A dozen of Mac shortcuts that will make you a better user

Humanity should be grateful for the invention of Mac hotkeys. They probably saved us thousands of hours if put together. There is something addictive in using shortcuts - the quickness, the feeling of a keyboard, the geeky confidence in your fingers when you realize, “hurray, it works!” Once you get hooked on shortcuts, you’ll never go back to clicking again.

Basic Mac hotkeys combinations

1. Quit all apps

Sometimes an app that you thought you quit is still secretly running in the background. When your Mac lags and you need some fresh memory, you may choose to quit all apps. You probably heard of Force Quit (Command-Option-Esc), but it’s a long way to go.

Quit many apps at once: Command-Tab 

Then, holding down Cmd, press Q to cycle between apps you need to close.

2. Delete a file completely

Dragging files to the Trash? Wait, this is not the only option. Here’s a shortcut to quickly delete unwanted files on a Mac, bypassing the Trash. Caution: there’s no way back.

To completely delete a file: Option-Command-Delete

Quick fact:

Did you know the Command key? The symbol was borrowed from a road sign that is used across Scandinavia. Its original use is to denote tourist attractions. Early Mac models had an Apple key instead of Command, but it later was changed as Steve Jobs feared that there would be too many “apples” in the OS interface.

3. Copy and paste a screenshot directly

Command-Shift-4 is an old classic way to make a screenshot on a Mac. But here comes the combination to take your screenshotting skills to a new level. Usually, you would make a screenshot, pick it from your desktop, and only then paste it to the new location. It appears there is a much easier way to do it.

To copy-paste a screenshot: Shift-Control-Command-4

4. Quickly switch to the desktop

Sometimes your screen is so obscured by windows it would take years to click through to the desktop. Thank goodness, a Mac keystroke combination is designed for people like us: the folks drowning in an ocean of windows.

To remove window overload: Command-F3*

* If you have Mac with a Touch Bar, press and hold the Fn (Function) key to see F1 through F12.

5. Open Spotlight

Spotlight, your Mac’s internal search engine, can make your life 1000% easier. It finds files faster than Finder and intuitively predicts what you are after. Use this magic combo to open Spotlight right on the spot.

To launch Spotlight search: Command + Space bar

Cool shortcut keys for Mac

1. Invert display colors

A genuinely psychedelic key combination. This shortcut allows you to turn on and off invert colors, increase contrast, and reduce transparency using the Accessibility Shortcuts panel. Try it, and your world will never be the same.

To invert colors/increase contrast, reduce transparency: Comand-Option-F5*

* If your Mac has Touch ID, quickly press Touch ID three times.

2. Restore a recently closed tab

This one can be a real savior if you accidentally shut down an important tab in a browser, like that pancake recipe or payment confirmation. Meet the Mac keyboard shortcut to restore it.

To restore a closed tab: Command-Shift-T

3. To shut down your Mac instantly

No, the following Mac shortcut is not about the force shutdown. It’s used when you need to quickly close all dialog windows and shut down your Mac in a legit way. Learn this one, quickly finish your work and finally go outside.

To quickly shut down a Mac: Control–Option–Command–Power button

4. Mac hot keys to invoke Siri

It is the easiest among all Mac keyboard commands because you create your own shortcut. Since Siri’s arrival, we have used it to check the weather and even ask her to play our favorite track. If you are using macOS Sierra or higher, you’ll enjoy the ability to summon Siri using just one hand.

Set a keyboard shortcut: Click the Keyboard Shortcut pop-up menu, then choose a shortcut to activate Siri or create your own.

A shortcut to free up space on your Mac

Well, not exactly a shortcut, but indeed the quickest way to get more storage on your Mac.

CleanMyMac X - Smart Scan complete

Download CleanMyMac-Launch-Smart Scan-Run 

This combination of actions will free up dozens of gigabytes of space taken by garbage: unwanted files, system junk, app leftovers, etc. CleanMyMac removes about 54 GB of junk on an average Mac. Try and see how it cleans your Mac.

CleanMyMac is available for free download here.

Finder shortcuts

Finder is quite a resource-demanding tool. When you open a new Finder window, it usually takes some time. For quicker access to your main destinations like Applications or Desktop, you can use the following shortcut combinations.

To quickly access Finder folders:

  • Command-Shift-F (for Recent folder)
  • Command-Shift-U (for Utilities)
  • Command-Shift-L (for Downloads folder)

Chrome shortcuts

Having hundreds of opened tabs in a browser has become a widespread syndrome nowadays. Closing tabs with a mouse is not only frustrating but also may freeze up your browser. Using a direct shortcut makes this job easy as a morning walk.

To close a current tab in Chrome: Command-W
To close a Chrome window: Command-Shift-W
To open a new Chrome tab: Command-T

How to memorize Mac shortcuts: 
Psychologists say you must do something at least three times to put it in your long-term memory. Attach small sticky notes to the outlines of your Mac’s screen with 3 or 4 shortcuts you want to master. Then, leave it all to your fingers.

Mac shortcuts for documents

1. Copy text without formatting

You want to copy a piece of the text, but the old formatting drags along with it. Now you spend more time formatting rather than actually creating a text. To strip the text from old styling, use the following Mac hotkeys combination. A perfect one to stretch your fingers.

To paste text without formatting: Shift-Option-Command-V

2. Enter a strikethrough text on a Mac

You won’t believe it, but 8000 people are googling how to do a strikethrough text on a Mac every day. Although some applications don’t support it, this combination works well in TextEdit and Word. Now you can use it in every second line to add some roughness to your writing.

To apply strikethrough formatting: Command-Shift-X

3. Quickly print documents

The next combination works for most apps that allow printing. In every case, you don’t need to figure out where the print dialogue is located. Just memorize this quick combination and send your files to print from anywhere.

To invoke a print dialogue: Command-P

Mac shortcuts to delete many files at once

There comes a time when you need to do a spring cleaning on your Mac: sort out old garbage, move photos to an external drive, or clean up your old downloads. It is time-consuming and takes immense willpower to start. But lucky you are: there are a few shortcuts to remove large heaps of files as quickly as if you had a machete.

To select folder contents: Command-A
To delete a group of files after selection: Command-Delete
To empty the Trash: Command-Shift-Delete

If you’ve got many files left after backing up, this will save you a good deal of time moving them to the Trash bin. Also, some apps will do the mundane deletion job instantly to save you from a headache. CleanMyMac is perhaps the most reliable one. It has a tool that searches for Large & Old files on your drive to give it a quick cleanup. CleanMyMac is available for free download. Check it out!

It was our take on the most helpful keyboard shortcuts for Mac. Thanks for reading. Below you’ll find a few more links about Mac and productivity. Enjoy!

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