Keyboard Shortcuts in OS X

In OS X keyboard shortcuts can help cut down on the amount of time it takes to perform certain tasks. Learn how to use them here.

What are keyboard shortcuts?

Video: Keyboard Shortcuts

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Keyboard shortcuts are keys or a combination of keys you can press on your keyboard to perform a variety of tasks. Using keyboard shortcuts is often faster than using a mouse because you can keep both hands on the keyboard. Keyboard shortcuts are also universal, which means you can use many of the same shortcuts in a variety of applications. For example, you can use the shortcuts to copy and paste text in a word processor and in a web browser.

Using shortcuts

Many keyboard shortcuts require you to press two or more keys in a specific order. For example, to perform the shortcut Command+X, you would press and hold the Command key, press the X key, and release.

Stock photo of person performing keyboard shortcuts

You'll use the Command, Option, and Control keys to perform most keyboard shortcuts. You'll find these keys near the bottom-left corner of your keyboard.

Photo of left side of Mac keyboard

If you are not using a Mac keyboard, you may not have the Command or Option keys. This means you'll need to experiment with key combinations to perform some keyboard shortcuts.

Working with text

These keyboard shortcuts are useful when working with text in word processors, email applications, and more. They can help you perform commonly repeated tasks, such as copying and pasting text.

Working with files and applications

You can use keyboard shortcuts to open, close, and switch applications. When working with a file, such as a Microsoft Word document, shortcuts can be used to create new files, find words, and print.

Internet shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts can also be used to navigate your web browser. Many of the text shortcuts above are also useful online, such as the shortcuts for selecting, copying, and pasting text into your web browser's address bar. Note that some of these shortcuts may work a bit differently depending on the web browser you're using.

How to find more keyboard shortcuts

In many applications, you'll find keyboard shortcuts next to menu items.

Screenshot of os x

When you look for shortcuts this way, you'll notice that OS X uses a few different symbols to indicate different keys on your keyboard, including:

If you want to perform the shortcut option symbol command symbol P, press Option+Command+P on your keyboard. shift symbol command symbol S would be Shift+Command+S, and so on.

If you want to learn even more keyboard shortcuts, check out this lesson from our Tech Savvy Tips and Tricks tutorial.