41 of the Most Useful Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

Your keyboard can do a lot more than you realize. Memorize these Mac keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate your computer even faster.

Everyone wants everything they do on their computer to be fast. Their Internet connection, the speed they type, and how quickly they can save, open, and alter documents. These mac keyboard shortcuts can help you do just that. Try out these Mac hotkeys to make your browsing, typing, and viewing experiences a little more convenient. Here are some keyboard shortcuts that will make web browsing so much easier.

Mac keyboard shortcuts allow you to do things on your computer that would typically require you to use a mouse, trackpad, or another device with a combination of the keys on your keyboard. To find the Mac shortcuts that are already set up on your device, go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts. From there you can look through the different mac keyboard shortcuts that are set up for your keyboard, launchpad and dock, Mission Control, Spotlight, and so on. To change an existing shortcut you can select the one you want to change, click on the key combination, and then type the new keys you want to use. If you want to create a new keyboard shortcut, navigate down to App Shortcuts, click the plus, select the application you want (or select All Applications), then type in the menu title and the keys you want to use. Then click Add. Take note, in order for the shortcut to work you need to type in the exact syntax of the menu title. That means capitalization, spaces, and punctuation.

If you want to become a master at all of the macOS keyboard shortcuts, keep reading to learn all of the ones we find useful. Also, check out these hidden symbols you never knew you could text.

Mac command keys

Keyboard shortcuts using the Command key on Macs are pretty well-known. In case you forgot, or need a refresher, here are some helpful ones.

COMMANDACTION
Command-CCopy the selected item
Command-XCut the selected item
Command-VPaste shortcut for Mac
Command-ZUndo. Shift-Command-Z is the redo shortcut for what you just undid.
Command-ASelect all items
Command-FFind text or symbol in an open document or window
Command-HHide the front/active window
Command-MMinimize the front/active window
Command-OOpen the selected item or open Finder to select a file to open
Command-PPrint
Command-SSave
Command-TOpen a new tab
Command-WClose the front/active window
Command-QQuit the front/active window

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Mac function keys

The Mac function keys run across the top of your keyboard. The F1-F12 keys can be used for built-in Mac features or as standard function keys. The function keys may look slightly different depending on what model of Mac you have, but each key shows a self-explanatory image that tells you what the built-in Mac feature is. If you’re not sure what all of the icons mean, here’s how to decode them.

COMMANDACTION
F1Lower brightness
F2Increase brightness
F3Open Mission Control
F4Open Launchpad
F5Lower keyboard brightness
F6Increase keyboard brightness
F7Skip back (audio)
F8Pause/Play
F9Skip forward (audio)
F10Mute
F11Increase volume
F12Decrease volume

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You can also use the F1-F12 keys on your Mac as standard function keys. These will work differently depending on the app you’re using and the keyboard shortcuts that you have set up. To use the function keys as standard function keys hold down the Function (fn) key and then press a function key. For example, when you press the fn key and F11, it will perform the action assigned to that key instead of lowering the volume. If you also have a Windows computer at home too, you’ll want to know these Windows keyboard shortcuts also.

Combination Mac keyboard shortcuts

Some keyboard shortcuts require more than just one or two keys. You might need to use two hands for these MacBook keyboard shortcuts or just have really long fingers. Here are the shortcuts we think you’ll use the most.

COMMANDACTION
Option-Command-EscForce quit an app
Space bar or Fn-Down ArrowPage down on Mac
Command-Option-MMinimize all windows
Command-Space barSpotlight search on Mac
Fn-Left and Right arrow keysHome button on Mac
Command-Control-Space barOpens character viewer allowing you to choose emojis and other symbols
Control-Command-FUse app in full screen
Shift-Command-NCreate a new folder in Finder
Control–Shift–Power buttonPuts computer display to sleep
Control-Command-QLock Mac screen
Command-Shift-4Take custom screenshot
Command-Control-DDefines highlighted word
Command-Shift-DeleteEmpties trash
Fn-EnterInsert key on Mac
Option keyAlt key on Mac

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Now that you know how to navigate around your keyboard like a true tech pro, learn about these things you didn’t know your Mac laptop could do.

Sources:

  • Apple: Mac keyboard shortcuts
  • Apple: How to use the function keys on your Mac

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Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is an Associate Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. She writes for rd.com, helps lead the editorial relationship with our partners, manages our year-round interns, and keeps the hundreds of pieces of content our team produces every month organized. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine where she lives and works remotely full time and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.