Know Your Mac – Shortcuts

There is an old adage to “work smarter, not harder” to attain the success you desire. This is especially important in your general workflow and if you’re working on a Mac like I am, there is a chance that there are some smart shortcuts you may not have gotten the official memo about. Computer gurus scoff if you must, but while some of us have mastered the golden keystroke combos such as -A (select all), -C (copy), -V (paste), -X (delete), etcetera we need practice at the entire secret handshake. Feed your inner geek and get a leg up on productivity with some of my favorite shortcuts below.

 Important Symbols:

         ⌘        Command key- also called the apple key              ⌃       Control key    

         ⌥      Option key – “Alt” may also appear on this key       ⇧  Shift key        

         ⇪       Caps Lock

Key/Keystroke Combination





Takes a screenshot (entire current screen) and saves to


Copy a screenshot to the clipboard


Brings up crosshairs so you can draw a selection box
around the part of the screen you would like to take a screenshot of, then saves to desktop **want to capture an entire window? Click tab or space bar after combination and click the desired window.**


Copy the screenshot of the selected area to the clipboard


Allows you to tab through and select another open window


Opens the spotlight field


Allows you to force quit an application that may be stalled


Click on any folder/file and then this keystroke sequence to bring up the quick and dirty informational highlights


Opens Inspector


Minimizes current window


Create a new folder


Opens new window if in Finder/Internet, opens new file in
designated software programs (Word, Excel, Adobe Creative Suite, etc.)


When minimizing isn’t enough (look out here comes the boss!)this hides the window you are currently in


Move to Trash


Empty Trash


Empty Trash without confirmation dialogue


Add to the sidebar


Add to favorites


Close window


Close all windows





Learn more about and set your shortcut preferences by going to System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts.

And one final little tip: Spotlight now (as in with OS X Leopard) does math! No calculator handy? Just open spotlight and then type in your basic math problem and the answer appears below. Just remember * for multiplication, / for divide, and the standard + – for add and subtract.


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