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45 Insanely Useful Mac Keyboard Shortcuts  – The Ultimate Guide

Image of Ash Roy
Ash Roy

It’s funny how breakthroughs in productivity come from the most unlikely turn of events. Keyboard shortcuts have saved me tens if not hundreds of hours over the years. 

These seemingly insignificant micro-moments have contributed to my business growth goals in a not-so-insignificant manner.

I invite you to implement them into your business and your life as soon as possible. 

If you'd like some help embedding these shortcuts into your business or your life, I'm offering a few free 30-minute calls for a limited time. 

Just click the button below to grab a time that suits you

Grab your free 30-minute call now

Several years ago, after having consumed a few too many beverages, I ended up with a broken finger.

How’d that happen? Well, let’s just say I made a few poor choices. (If you’d really like to know the whole story then you’ll have to buy me a beer sometime and I’ll be happy to share the gory details with you.)

But for now, let’s get back to the story.

There I was at work, the day after a ridiculously long surgery on said broken finger (I had an evil boss who wouldn’t give me more than a day’s leave), pecking away pathetically at my keyboard with one hand in plaster.

I was a sorry sight.

Trying to use the keyboard and the mouse with a solitary functioning hand. Things were painfully slow (pun intended).

I had to find a way of working smarter.

Well, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Before long I had mastered keyboard shortcuts on my PC (which is what I was using at the time). My digital life was never the same again.

Using keyboard shortcuts is one of the best time-saving hacks I’ve come across. It’s probably right up there with my other favorite hacks which include using voice to text to save time in typing on the keyboard, Divvy for screen management which saves oodles of time in minimizing and resizing screens, or my Top 15 iPhone Siri voice commands to save you an hour a week on your iPhone.

Listed below are some very useful keyboard shortcuts for your Mac

(Are you a PC user? Check out these 57 keyboard shortcuts to turn you into an Excel Ninja!)

At a guess, I’d say I save over 15 minutes each day using keyboard shortcuts by using my keyboard instead of reaching across to my mouse each time I want to open a new window or launch an application. 

Over a period of a week, this adds up to 75 minutes assuming a 5 day work week – which is well over an hour in saved time. 

And as they say … time is money, right? 

And so I present to you …. (*drumroll*)

Note: these shortcuts were first created for Mac OSX Mavericks as of 24th Jan 2014 but I’ve recently gone through and updated them for 2021. Please email me if you find any errors in this list and I’ll be happy to fix them 🙂

  • Control + Command + Space Bar – Show character viewer from which you can choose emojis and other symbols
  • Command+ tab – Flip between open applications or switch to the next most recently used app among your open apps
  • Command+` – Flip Between Windows in Current Application
  • Command+ M – Minimize the current window to the dock. (Option + Command + M minimizes all windows on the app)
  • Command + H – Hide all windows of the front app (Command + Option + H – Hide all other app windows)
  • Command + W – Close current window
  • Command + Option + H – Close all other open windows (besides currently open application) 
  • Command + , – Bring up the preferences window in the application you’re currently in
  • Command + Option + D – Hide and unhide the Dock
  • Command + Space – Activate Spotlight on your mac –  (Check out the Alfred app – it’s an awesome alternative to spotlight and includes incredible workflows. Highly recommended!)
  • Control + Up Arrow – Activate Mission Control
  • Command + L – Select Safari’s address / URL field to quickly enter a URL
  • Command + Shift + U – Mark messages as read or unread in Mail app
  • Command + I – Check for information on a particular file within Finder
  • Command + Option + I – Check for information on multiple files within Finder – (just keep clicking on different files to show information related to that file)
  • Command + Down Arrow – To open a file in its native application without clicking (from within finder)
  • Option + Left Arrow (or Right Arrow) – To jump across the whole word quickly
  • Shift + Option + Left Arrow (or Right Arrow) – To select a whole word at a time
  • Command + T – Open a second tab within a Safari session
  • Command + Shift + ] (or [) – Jump between open tabs in Safari
  • Put your Mac to sleep – Command + Option + Eject (If your keyboard doesn’t have an Eject button then use the power button)
  • To grab a screenshot of the entire screen and save the image to your desktop – Command + Shift + 3
  • Command + Shift + 4 – To grab a screenshot of a selected area of your screen (and then drag the cursor over the area you want to take a screenshot of. Once you release the mouse the screenshot will automatically be copied to your desktop)
  • Command + Shift + 4 + Spacebar – To take a screenshot of just one window on your screen
  • Command + Shift + Delete – Empty trash when in Finder
  • Command + Option + Shift + Delete – Force computer to Empty trash (so you don’t get warnings)
  • Shift + Command + I – To automatically generate a new email message with a link to the page you’re browsing when in Safari

Keyboard shortcuts to create symbols on your Mac


Mac keyboard

  • Option + =  To create not equals to symbol (≠)
  • Shift + Option + + – To create a plus or minus sign (±)-  
  • Option + 5 – To create the infinity symbol (∞)
  • Option + ; – To create ellipses (…)
  • Option + ? – To create the dividing symbol (÷)
  • Option + > – To create equal to or greater than symbol (≥)
  • Option + < – To create equal to or lower than (≤)
  • Option + P – To create a Pi sign (π)
  • Option + I – To create a circumflex (ˆ)
  • Option + N – To create Tilde (˜)
  • Option + Shift  + ? – To create an inverted question mark (¿)
  • Option + R – To create a registered trademark symbol ((®)
  • Option + G – To create a copyright symbol (©)
  • Option + 8 – To create a bullet point symbol (•)
  • Option + T – To create a dagger for footnotes (†)
  • Option + D – To create the Greek letter delta (∂)
  • Option + S – To create the Greek letter Beta (ß)
  • Option + Z – To create the Greek letter Omega (Ω)

What Keyboard shortcuts do you use to save yourself time? Is there anything you’d like to add to this list? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

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