General Keyboard Shortcut Commands for macOS

Last modified
Sunday, November 15, 2020

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 forward to the next most recently used app in a list of open apps: Command-Tab
  • Minimize window: Command-M
  • View as List: Command-2
  • Open selected item: Command-O
  • Open Mac Help or current app help: Command question mark
  • Spotlight: Command-Spacebar
  • Find any matching Spotlight attribute: Command-F

Closing and Quitting

  • Close window: Command-W
  • Quit current app: Command-Q
  • Eject: Command-E
  • Force Quit (Equivalent of Ctrl-Alt-Delete): Command-Option-Esc
  • Force Quit front-most app: Command-Shift-Option-Esc

App and other MacOS keyboard commands

Note: Some apps may not support all of the below 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

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 app'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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Disclaimer

The article on this page has generously been submitted by a member of the AppleVis community. As AppleVis is a community-powered website, we make no guarantee, either express or implied, of the accuracy or completeness of the information.

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Comments

Submitted by billip on Wednesday, July 18, 2012

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

Submitted by Ekaj on Tuesday, January 14, 2014

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!

Submitted by MTR on Tuesday, August 4, 2015

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.

Submitted by Jay Bee on Tuesday, October 27, 2015

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!

Submitted by Usman on Tuesday, October 27, 2015

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

Submitted by Ekaj on Tuesday, October 27, 2015

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.

Submitted by Jay Bee on Wednesday, November 11, 2015

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?