Shortcuts and utilities
- Full Screen Finger Gymnastics
- Switch Escape
- Switch command and control
- Voice Recognition
- Apple components from any active app
- Process Navigation
- Window navigation
- Microsoft vs. Mac Keyboards
- Trackpad Remapping Tool
- App-specific keys
- Chrome Browser Tabs
- Text Command Line Bash Shortcuts
- Text Editor Special Characters
- Keyboard Symbols
- Robot typists
- Cross machine
- More on OSX
Many reference keys using symbols, so memorize this:
This article provides an enhanced presentation of Apple’s Keyboard Shortcuts at https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201236
Full Screen Finger Gymnastics
Let’s get right down to an often-used action invoked by a complicated key combination: toggle full screen, which enables you to focus on your content rather than be distracted by buttons, menus, lists, etc.
Windows has its F12 key. Apple has Mac users do the equivalent of a double Summersault:
- control + command + F
PROTIP: To toggle Full Screen view using the default configuration from Apple: while keeping your left forefinger on the F “home” key, reach with your left thumb to hold down the control key. This may hurt at first (until you get used to it). Try raising your hand Now, while keeping your right forefinger on the J “home” key, reach with your right thumb to hold down the command key on the right side of the Space Bar. Then you’re in position to press F with your left forefinger.
PROTIP: Repeated practice trains muscle memory so you can find the keys without the need to take your eyes off the screen. Do not make it a habit to look at the keyboard while you learn to do the routine, which includes getting your hands back to to “home row” with forefingers on F and J. (Like a Jedi Paduan in the Star Wars movies training blindfolded)
PROTIP: To evaluate Mac developers, some interviewers ask “show me how you enter and exit Full Screen”. This is because they assume that the most productive developers work with their hands always on the keyboard.
This may be a generalization. But many top coders actually like the vi text editor. They make it so they don’t need to waste time and attention reaching for the mouse.
PROTIP: Some put tiny drops from a glue gun on strategic points on the keyboard so they can orient their finger in the dark.
BLAH: The Esc (Escape) key is too far North on the keyboard and forces some to look down on the keyboard. And the Caps Lock key is too close to keys, causing problems with password entry and lockouts.
PROTIP: Make the caps lock the Esc key:
- Press the Apple icon and select System Preferences.
- Type K to highlight Keyboard. Press space bar to open it.
- Click “Modifier Keys” at the lower-right corner.
- Click the entry for “Caps Lock Key:” and select “Escape”.
TODO: Is there a command line to switch Esc and caps lock?
Switch command and control
PROTIP: Some switch the control and command keys on the left side so that they can get to all such keys using thumbs. This would also allow you to press two keys at once by pressing between the keys, thus able to perform most combinations using your hands.
PROTIP: Those who don’t have people sitting nearby can enable voice recognition to automatically type some (not all) keys. This has been available since the OSX Yosemite version.
See this video:
CAUTION: Enabling “Use Enhanced Dictation” (In Apple System Preferences > Dictation & Speech > Turn on Dictation) causes an approximately 800MB file to be downloaded to your Mac.
- Choose Accessibility. Scroll to Dictation. Scroll to see which commands.
- Check Enable Advanced Commands. Scroll to see which commands.
- Get into Automator.
Apple components from any active app
|Active apps thumbnails|| Mission Control|
|3 finger swipe up||-||fn + F3||Esc|
|Active apps dashboard||Application Windows||-||Upper left||control + F3||Esc|
|-||Desktop||Thumb and 3 finger spread||-||F11||toggle|
|Calculator, other Accessories||Dashboard||3 finger swipe right||Lower left||?|
|Apps icons customized||Dock bar (bottom of screen)||Mouse beyond bottom of screen||-||-||Esc|
|Active app selection||Active apps||-||-|| ⌘ + Tab|
|Installed apps||Launchpad||Thumb and 3 finger pinch||Upper right||fn + F4|
|Files and folders||Finder||-||-||⌘ + option + T|
|Put display to sleep||Start screen saver||-||Lower right||control + Shift + Power button|
|omni-search||Spotlight||-||-||command + spacebar||Esc|
|mute||Speaker volume||-||-||fn + F11||-|
|Softer||-||-||fn + F12||-|
|Louder||-||-||fn + F12||-|
 = PROTIP: This command does not work when the active program is in an extended screen.
Press command + Tab to cycle through programs running.
Press shift plus the above reverses the cycling direction.
Stop on the icon of the app you want to make active.
|New window||File | New Window||-||⌘ + N|
|New window Incongnito||-||⌘ + shift + N|
|Cycle through windows in app||Window||-||⌘ + ` (at upper left corner of keyboard)|
|Maximize window (no menu bar)||-||Click green icon at the top left corner of window|| ⌘ + shift + F|
|Un-Maximize window||-||Cursor to top left corner. Click on green icon.|
|Minimize window||-||Click yellow ball.||⌘ + M|
|Close current window||-||Click red ball.||⌘ + shift + W|
|Close all windows||-||-||⌘ + option + W|
|Preferences||app name | Preferences||-||⌘ + ,|
|Quit app completely||app name | Quit||-||⌘ + Q|
Microsoft vs. Mac Keyboards
Needing to change habits learned typing is difficult and takes time. It’s literally taking physical therapy. This is perhaps the most frustrating aspect of changing from Windows to a Mac.
- Holding down the control key during mouse clicks is the Mac’s right-click.
Here are the most problematic among Keyboard mappings using a PC keyboard on a Macintosh on Microsoft’s website:
|Microsoft Windows||Apple Macintosh||issue|
|Ctrl + mouse click multiple items||control + option + mouse click||Two keys on Mac|
|Delete (right of cursor)||fn + delete|
control + D
|Backspace (left of cursor)||delete|
control + H
|Function key||fn + F1 ... F12|
|Windows Start orb||control+F2, then enter/return||awkard|
|Num lock||Virtual Machine > Send Key|
|Insert toggle||Requires mapping|
Insert key requires mapping
Sending the equivalent of Windows keyboard Insert on a Mac is problematic, especially within a virtual Windows machine.
- On older Macintosh keyboards, press the Help key.
- On older Macintosh notebook keyboards, press fn+M.
- Newer Macintosh notebooks do not support fn+M. So I suggest mapping Alt+F1 within VMware Fusion > Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > Key Mappings.
Delete and Backspace keys swapped
The Delete key on an Apple keyboard (⌫ on older keyboards) is actually the backspace key to all other operating systems. To press the equivalent of the Windows backspace that removes to the left of the cursor:
- On a Macintosh notebook keyboard, press fn + Delete.
- On older full-sized Macintosh keyboards, press ⌦ (called "Forward Delete") below the Help key.
The ALT key on Windows is OPTION on Mac keyboards.
Modifier caps lock
It’s annoying when all of a sudden everything I type is in caps. That happens because I accidentally had my hand too far to the left when I intended to press the A key.
I can type all caps by holding down the shift key with my right hand.
So In OS X Lion onward, change the caps lock key in:
System Preferences > Keyboard > Modifier Keys
Wish I could change it to Esc.
There are some key combinations that are so awkard to use that it’s better to use a mouse or another approach.
Since the fn and control keys are only on the left side of a MacBook keyboard, using them requires a Carpel-tunnel Syndrome-inducing move of the left hand:
- control+F2 to highlight the Apple menu.
- control+F3 to highlight the Dock at the bottom of the screen.
On a Mac without a visible Function keys, press fn to reveal them, thus:
- fn + control + F2 to highlight the Apple menu.
- fn + control + F3 to highlight the Dock at the bottom of the screen.
PROTIP: The fn key is easy to find without looking because it’s at a corner. But use a companion key on the right side of the keyboard.
Trackpad Remapping Tool
The trackpad on OSX recognizes multiple touch points (fingers) at once.
- One finger to move the mouse cursor.
- Two fingers to scroll up or down.
- Three fingers to move among applications active.
BetterTouchTool (BTT) $6.50 app remaps what Apple input devices (keyboard, Magic Mouse, Touchpad, Trackpad) recognize, and also adds more gestures.
There are several dimensions:
pinch in/out (zoom)
Combos: single finger tap left, single finger tap right, single finger tap, two finger tap, two finger click, two finger swipe (up/down/left/right), three finger tap, three finger click, three finger swipe (up/down/left/right) and ‘TipTap’ left/right.
Programs can be invoked several different ways:
- Click the magnifying glass and type the program name
- Click on the apple menu
- the Dock
- or from the Applications folder on your hard drive.
To reset during open, in the Application folder, hold down all keys SHIFT OPTION COMMAND then click the app’s icon.
I probably click the Finder Favorites more than anything else. So I’ve memorized the keyboard keys.
Option + ⌘ + L for the Downloads folder
- Shift + ⌘ + D for the Desktop folder where screen captures are stored (by default).
- Shift + ⌘ + A for the Applications folder where apps are stored.
This enables me to remove default items in the Favorites list (by right-clicking on it) so I can instead list my own folders I use most often.
To go a level up or down in the Finder, press ⌘ + up arrow or down arrow.
Open parent folder and close current window: Option-Command-Up Arrow
To open folders and files by clicking on it and pressing ⌘ + O (instead of Enter as you would on Windows).
- ⌘ + 1 = Icon view
- ⌘ + 2 = List view
- ⌘ + 3 = Column view
⌘ + 4 = Cover flow view
QUESTION: Is there a key to expand width of columns?
control + ⌘ + number to control Arrange sorting.
- ⌘ + F to Search text.
Hide and Unhide Folders
Under Favorites, click on your user name (next to the house icon). If the Library folder does not appear:
sudo chflags nohidden /Library/ ~/Library/
To hide Library again:
sudo chflags hidden /Library/ ~/Library/
Chrome Browser Tabs
|New blank tab||⌘ + shift + H|
|Home tab||⌘ + T|
|Open Settings / Preferences tab||⌘ + , (comma)|
|Close current tab||⌘ + W|
|Re-open tab||⌘ + shift + T|
|Cycle through tabs||control + Tab|
|Bookmarks manager tab||-||option + ⌘ + B|
|History tab||-||option + ⌘ + H|
|Downloads tab||-||shift + ⌘ + J|
|Browser Console||shift + ⌘ + B|
- Firefox keyboard shortcuts can be re-mapped using the Manu Wizard plug-in.
Page operations within Chrome Tab
|History||-||shift + ⌘ + H|
|Search web||-||option + ⌘ + F|
|Find bar (to text on page)||-||⌘ + F|
|Find next match||-||⌘ + G|
|Find previous match||-|| shift + ⌘ + G or|
shift + Enter
|Enter highlighted text to Find||-||⌘ + E|
|Page Down||-||fn + down arrow|
|Page Up||-||fn + up arrow|
|Page top (home)||-||fn + left arrow|
|End of page||-||fn + right arrow|
|Previous page||-||⌘ + [|
|Next page||-||⌘ + ]|
|Refresh||-||⌘ + R|
|Bookmark current page||-||⌘ + D|
|Source HTML||-||option + ⌘ + U|
Text string operations
|Cut highlighted text||-||⌘ + X|
|Copy highlighted text to clipboard||-||⌘ + C|
|Paste highlighted text from clipboard||-||⌘ + V|
|Copy URL of current page to the clipboard.||-||option + ⌘ + C|
|Paste content without formatting||-||shift + option + ⌘ + V|
To use macros, add to Chrome browser the iMacros for Chrome.
This auto-opens http://imacros.net/browser/cr/welcome.
To use macros on Firefox, open in Firefox iMacros for Firefox. Click Add to Firefox. Click Install. Click Restart Now.
Text Command Line Bash Shortcuts
These come from the bash terminal on Linux machines:
- control + A = Beginning of the line (as in A to Z)
- control + E = End of the line
- control + H = Backspace left of cursor
- control + D = Delete right of cursor
- control + F = Forward cursor
- control + B = Backward
- control + N = Next line
- control + P = Previous line
- control + K = Kill line from under the cursor to the end of the line.
Microsoft Word for Mac 2011
- Save = command + S
- Save As = Shift + command + S
Text Editor Special Characters
In a text editor, press either Shift + Option + 8 or Option + 0.
For autocomplete in TextEdit, press Tab + Esc. Unfortunately, this is the same key to toggle the Mac’s text-to-speech.
For the ©Copyright symbol, press the “alt” key (or “option”) and hold it down while typing “g” on the keyboard.
This website and others make use of special coding to represent Apple icons and keyboard icons.
Below is modified from Joe Weaks
|||Apple symbol 1||U+F8FF||Lucida Grande|
|⌘||Command (Open Apple) 2||U+2318|
|⌥||Option (Alt, Alternative)||U+2325|
|﹖ ⃝||Help||U+003F &|
For making videos:
Slowly output the contents of the clipboard into the currently active tab, one character at a time. Map to CTRL-SHIFT-V for a slow paste command.
Applescript “robot” typist inserts characters into XCode or other application
Creates a mapping that will type out the given text into vim.
For a $19 one-time purchase,
enables you to use a single keyboard and mouse on Mac, Windows, and Linux.
More on OSX
This is one of a series on Mac OSX:
- MacOS Boot-up
- MacOS Hardware and accessories
- MacOS Versions
- Data Backups on MacOS
- 1password on MacOS
- MacOS Setup automation
- Utilities for MacOS
- Task Runners Grunt and Gulp
- Text editors and IDEs on MacOS
- Windows on Apple MacOS
- Packer create Vagrant Windows image
- PHP on MacOS
- Java on MacOS
- Maven on MacOS
- Ruby on MacOS
- Python on MacOS
- Node on MacOS installation