I recently moved to macOS from Windows and even though the experience is similar, I had to go through the process of memorizing the keyboard shortcuts all over again. If you’re struggling to figure out the keyboard shortcuts on a Mac as well then I have a list of essential keyboard shortcuts that you should know right now. Let’s begin.
I won’t include the keyboard shortcuts that are similar across Windows, macOS, or even Linux such as copy, paste, new tab, etc. Instead, I’ll focus on some of the lesser-known keyboard shortcuts that made my workflow streamlined and less dependent on the mouse. You can also create your own key shortcuts that would work specifically to your requirements or install Hotkey EVE to memorize all the shortcuts.
1. Lock the Screen
It’s always a good practice to lock your computer when leaving the workstation and unlike Windows, it’s not a simple WIN+L on macOS. You have to press CMD + CTRL + Q to lock the screen without logging out of your account.
2. Turn the Display OFF
If you’re not worried about someone snooping in your computer but still want to hide the Display screen, you can turn the display off without even locking the screen. Simply press CTRL + SHIFT + EJECT on the keyboard to turn the display off. If you’re using a laptop and can’t find the eject button, the CTRL + SHIFT + POWER would also work.
3. Copy the screenshots to the clipboard
I take a lot of screenshots and I mean a lot. On Windows, I used an app called Lightshot to quickly capture screenshots and copy it to the clipboard with one click. macOS has an intuitive Screenshot tool built-in which can be accessed by pressing CMD + SHIFT + 3, CMD + SHIFT + 4, and CMD+ SHIFT + 4 + SPACE. These shortcuts come in handy but I still have to go to the desktop and copy it manually if I wish to send it to someone.
You can eliminate this long process by adding the CTRL modifier key to the above combinations and it would copy the screenshot to the clipboard after capturing it. You can then simply paste it anywhere. The shortcut keys to directly copying screenshot are CTRL + CMD + SHIFT + 3, CTRL + CMD + SHIFT + 4, and CTRL + CMD + SHIFT + 4 + SPACE.
4. Start Screen Recording
If you’re running macOS Mojave or later then you can begin recording by simply pressing CMD + SHIFT + 5. Earlier you had to open the Quick Time Player, Navigate to the Menu bar and then start recording. It is really intuitive and makes the work a lot easier.
5. Create a new folder
I often have to organize the files on my system and putting the files in their respective folders is a repetitive task. macOS makes it a little easier where you can select multiple items and press CTRL + CMD + N to create a new folder, it moves the files to that newly created folder automatically. Sweet.
6. Go to Desktop
Windows had a quick shortcut to go to the desktop by pressing WIN+D. You can also do the same thing on a Mac by pressing CMD + F3 or CMD + exposé. It is not exactly the same as taking you to the desktop but you can still access all the files from the desktop.
7. Simulate Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys
When you scroll long webpages, the home, end, page up and page down keys come in handy but most macOS laptops don’t have it. However, you can still simulate the Home Key by pressing the FN + LEFT ARROW key on the keyboard. Similarly, you can get End key by pressing FN + RIGHT ARROW, Page Up by FN + UP ARROW, and Page Down by pressing FN+DOWN ARROW.
8. Forward Delete
Just like the home and End keys, MacBook doesn’t have a delete key, well it does but it works as a backspace key but labeled as ‘delete’. This shortcut may be in a very small niche but I use both backspace key and delete key as it translates easily to my workflow and many people who code would know how convenient it is to have it handy on your computer.
This shortcut is known as forward delete and can be simulated by pressing FN + DELETE or CTRL + D.
9. Switch between two instances of the same app
I often keep the Incognito mode open on Google Chrome during work and switching back and forth between the same instance of an app requires several clicks of the mouse. You can quickly toggle between the instances of the same app by pressing the CTRL + DOWN ARROW key and then selecting one of the active windows. Alternatively, you can also press CMD+` to toggle between the active windows.
10. Precisely Control Volume
It really bugged me for a while when I found out that you only get 16 levels of volume adjustment on a Mac. Considering every OS I’ve used has at least 50 levels of volume for precise adjustments so a simple Google search revealed that you can actually have 64 levels of volume control on every mac. You have to press OPTION+SHIFT+VOLUME to finely adjust it.
The same is also true for brightness as well, you can press OPTION+SHIFT+BRIGHTNESSto precisely adjust the brightness of the display of your MacBook.
Best Keyboard Shortcuts for Mac
These were some of the keyboard shortcuts that I use daily. As I find using a mouse exhausting, these key shortcuts navigating the computer much easier. There are, however, many other shortcuts that I use but not that frequently because I feel those might be too specific for my workflow. If you want to share your favorite shortcuts, comment them below or tweet me at Technarok.