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20 keyboard shortcuts that can make you a more powerful Mac user

Chuck La Tournous | Feb. 13, 2015
If you've used a Mac longer than the span of a typical Hollywood awards show, you probably know that Command-P means print, Command-C means copy, and Command-V means paste. That great--it shows you already have a taste for how keyboard shortcuts can save you time. There are hundreds of keyboard shortcuts for just about anything you can do with a mouse. But shortcuts can be intimidating. They're not always intuitive and they can take a lot of time and practice to commit to "finger memory."

There are a couple of other neat tricks that Apple added to the Command-Tab shortcut: While any app is highlighted, tapping the H key will hide it and tapping Q will quit it. If you haven't quite mastered the art of the neat desktop, these shortcuts will become indispensable in short order.

Mail

There are lots of keyboard shortcuts in the Mail app as well, but learning just a few can have a big impact on your email habits.

You can choose how often Mail checks for new messages in its preferences, but you always have the option of manually checking for new mail. To do so without having to visit the Mailbox menu, type Command-Shift-N (for New messages.) Leave out the Shift key and Command-N will create a new, blank message.

If you want to add an attachment to your message, a keyboard shortcut is a much faster way of getting the job done. With a draft message open, type Command-Shift-A and you'll get a dialogue box ready to navigate to the file you want to attach. (Here's a non-keyboard shortcut tip: If the file you wish to attach is visible in the Finder, just drag it on top of this dialogue box and it will be ready to send.)

Finally, there's no need to pick up your mouse and click on Send. Type Command-Shift-D ("Deploy?" "Deliver?") and your message will be on its way.

Safari

We spend a lot of time in our web browsers these days and even a few seconds saved by using keyboard shortcuts can make a big difference over time. Here are some favorites you may have overlooked.

For the fastest way of getting to the address bar and entering a URL, try Command-L (for "Location"). That puts your cursor in the address bar so you can immediately start typing. When you've entered your URL, just hit Return and you're on your way.

When you get to the bottom of the screen, don't reach for your mouse to scroll. Instead, press the spacebar and Safari will jump down a screen. (Press Shift-Space to jump back up.) Looking to navigate a little farther? Function-Left Arrow and Function-Right Arrow will bring you to the top and bottom of the current web page, respectively. (Note that the Function key on third-party keyboards may not work with shortcuts like these.)

Keyboard shortcuts even let you navigate between pages. Type Command-Left Arrow to go to the previous page and when you're ready to go forward again, type Command-Right Arrow.

What if you want to navigate between multiple tabs? Keyboard shortcuts to the rescue. Type Command-Shift-] to jump to the next tab and Command-Shift-[ to jump to the previous one. And if you have multiple windows open in your browser (or pretty much any application), Command-` will cycle through them.

 

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