The Most Useful Mac Keyboard Shortcuts to Know

Joel Lee 25-04-2020

If a Mac is your go-to device for working online, it’s a good idea to learn a few of its keyboard shortcuts for managing your desktop. To help you discover and memorize the most essential macOS shortcuts, we’ve compiled them into a cheat sheet below.


The cheat sheet contains key combinations for taking screenshots, managing boot modes and shutdown routines, and working with Finder. You’ll also find shortcuts for managing windows, force-quitting apps, emptying the Trash folder, and more.

FREE DOWNLOAD: This cheat sheet is available as a downloadable PDF from our distribution partner, TradePub. You will have to complete a short form to access it for the first time only. Download Essential Keyboard Shortcuts for Mac.

Essential Keyboard Shortcuts for Mac

Startup Shortcuts
DBoot to Apple Diagnostics
NBoot from a network server
TBoot in Target Disk Mode
ShiftBoot in Safe Mode
Cmd + RBoot to macOS Recovery
Option + Cmd + RBoot to macOS Recovery over the internet
Cmd + SBoot in Single-User Mode
Cmd + VBoot in Verbose Mode
OptionBoot to Startup Manager, to pick other startup disks if available
Cmd + Option + P + RReset NVRAM or PRAM
F12Eject removable media
Global Shortcuts
Shift + Cmd + 3Take screenshot of entire screen
Shift + Cmd + 4Take screenshot of selected area
Shift + Cmd + 4, then SpaceTake screenshot of selected window
Cmd + ASelect all
Cmd + FFind
Cmd + HHide current window
Option + Cmd + HHide all other windows
Cmd + MMinimize current window
Option + Cmd + MMinimize all windows
Cmd + WClose current window
Option + Cmd + WClose all windows
Cmd + OOpen
Cmd + PPrint
Cmd + SSave
Cmd + CCopy
Cmd + VPaste (copy)
Option + Cmd + VPaste (cut) i.e. move copied item to current location
Shift + Option + Cmd + VPaste and match style
Cmd + ZUndo
Cmd + ?Help
Cmd + , (Comma)Open Preferences for current app
Cmd + SpaceOpen Spotlight search
Cmd + TabSwitch to the next open app
Cmd + ~ (Tilde)Switch to the next window in the current app
Control + Cmd + QLock the screen
Shift + Cmd + QLog out
Option + Shift + Cmd + QLog out instantly
Cmd + Option + EscForce quit
Cmd + Option + EjectActivate Sleep mode
Shift + Control + EjectPut display(s) to sleep
Cmd + Control + EjectQuit all apps and restart
Control + EjectChoose from Sleep, Restart, and Shutdown options
Finder Shortcuts
EnterRename selected file or folder
SpaceOpen preview of selected file
Option + SpaceOpen preview of selected file in fullscreen mode
Shift + Cmd + GGo to folder...
Shift + Cmd + NCreate new folder
Shift + Cmd + DeleteEmpty the Trash folder
Option + Shift + Cmd + DeleteEmpty the Trash folder immediately
Cmd + 1Icon View
Cmd + 2List View
Cmd + 3Column View
Cmd + DDuplicate selected file or folder
Cmd + IGet info
Cmd + JView options
Cmd + NOpen new Finder window
Cmd + TOpen new Finder tab
Cmd + [Back
Cmd + ]Forward
Cmd + DeleteMove selected item(s) to Trash
Cmd + UpMove up one folder
Cmd + DownMove down one folder
Cmd + Option + IShow Attributes Inspector
Cmd + Control + NWith files selected, create a new folder and immediately move selected files into that folder

More Ways to Boost Your macOS Workflow

We also have another cheat sheet specifically for Mac Finder shortcuts The Finder Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet for Mac Our Finder keyboard shortcuts cheat sheet will help you transform how you manage files, folders, and apps on your Mac desktop. Read More and how to smartly navigate Mac with Magic Mouse 4 Useful Magic Mouse Gestures for Smarter Mac Navigation Have a Magic Mouse for your iMac or MacBook? You must know these essential Magic Mouse gestures for greater efficiency. Read More . If you use Microsoft Office, we’ve rounded up a ton of Microsoft Office for Mac shortcuts The Microsoft Office for Mac Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet Our list of common keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Office for Mac will help you get your work done faster. Read More too. Looking for even more ways to be productive on your computer? Check out how to replicate Siri shortcuts on your Mac.

Related topics: Cheat Sheet, Keyboard Shortcuts, Mac Tips.

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  1. Metin Seven
    March 18, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Nice list. I didn't know the Shift + Command + 4 then Space to grab windows yet.

    Here's a possible addition: Select files in the Finder, then press Control + Command + N to create a new folder and auto-move the files to the new folder.

    • Joel Lee
      March 20, 2018 at 12:45 pm

      Wow, I never knew that one! Thanks Metin, I've added that shortcut to the list. :)

      • Metin Seven
        March 20, 2018 at 7:28 pm

        Great! ?

  2. AM
    March 9, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    Afaik, the keyboard shortcut to reach the status bar is missing. Like cmd-F2 for the "apple" menu. I know there is one, but I do not find it anymore. For example it would be useful to enter the battery status menu -- w/o using the mouse -- and see which application(s) get(s) listed under "Apps using significant energy". Great site !

  3. Michael Michaelson
    January 11, 2015 at 5:27 am

    Great stuff.
    I've got a kind of a short-cut to share. Wasn't sure where to put it. Maybe an idea for a topic. 'Mac-User Tip Shares' or something like that.
    I run a television off of my mbp and when I'm not using it I don't always turn it off. I wanted to run slide shows on it when not in use, but found iPhoto shut my screen down in order to do it. So I tried Aperture. Same problem.
    Simple solution: Fill a folder with photos or wall papers. Use Desktop & Screen Saver in Sys Prefs and select the folder you filled for the Secondary Desktop. Check the Change Picture box. Not a whole lot of time options but it makes for a great screen saver that you can still interact with. And won't shut own your primary screen.