Switching from Windows to Mac is a big change and often overwhelming. But over time you will get used to the MacBook world. And of course, I’m here to help you make the transition to macOS as smooth as possible with the best tips for new Mac users switching from Windows. Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
1. Use Spotlight Search to Find Anything
One of the hidden features of MacBook for Windows users is Spotlight search. You can use it to search or open anything on your MacBook, such as settings, files, etc. You can also use it to search on the web and perform math calculations and conversions without opening any other apps. Press the Command + Space bar to open Spotlight Search. Then, type whatever you want the Spotlight to do for you.
2. Preview Files Quickly
On a MacBook, you can preview your files quickly without actually opening them by just pressing the Space Bar. First, click a file to select it and press the Space bar to preview the file.
3. Change Scrollbar Direction
As a Windows user, you might be annoyed by the opposite scrolling direction of Mac’s trackpad. Thankfully, you can easily change it and make it similar to your Windows PC.
Go to System Settings > Trackpad and click on the Scroll & Zoom tab. Enable the toggle next to Natural Scrolling.
3. Enable Tap to Click
On a Windows PC, the Tap to click feature of the trackpad is enabled by default. That is whenever you have to click something, you simply tap on the trackpad instead of pressing it firmly. This isn’t the case on MacBooks.
To enable the Tap to click feature on MacBook, go to System Settings > Trackpad and enable the toggle next to Tap to click.
5. Enable Right-Click on Trackpad
Another feature that you might feel is missing on a MacBook if you are switching from Windows is the ability to right-click by pressing the bottom-right side of the touchpad. By default, you need to click with two fingers on your MacBook’s trackpad to right-click. But don’t worry. You can easily enable the native right-click on the trackpad in MacBook settings.
Go to MacBook System Settings > Trackpad. Click on the two-arrow icon next to the Secondary click and select Click in the Bottom-Right corner.
Tip: Know how to change the mouse pointer on MacBook.
6. Type Emojis and Other Special Characters
Windows PC has a nifty Windows + . (period) keyboard shortcut to access the emoji and special characters panel. On a MacBook, you have to use the Control + Command + Space Bar keyboard shortcut to open the Character Viewer window where you will find emojis and other special characters.
7. Add or Remove Apps from Dock aka Taskbar
The row at the bottom that contains the list of apps is known as Dock on a MacBook. It’s like the taskbar of a Windows PC where you can pin frequently used apps.
You can add apps to the MacBook’s Dock in two ways. Open the Finder app and select Applications from the left side. Now, drag the app to the Dock to keep it there.
Alternatively, open the preferred app and once it shows in the Dock, right-click on it and select Options > Keep in Dock.
To clean your Dock and remove any existing app, right-click on the app in the Dock and go to Options. Uncheck Keep in Dock.
Tip: Check out the best apps to customize Dock on MacBook.
8. Install Third-Party Apps by Dragging
When installing third-party apps or apps outside of the App Store, you will get a window that says Drag app to install. That particular pop-up window can be quite confusing for Windows users where apps offer a step-by-step method for installation. Basically, you need to drag the app icon from the left side to the right side to begin the installation process.
Tip: Learn how to run Android apps on MacBook.
9. Replace Control with Command for Keyboard Shortcuts
Most of the popular shortcuts that you are used to on a Windows computer will work on a MacBook too, like Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V, etc. The only difference is that you need to replace the Ctrl button with Command on a MacBook. So the new keyboard shortcuts will be Command + C for copy, Command + V for paste, and so on.
10. Trigger Actions from Four Corners
Another cool hidden feature of MacBook that you, as a previous Windows user will like, is the ability to assign different functions to the four corners of your Mac computer. This feature is known as Hot Corners. You can use it to access the desktop, open the Notification Center, start the screen saver, put the display to sleep, etc., by simply moving the mouse corner to the associated corner of your screen.
To set up Hot Corners, go to System Settings > Desktop & Dock. Click on the Hot Corners button at the bottom.
Select the appropriate corner and choose the preferred function from the drop-down list.
11. Open Task View
Just like you can use the Alt + Tab keyboard shortcut to switch between open apps on a Windows PC, you have to use the Command + Tab shortcut on a MacBook to perform the same action. Or press F3 to open Mission Control which is the equivalent of Windows + Tab on a Windows PC.
12. Use Stage Manager
As a Windows user, if you are not comfortable with how you have to switch between apps and don’t like how the open apps appear and work on a MacBook, you can use Stage Manager to reduce clutter and access open apps quickly.
When Stage Manager is enabled, you will see a list of open windows on the left side arranged in a single strip from where you can easily switch back and forth between them.
To enable Stage Manager on MacBook, go to Settings > Desktop & Dock and enable the toggle next to Stage Manager. Also, ensure Show recent apps in Stage Manager is checked.
Tip: Know how to switch between windows of same app on MacBook.
13. Access Desktop
One question that would immediately pop up in your mind after switching to a MacBook from Windows is how to go to the desktop on a MacBook. Thankfully, with the latest MacOS update i.e., Sonoma, you can click on your wallpaper to show the desktop. For earlier models, assign the Desktop function to one of the hot corners. You can also use the Command + F3 keyboard shortcut to open the desktop on a MacBook.
14. Clean Desktop by Using Stacks
If you have lots of files on your desktop, you can clean and organize them using the Stacks feature. As the name suggests, Stacks will group items based on kind, date created, modified, etc.
Right-click on your MacBook’s desktop and select Use Stacks. Right-click again and select Group Stacks to choose the parameter to group items on the desktop.
Tip: Know how to add and use widgets on MacBook.
15. Take a Screenshot
Taking screenshots on a MacBook is quite easy. Use the following keyboard shortcuts to take screenshots on Mac:
- Command + Shift + 3 to capture the full screen.
- Command + Shift + 4 to select a custom area.
- Command + Shift + 4 followed by Spacebar to capture the active window.
Tip: Know how to change where screenshots are saved on a MacBook.
16. Close App
On a Windows PC, clicking on the X icon will close and quit the app. However, closing and quitting the apps work slightly differently on a MacBook. When you click on the red icon, it only closes the app but not its process. To quit the app completely, press Command + Q when the app window is open. Or right-click on the app icon in the Dock and select Quit.
Tip: Know how to force quit apps on MacBook.
More Tips to Use MacBook for Beginners
Hope you enjoyed reading the Mac guide for Windows users which consists of the best MacBook tips for Windows users. Before you go, check the best Mac tips and tricks for students. Also, check the best utility apps for MacBook.