the applications menus. For example if I were to type minimise or zoom instead, it would not work as I have either got the wrong spelling or missed out the capital letters. Always take note of the punctuation. Even if you see an ellipsis (…) it is vital you include it.

How to Create Keyboard Shortcuts for Mac Apps

9.) Now we turn our attention to the creative bit. In the ‘Keyboard Shortcut:’ field, tap in the new key combination you would like to pair with the menu command above.

Tip: If you a re a little stuck on what works, you could browse other keyboard shortcuts for inspiration. Just make sure it isn’t a combo that is ‘global’ or already exists in that particular OS X app you are editing.

Note: You are not allowed to use the same key twice in the same Mac keyboard shortcut.

10.) Once you have finished designing your new shortcuts for that Mac app, click the ‘Add’ button.

11.) For the finishing touch, simply quit and restart your app. (Or apps if you are assigning a ‘global’ Mac keyboard shortcut). The next time you open up the app, your new customized Mac shortcut should spring into action.

Top 10 Mac Keyboard Shortcuts – PART 1

One of the many reasons I love my Apple computers so much is their handy Mac keyboard shortcuts. Apple prize themselves on not only making a gorgeous machine, brimming with shiny graphics we can happily sit and admire for hours on end, but also their user friendliness.

To make our technical life a little easier, your Mac comes fully loaded with tones of brilliant Mac keyboard shortcuts. The nifty shortcuts allow us to skip tedious drop down menus and instantly fire ahead to the destination. You can even customize these shortcuts and assign your own to make remembering them a doodle. If you fancy giving this a go then check out our article – ‘How to Create a Keyboard Shortcut on Mac’.

Before you gallivant off and spend all night studying every single Mac keyboard shortcut, browse our list bellow as these are the ultimate shortcuts every Mac user needs to know – seriously they will save you hours.


Top 10 Mac Keyboard Shortcuts YOU Should Know!


1.) How to Quit an App

This Mac keyboard shortcut is at the very top of our list as you will need it every single time you use your Mac. (That is unless you are a window hoarder and leave everything open and never switch off your computer – tut tut!)

Quitting your app will totally close down any task, window or application you currently have open. Bear in mind it only switches off one App at a time. Thankfully It will not close down every live program, just the one you are in.

To Quit a task, just tap these keys: Cmd+Q  

NOTE: ‘Cmd’ means your Command key.

How to Quit an App on Mac


2.) How to Close A Live Window

If you do not wish to close down and quit your Internet browser entirely, but wish to get rid of a live window, then just tap on these keys: Cmd + W

How to Close A Live Window


3.) How to Open a New Tab

A surprising amount of programs support tabs, especially your internet browser. Instead of opining up a bulky window, you can create a discreet tab using this Mac keyboard shortcut: Cmd+T

How to Open a New Tab on Mac


4.) How to Cut, Copy, Paste and Undo

I personally use these Mac keyboard shortcuts several times a day. If you only learn these few tiny commands, you will still save countless precious hours in the future.

a.) To Cut a section of writing is similar to deleting it. To do this, first highlight the text you wish to remove for good then select Cmd+Z

b.) To Copy a section of text ready for pasting, again highlight the text you wish to duplicate and tap Cmd+C

c.) To Paste your recently copied text, click your cursor on the page where you wish your copied text to appear, then key out Cmd+V

d.) If you have accidentally deleted something and wish to undo it, go head and press Cmd+Z, it can be such a life saver!

How to Cut, Copy, Paste and Undo on Mac

To browse the final 5 top Mac Keyboard shortcuts we believe every Mac user should know, check out… Top 10 Mac Keyboard Shortcuts – PART 2

Top 10 Mac Keyboard Shortcuts – PART 2

If you have just tuned into our article about the most awesome Top 10 Mac Keyboard Shortcuts every user needs to know, you may wish to check out Part 1. They are brilliant, easy to remember shortcuts that will save hours of clicking on icons and tabs and scrolling through countless drop down menus. These are 10 of the most useful Mac keyword shortcuts you will ever need to learn.

Alternatively if you wish to get your creative juices flowing and design some of your own Mac shortcuts, check our article ‘How to Create Keyboard Shortcuts on Mac’.

So what are you waiting for?…. lets get cracking!


5.) How to Switch Between Live Apps in an Instant

I love this groovy Mac keyboard shortcut as it prevent me endlessly frolicking about in my Mac dock, trying to find the live app I was previously working on. Urgh!

This nifty shortcut activates your Mac OS X Application Switcher. Your Switcher instantly shows you any live applications you have open. Enabling you to easily toggle between them without the hassle of your mouse.

If you are in a program that provides several option tabs, alternatively this shortcut will flick between the tab options.

To activate your App Switcher or flick between tabs press – Cmd+Tab

How to Switch Between Live Apps in an Instant


6.) How to Open Spotlight Search

Your genius Mac spotlight search tool is the number one go place if you need to find anything. It can literally pull up ‘anything’. From folders, files, images to apps and softwares. No matter if you are on your desktop or in a app such as Safari, this Mac keyboard shortcut will make your spotlight field instantly pop up.

Open spotlight by typing Cmd+Spacebar

How to Open Spotlight Search


7.) How to Force Quit Apps

From time to time an application my throw the dummies out of the pram and refuse to respond. Sometime the only way to get out of it is to force quit. To call upon your Force Quit dialog box tap on Cmd+Option+Esc.

How to Force Quit Apps on mac


8.) How to Find Words and Phrases

If you wish to instantly locate a lost word or phrase on a text document or web page, this Mac keyboard shortcut will answer your prayers. Tap out Cmd+F and a new search filed will pop up. Inside write out the word or phrase you wish to locate amongst the text and select ‘Done’. If the word is there it will be immediately highlighted, enabling you to spot straight away.

How to Find Words and Phrases on mac


9.) How to Instantly Launch Quick Look

If you want to take a quick peek at a file without waiting for it to open, then Mac Quick Look is the tool of you. It is so blissfully easy to use. Simply select on a file you wish to glance over with one click. Then you can either press Spacebar or Cmd+Y.

How to Instantly Launch Quick Look


10.) How to Shutdown, Sleep or Restart Mac

If you need to dash off on some exciting errand and need to shut down your Machine, or wish to simply take a break and put your Mac to sleep, or perhaps you have installed a new software and you are require to restart you computer – the easiest way is to use the following shortcut… This Mac keyboard shortcut will bring up a dialog box that allows you to pick one of these three options.

 Just hit Control+Eject.

How to Shutdown, Sleep or Restart Mac

How To Create Keyboard Shortcuts On Mac

how to customize keyboard shortcuts on macOne of the many reasons Apple Macs stand head and shoulders over Microsoft, is their infinite amount of keyboard shortcuts. Why waste time trawling through endless menus and tabs, when you can instantly arrive at your chosen destination by pressing a few keys…

What’s even more impressive, whilst your Mac comp already comes fully loaded with assigned keyboard shortcuts, you can can go one step further and customize your own. WOW! You can override any of the pre-installed combos with your own. That way you will never forget a combination, as you designed it.

Unfortunately you can not define your own shortcuts for general purpose tasks, such as opening up an app or switching between programs. However you can disable, tweak or totally change most of the ‘Global’ Mac keyboard shortcuts. These are are shortcuts that perform the same task in most Mac applications. For example, taking a snap shot of your screen by tapping your ‘Command+Shift+3’ keys.

Customizing, changing or disabling a Mac keyboard shortcut may also be useful if one of your ‘global’ shortcuts is also used by a specific application for an entirely different purpose. In this scenario, you may wish to either disable the current shortcut you do not need, or get creative and assign a new homemade keyboard combination.

So do you still fancy setting your own Mac keyboard shortcuts? I thought so, lets get cracking on…


How to Customize Keyboard Shortcuts On Mac

1.) Float your cursor up and click on your  () Apple Menu on the top left of your toolbar.

2.) From the drop down menu, select ‘System Preferences’.

3.) You will be greeted by a colourful window housing lots of exciting Apple icons. From the second row, pick the icon titled ‘Keyboard’.

keyboard shortcuts on mac

4.) A separate window will pop up. At the top are four tabs – Keyboard, Text, Shortcuts and Input Sources. You’ve guessed it… click on the one marked ‘Shortcuts’.

5.) In the Mac keyboard shortcuts window are two columns. One shows a list of the Mac apps that allow you to edit their commands and the second displays the commands/function and their current assigned shortcuts.

6.) If you wish to assign some new shortcuts, just click on the check boxes next to the function. A blank box will appear on the right hand side. In the blank field, go ahead and type in your new menu command (shortcut).

Observe how the other Mac keyboard shortcuts are written and base yours on them, but do not duplicate. Bear in mind that you can not use a certain key (i.e. a letter key) more than once in your combination.

mac keyboard shortcuts

7.) If you wish to alter an existing shortcut, just double-click on the current one. Again a blank text box will appear. Now you can fill it in with your new desired key combination.

8.) Finally, before you can check if your new fancy Mac keyboard shortcut combos work, you need to restart your apps. Once they have reloaded, tap in the new combos and see is they perform.


I can’t type in the Mac Keyboard Shortcut Box?

When you attempt to fill out the blank text box with your new combination, you may notice that the letters do not easily type out. This is because your Mac is fussy. Instead of tapping in your ‘Command’, ‘Shift’ and ‘3’ key separately. You will have to press them all simultaneously, just as if you were performing the shortcut in real life. So the combo becomes ‘Command+Shift+3’.


How to Disable Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

Disabling your Mac shortcuts could not be easier. Notice the checkboxes next to the list of commands/functions in the second column. Active combination show a blue box with a tick inside. Click on these once to deselect the checkbox.


How to Restore Mac Keyboard Shortcuts to Default

Whilst in your Keyboard shortcuts window, under the second column you should see a fat button titled ‘Restore Defaults’. Click on this and all of your new homemade combinations will be wiped off and replaced by Apple’s original Mac keyboard shortcuts.

how to restore keyboard shortcuts on mac


Oops, My New Mac Keyboard Shortcut Already Exists…

If you discover you have accidentally assigned a shortcut combination that already exists and is also attached to another command, you will have to do the following….

a.)Find the menu command/function that is using your desired shortcut combo.

b.)Either alter and customize that function with a new shortcut combination or disable it using the method described above.

What Do the Mac Functions Keys do?

mac function keysDepending on which Apple Mac model you have the functions assigned to the handy F keys may vary. For example on a late 2007 MacBook Pro F3 is Mute and F4 is Turn Down volume, where as on a late 2012 MacBook Pro those exact same keys are Reveal all open windows and display all Apps and Programs stored on your machine.


For a MacBook Pro 2012 these are the commands the F keys control…

F1 Has a symbol of a small sun. This Turns Down the brightness of your screen.

F2 This displays the same sun symbol but this performs the opposite function. Turns Up the brightness of your screen.

F3 This key displays three random boxes. This is a very useful button as it will show all of the windows you have open in all of your live programs and apps simultaneously.

F4 This button displays all of your program and app icons, allowing you to search through and open them almost instantly.

F5 If you are one a Mac where the keyboard lights up you will find that this key (with a symbol of a rising sun) will Turn Down the brightness of your keys.

F6 This key does the exact opposite, Turns Up the brightness of your keyboard.

F7 The next three buttons are particularly useful when you are using your Mac DVD player. This key rewinds and skips back through your films.

F8 This is the Play and Pause button.

F9 This button fast forwards and skips ahead in the film.

F10 This key displays a single lampshade looking symbol. This is to instantly Mute any sounds.

F11 This Turns Downs the volume.

F12 This last F number key Turns Up the volume.


However there is a spanner in the works… Like many of the Mac keyboard shortcuts, the F keys can also be assigned different function in various programs and softwares. This is a handy feature but what if you want to use it to perform the original functions (Turn Down volume or screen brightness)?

Well don’t worry there is an easy way around this problem. First hold down Fn key and then go ahead and tap the function key you want. You will find the Fn key nestled on the bottom left of your keyboard. Holding down this key essentially tells your Mac, “Ignore the newly assigned program functions and just behave like a normal.”

How to Use Your Mac’s Function Keys

mac function keys

Apple Mac computers are undeniably beautifully designed machines and come with all sorts of bell ad whistles. From smooth sleek outer cases to gorgeous shiny graphics. On top of the hundreds of great features these computers come will a fully loaded keyboard. They contain all the usual A -Z keys, command, caps lock etc however Macs also harbour some extra special keys…

Notice at the very top of your keyboard the F (function) key family. Besides the Escape key (on the left) and Eject (on the far left) there are 12 F keys in total and each one is adapted to carry out some very special functions!

These special functions are shortcuts designed to speed up any command and make using Macs an absolute breeze. For example the function might be to simply turn up the brightness of your screen or the volume but they can also instantly reveal all you your live windows and applications, even fast forward a movie.

By default every Mac machine have already assigned certain helpful commands to these keys. Luckily to make the rather cryptic F number keys and their functions a bit cleaner, beside the initials you will also see a mini diagram. For example on the most recent MacBook Pro laptops the F1 shows a symbol of a sun (to turn up the brightness of your screen) F12 shows Apples volume diagram with radiating sound lines (turn up volume) and the F8 key displays a Play/Pause symbol.

To make learning your new life of Mac shortcuts that little bit easier, this function keys are also assembled in related pairs and groups. Ie Mute sound, Turn Up and Turn Down your volume.

It might seem slightly daunting to learn all the functions of these 12 F keys, but it is so worth it! Although, there is a small spanner in the works… depending on the age and model of your Mac machine the order of these buttons varies. However the symbols do not change so just remember to take a glance at them before to ensure you pick the correct key.

Click here to learn which F keys perform which functions!

How to Use Mac Keyboard Shortcuts!

Apple Mac computers are like no other machine, and no offence to Microsoft, but once you go Mac – you just can’t go back!

Other than its gorgeous looks and shiny graphics (amongst a million other positive things) Macs have many fantastic shortcuts. These shortcuts make laborious tasks done and dusted in seconds! Allowing you to spend more time doing the things you love on your Mac.

Most of these shortcuts are bundled into nifty keyboard combinations. These great commands save you scrolling through endless dialogue menus and clicking through multiple options with your mouse. Now you can complete the exact same task just by tapping a few keys simultaneously.

Most of these keyboard shortcuts involve you pressing down your Shift key, Control, Option, and Command keys while holding down another key.

It may seem a little confusing at first but please don’t be daunted. Once you have memorized at least the commands you will utilize the most, you won’t remember your Mac life without them.

Nearly every program has its own personal batch of keystroke shortcuts, but the following table lists the useful and common Mac shortcuts that work in your most popular programs.

Mac shortcuts

Tip – If you are not sure what the shortcuts are for a certain program you are one, i.e. Adobe Photoshop, don’t fret! Do not gallivant off and waste hours researching them on the web. Programs should always show their keystroke shortcuts for the various commands on their drop-down menus in the toolbar.

how to use mac shortcuts


In the beginning these instructions look rather cryptic as they are made up of symbols instead of describing the keys to press by name (such as ctrl or command).

Here is a picture translating these symbols so you know what keys to actually press.

mac keyboard shortcuts

Luckily the majority of shortcuts only involve you tapping two keys, such as Command+Q (the Quit command). However some of these shortcuts can involve simultaneously holding down three or four keys, such as Shift+Command+3, which handily saves the current screen image into a file.