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9 Keyboard Shortcuts Every Mac User Should Know

Once you learn these, you’ll forget how you used to use your Mac.

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The need for speed

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 keyboard shortcuts can help you do just that. But Macs are a little different and have their own tricks for helping you get things done in fewer clicks. Try out these shortcuts to make your browsing, typing, and viewing experiences a little more convenient.

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Spotlight calculator

Command + Space Bar

This will bring up the spotlight search on your computer. Start typing in the numbers you want to add, multiply, divide, or subtract and your answer will automatically pop up.

Finally! Here’s a definitive list of what those F1-F12 keys do.

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Emoji keyboard

Control + Command + Space Bar

When you hit these 3 buttons to emoji keyboard will pop up on your screen. Add in a winking face, heart, or other fun emoji to your message.

Try out these emoji hacks to step up your texting game.

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Quiet power on

Power + Hold Mute

It’s always a pain when you go to turn your computer on in the library or office and it makes that ridiculously loud bing. Hit the power button and hold down the mute key until your computer has turned on to keep it quiet.

These are the most common things that slow your computer WAY down, and how to fix them.

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Instant dictionary

Control + Command + D

Highlight any word that you don’t know and press these keys. A dictionary definition will automatically pop up below it.

This is what life is like as a dictionary editor. Sounds pretty boring, right?

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Switch between applications

Command + Tab

Hit these buttons at the same time to bring up a panel with all of the applications you have open. To switch to a different one continue holding down command and use tab to choose which one you want.

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Delete text from left to right

Delete + Fn

Place your cursor in the spot where you want to delete text. By holding down the Fn key with the delete key the text will disappear from left to right.

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Adjust volume or brightness

Option + Shift + Volume up/down or Brightness up/down

Hold down shift and option and adjust your volume. It will increase or decrease in quarter notches instead. This feature also works with the brightness keys.

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Empty the trash

Option + Shift + Command + Delete

Hold down these four keys to quickly empty your trash without having to hit the confirmation dialogue.

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Take a screenshot

Command + Shift + 3

This will take a picture of your entire Mac’s screen. It will save as a .png file on your desktop.

Command + Shift + 4

These three keys will turn your mouse into a set of crosshairs that lets your click and drag over the section of the screen you want to capture. It will save the image as a .png file on your desktop

Command +Shift + Control + 4

This option does the same as above, but it copies the image of your screen so that you can quickly paste it into an email or word document.

Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is the Assistant Digital Managing Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. When she’s not writing for or keeping the 650+ pieces of content our team produces every month organized, she likes watching HGTV, going on Target runs, and searching through Instagram to find new corgi accounts to follow.