General Keyboard Shortcut Commands for Mac OS

Finder Navigation

General

  • New Finder window: Command N

  • Up one folder level: Command Up Arrow

  • Open selected folder: Command Down Arrow

  • Back: Command left bracket

  • Forward: Command right bracket

Direct Folder Access

  • Open the Applications folder: Command Shift A

  • Open the Computer folder: Command Shift C

  • Open desktop folder: Command Shift D

  • Go to Folder: Command Shift G

  • Open the Home folder of the currently logged-in user account: Command Shift H

Editing Commands

  • Select all (e.g. all text, or all items in the front Finder window): Command A

  • Copy selected item/text: Command C

  • Paste: Command V

  • Cut: Command X

  • Undo: Command Z

  • Redo: Command Shift Z

  • Move to Trash: Command Delete (or Command Backspace)

Miscellaneous

  • Move focus to the menu bar: Control-F2, or Control-Function-2 if you're using a Mac with a Touch Bar

  • Move focus to the Dock: Control F 3, or Control Function 3 if you're using a Mac with a Touch Bar

  • Move forward to the next most recently used application in a list of open applications: Command Tab

  • Minimize window: Command M

  • View as List: Command 2

  • Open selected item: Command O

  • Open Mac Help or current application help: Command question mark

  • Spotlight: Command Spacebar

  • Find any matching Spotlight attribute: Command F

Closing and Quitting

  • Close window: Command W

  • Eject: Command E

  • Force Quit (Equivalent of Ctrl-Alt-Delete): Command Option Esc

  • Force Quit front-most application: Command Shift Option Esc

Application and other MacOS keyboard commands

Note: Some applications may not support all of the below application key combinations.

File Commands

  • New document: Command N

  • Open document: Command O

  • Save the active document: Command S

  • Duplicate the active document: Command Shift S

  • Print dialog: Command P

  • Display a dialog for specifying printing parameters (Page Setup): Command Shift P

  • Quit application: Command Q

Cursor Movement

  • End of the current line: Command Right Arrow

  • Beginning of the current line: Command Left Arrow

  • Beginning of the document: Command Up Arrow

  • End of the document: Command Down Arrow

  • End of the current word: Option right arrow

  • Beginning of the current word: Option Left Arrow

  • End of the current paragraph: Option Down Arrow

  • Beginning of the current paragraph: Option Up Arrow

Pressing Shift with these shortcuts selects the text between where the cursor starts and ends.

Font Formatting

  • Decrease the size of the selected item: Command dash

  • Increase the size of the selected item: Command Shift equals

  • Boldface the selected text or toggle boldfaced text on and off: Command B

  • Underline the selected text or turn underlining on or off: Command U

  • Italicize the selected text or toggle italic text on or off: Command I

  • Display the Fonts window: Command T

Alignment

  • Left-align a selection: Command left brace

  • Right-align a selection: Command right brace

  • Center-align a selection: Command Shift backslash

Miscellaneous

  • Display the Spelling window: Command Shift semicolon

  • Open a Find window: Command F

  • Open an application's preferences window (if it supports this keyboard shortcut): Command comma

For a more comprehensive listing of shortcuts check out this Apple Support article.

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8 Comments

#1 Great!

David, You are making my day! I teach Assistive Technology for the state of TN, and the post about Mac vs. Windows screen readers was great. This is up there with it! Keep it coming! Thanks! Bill

#2 Re: Great

Thanks so much for this. I just got my Mac Book Air 2 days after Christmas. While I have since become pretty familiar with Voiceover, this command list will serve as an excellent resource. Not only this list, but I have found Apple Vis in general to be a wealth of information and hope it will continue long into the future!

#3 Thank you for this important list

First,I want to thank you for all the very helpful podcasts and articles you put on Applevis.
When I learned to use VoiceOver on the Mac, I was aware of many of these general commands already. But I think that many new blind Mac users somehow get the impression that all there is, is VO commands which makes life very complicated.
I wish that the VoiceOver Help could add this list of general commands somewhere so that it'd be easier to find them.

#4 Eject replacement in Mac Air

Hi Dave,
Thank you again for these cool lists of tips.
Is there a way to work out any shortcuts for fast shutdown in Mac Air? I don't know whether this eject button you've mentioned here is present in Mac air. Am I to assume that the button at the top right corner to turn on / sleep the mac can be used in place of Eject?
Thanks much!

#5 fast shut down

If you simply press and hold the upper top right key on the keyboard, it will bring up the shut down menu.

#6 Now Able to Access Support Article, But...

Hello all. I'm running the first update to OS X El Capitan, and I'm happy to report that the Apple support article linked to in this post reads just fine on my mid-2013 MBA. However, I'm wondering if there's another shortcut for sorting music in iTunes. I attempted to do this using Command-I for the Info dialog, but every time I sort stuff that I've titled manually the order of things gets screwed up somehow. Or is this just a drag-and-drop thing? In addition, is there a VO shortcut for accessing the iTunes trash? I inadvertently deleted a song which is part of a soundtrack that I like, and I want to put it back if at all possible. I even asked my sister who is also a VoiceOver user, but she didn't know. I'd be happy to drag and drop if necessary, but just wondering about this. Otherwise great job as always, and I'm happy with El Capitan thus far.

#7 Re:Fast Shutdown

Thank you so much! That works like a charm.

#8 Spotlight

Hi,
I'm using multiple languages on my keyboard and so the default language switcher short-cut has overridden the usual key stroke to call spotlight. I. e. Command + space bar. I saw there's an option to call spotlight using down arrow in the spotlight tab of the system preferences but I don't like to have it that way because it is a bit annoying to find that spotlight popping up every time I press down arrow. Is there a work around in this situation for me to change the default short-cut for language switching to something else like command + shift as in the case of language switching in Windows or it would be good even if I could change the short-cut key for spotlight to something else.
Can anybody suggest a work-around please?