People like a Mac for plenty of reasons, one of which are the Apple keyboard shortcuts that can make your life easier. You can save time and get things done faster. It also reduces the strain and stress on your wrists when using a Mac device. You may be overwhelmed, though, with all these shortcuts, so let’s start with the basic Mac shortcuts cheat sheet.
Apple Keyboard Shortcuts Guaranteed To Make Life Easy
First, the Keyboard
One look, and you’ll know the Apple keyboard is different from a Windows keyboard. They work in a similar way but it’s important to understand what the differences are. First, they both use modifier keys. These are the keys that help define the action of another key. Both the shortcut key and the modifier key need to be pressed together to act.
For example, with Ctrl + V (which is the shortcut for paste in Windows), Ctrl becomes the modifier key.
When using Apple keyboard shortcuts, you use a few modifier keys, such as Shift, Option, Command, Control, Function, and Caps Lock. Most, except for Option and Command, are on a Windows keyboard.
As such, you can use a Windows keyboard on a Mac, provided that you substitute some of these modifier keys. Which you will learn below.
Looks Like Windows
The following Apple keyboard shortcuts look very similar to those of Windows. The biggest difference is you don’t use Ctrl (this key is not commonly used in an Apple device). Rather, you use Command:
- Command + N = Create a new document
- Command + X = Cut a section or entire item
- Command + C = Copy a section or an entire item
- Command + V = Paste the cut or copied section or the entire item
- Command + A = Select all the items on the screen, whether they are texts or folders
- Command + Z = Undo
- Command + F = Find a section of a document
- Command + O = Open a document or window
Reveal the Emojis and Symbols
Adding Apple keyboard special characters on a document of, say, Word can be a very long process. You need to go to Edit Menu then choose Special Characters. You’ll have to wait for a dialog box to appear. Then you have to select the category of your symbols.
With Apple, you can make it faster: Press Control + Command + Space Bar. It should open the pop-up window for characters. On the left, you’ll see the categories of the symbols and emojis. At this point, you need to click the items you wish to add.
Note: Make sure you’re placing the cursor on the section you want to insert the symbols and emojis.
Add Accents With Apple Keyboard Shortcuts
Many foreign words use accents. These are letters with unique markings on the top. These include the following:
- Tilde (which has a wavy line above)
- Umlaut (which has two dots above)
- Circumflex (which has the caret symbol above)
- Grave (which has a backslash symbol above)
- Acute (which has a forward slash above)
The concern here is not so much about spelling or pronunciation, but rather how to access the individual characters with accents.
For accents, you have a couple of Apple keyboard shortcuts:
1. Long-press the Base Character
The base character is just the standard English letter like A, B, C, D, etc. Pressing and holding down the letter for a second or so will reveal its accented version. To select the character, press the corresponding number of the character or click it. If you want to choose another letter, press Escape and long-press your preferred letter.
2. Option + Single Quotation Mark or Letter + Base Character
The first one is ideal when you’re writing diacritics. If you want to insert other special characters, this is the combination you need to use. To give you some examples:
- Option + ‘ (single quotation mark) + vowel = vowels with grave accents
- Option + i + vowel = vowels with circumflex accents
- Option + n + vowel = vowels with tilde accents
3. Option (And Shift) + Keystroke
This is one of the Apple keyboard shortcuts that will create a wide variety of symbols. For example:
- Option + G = copyright symbol
- Option + F = function symbol
- Option + 2 = trademark symbol
- Option + – (hyphen) = en dash symbol
- Option + Shift + – (hyphen) = em dash symbol
Basic Mac Tasks
The Apple keyboard shortcuts are not just for Word. You’re not limited to learning how to copy and paste on Mac keyboard. Shortcuts are also available for some of the basic tasks, whether it’s sleep, shutdown, or log out. Don’t forget the following:
- Shift + Command + Q = Logs out from Mac (this doesn’t shut down your device). If you like to log out quickly without confirming the action, just add Option (Option + Shift + Command + Q).
- Ctrl + Command + Power button = Forces restart
- Ctrl + Shift + Power button = Sleeps the device (To let it wake up, press the Power button and wait for a dialogue box to appear, giving you options on how to continue)
- Command + Q = Quit or ends an app or program completely
- Command + W = Quit or closes the active window
- Command + Tab = Switches between active applications or windows
- Command +] (right bracket) or [ (left brackets) = Lets you navigate through folders (the first one lets you move to the next folder while the second, previous folder)
The Complexity of the Function Keys
Like in the Windows keyboard, there are function keys (F1 to F12, found above the keyboard) in Apple devices like Mac. They can also have other functions besides their standard ones. For example, they can control the volume or brightness. You’ll know by looking at the symbol on the function keys. They also have standard functions, which can differ among Mac versions.
To use the standard functions, you need to press Fn (usually found at the bottom left side of the keyboard) + function key (F1, F2, etc.). Another option, in case you want to use the standard function keys all throughout, is to go to System Preferences. Then choose Keyboard and “Use F1, F2, etc. as standard function keys.”
Are you more comfortable using your Mac now? With these Apple keyboard shortcuts, you learn more than how to paste on Mac. Most of all, you and your device will be more like best friends. If you’re a new Mac user, having shifted from Windows, you should get used to the new equipment and processes more quickly.
What are your favorite Apple keyboard shortcuts? List them in the comments below.