Some of my favourite Mac shortcuts

Here are some of my favourite Mac shortcuts - hope you find them useful

Soon I am going to be delivering a short workshop on getting the most out of the Mac (for non dev folk) as preparation for this I wanted to detail out some of my favourite shortcuts in the applications that people taking the workshop use fairly regularly.

Interacting with OS X

  • CMD + Tab -> Opens application switcher Tab moves between items
  • CMD + Tab -> Opens application switcher Switch+Tab moves back between items

The order is always the order of the last used application so CMD+Tab will quickly jump to the last program you had in focus.

When in application switcher you can press Q to kill any program

To open any application I use Alfred, but baked into OS X is Spotlight.

CMD + Space then type the program you want

Spotlight also has a pretty powerful search, so try typing for the name of the document that you can’t remember exactly where you saved it.

CMD + , -> Opens the Settings dialog for 99% of applications


There are some extensions you can download to really use the keyboard for everything in Chrome, I try and stick to as few extensions as possible. These are all available out of the box.

  • CMD + L -> Goes to your URL Bar
  • CMD + T -> Opens a new tab
  • CMD + W -> Closes the current tab
  • CMD + R -> Refreshes the page
  • CMD + ALT + left/right -> Moves between pages

More Tools -> Extensions -> Keyboard Shortcuts -> Set your most used extensions with useful keyboard shortcuts (CMD + H for me is Hootsuite)


I tend to not use Pages unless I really have to, but here are the shortcuts I use when I do use it.

  • CMD + DEL -> Delete from the cursor to the start of the line.
  • CMD + SHIFT + LEFT -> Select from the cursor to the start of the line.
  • CMD + SHIFT + RIGHT -> Select from the cursor to the end of the line.
  • CMD + SHIFT + UP -> Select from the cursor to the start of the file.
  • CMD + SHIFT + DOWN -> Select from the cursor to the end of the file.
  • Fn + CMD + ENTER -> Adds a page break

You can add shortcuts to your most used styles by clicking two the right of the style name and assigning an F key as a shortcut. I tend to do F1-F3 has Heading 1 - Heading 3.


Again I tend not to use Mail unless for some reason I have to, I am much more at home with the Gmail web interface (which has a really nice selection of keyboard shortcuts). But the people in this workshop use Mail a lot so here are the shortcuts I have used before.

  • CMD + N -> New Mail Message
  • CMD + SHIFT + D -> Send Mail Message (I dislike that it isn’t CMD + Enter, we can fix that, see the Misc section below)
  • CMD + 1,2,3,etc -> Moves you to the mailbox listed at the top of your screen, you can add / move the mailboxes that appear in there to quickly jump between folders.
  • CMD + ‘ -> Quote some text with an indent
  • CMD + ALT + ‘ -> Dequote some text with an outdent
  • Not a keyboard shortcut, but use smart mailboxes, they are the one good feature of


  • CMD + 3 -> Brings up all your contacts (you can press enter on a contact to go into a text chat)
  • CMD + SHIFT + F -> Search Contacts / Conversations


  • CMD + Left/Right -> Moves between months
  • CMD + N -> New Event
  • CMD + T -> Whichever view you are in, go to today
  • CMD + SHIFT + T -> Go to a specified date


  • CTRL + CMD + Space -> Insert Emoji anywhere
  • CMD + SHIFT + ? -> Opens up help for any program

Go to the Keyboard preferences pane, click on Shortcuts and change Full Keyboard Access to All Controls. Now you can go through dialog boxes with your keyboard.

To set your own keyboard shortcuts for applications (like making CMD + Enter the default behaviour for sending emails) you can open the Keyboard preferences pane, click on Shortcuts, App Shortcuts and click add. You need to know the text that is shown in the dropdown menu in the application (for the text is send) – Type that into the box and then record your keyboard shortcut

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