Learn about common Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts. A keyboard shortcut is a way to invoke a function in Mac OS X by pressing a combination of keys on your keyboard.

To use a keyboard shortcut, or key combination, you press a modifier key with a character key. For example, pressing the Command key (the key with a  symbol) and the “c” key at the same time copies whatever is currently selected (text, graphics, and so forth) into the Clipboard. This is also known as the Command-C key combination (or keyboard shortcut).

A modifier key is a part of many key combinations. A modifier key alters the way other keystrokes or mouse clicks are interpreted by Mac OS X. Modifier keys include: Command, Control, Option, Shift, Caps Lock, and (on portable Macs) the fn key.

Here are the modifier key symbols you can see in Mac OS X menus:

(Command key) – Sometimes called “Apple key”; on Apple keyboards this key also has an Apple logo ()
(Control key)
(Option key) – “Alt” may also appear on this key
(Shift key)
(Caps Lock) – Toggles Caps Lock on or off
fn (Function key) – Located in the lower left corner of built-in keyboards on portable Macs

Products Affected

Mac OS X 10.4, Mac OS X 10.3, Mac OS X 10.2, Mac OS X 10.1, Mac OS X 10.0, Mac OS X 10.5

Startup keyboard shortcuts

Press the key or key combination until the expected function occurs/appears (for example, hold Option during startup until Startup Manager appears, or Shift until “Safe Boot” appears). Tip: If a startup function doesn’t work and you use a third-party keyboard, connect an Apple keyboard and try again.

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Key or key combination What it does
Option Display all bootable volumes (Startup Manager)
Shift Perform Safe Boot (start up in Safe Mode)
C Start from a bootable disc
T Start in FireWire target disk mode
N Start from NetBoot server
X Force Mac OS X startup (if non-Mac OS X startup volumes are present)
Command-V Start in Verbose Mode
Command-S Start in Single User Mode


Finder keyboard shortcuts

Key combination What it does
Command-A Select all items in the front Finder window (or desktop if no window is open)
Option-Command-A Deselect all items
Shift-Command-A Open the Applications folder
Command-C Copy selected item/text
Shift-Command-C Open the Computer window
Command-D Duplicate selected item
Shift-Command-D Open desktop folder
Command-E Eject
Command-F Find any matching Spotlight attribute
Shift-Command-F Find Spotlight file name matches
Option-Command-F Navigate to the search field in an already-open Spotlight window
Shift-Command-G Go to Folder
Shift-Command-H Open the Home folder of the currently logged-in user account
Command-I Get Info
Option-Command-I Show Inspector
Control-Command-I Get Summary Info
Shift-Command-I Open iDisk
Command-J Show View Options
Command-K Connect to Server
Shift-Command-K Open Network window
Command-L Make alias of the selected item
Command-M Minimize window
Option-Command-M Minimize all windows
Command-N New Finder window
Shift-Command-N New folder
Option-Command-N New Smart Folder
Command-O Open selected item
Shift-Command-Q Log Out
Option-Shift-Command-Q Log Out immediately
Command-R Show original (of alias)
Command-T Add to Sidebar
Shift-Command-T Add to Favorites
Option-Command-T Hide Toolbar / Show Toolbar in Finder windows
Shift-Command-U Open Utilities folder
Command-V Paste
Command-W Close window
Option-Command-W Close all windows
Command-X Cut
Option-Command-Y Slideshow (Mac OS X 10.5 or later)
Command-Z Undo / Redo
Command-1 View as Icon
Command-2 View as List
Command-3 View as Columns
Command-4 View as Cover Flow (Mac OS X 10.5 or later)
Command-, (Command and the comma key) Open Finder preferences
Command-` (the Grave accent key–above Tab key on a US English keyboard layout) Cycle through open Finder windows
Command-Shift-? Access Mac Help
Option-Shift-Command-esc Force Quit Finder
Command-[ Back
Command-] Forward
Command-Up Arrow Open enclosed folder
Control-Command-Up Arrow Open enclosed folder in a new window
Command-Down Arrow Open highlighted item
Command-Tab Switch application–cycle forward
Shift-Command-Tab Switch application–cycle backward
Command-Delete Move to Trash
Shift-Command-Delete Empty Trash
Option-Shift-Command-Delete Empty Trash without confirmation dialog
Spacebar (or Command-Y) Quick Look (Mac OS X 10.5 or later)
Command key while dragging Move dragged item to other volume/location (pointer icon changes while key is held–see this article)
Option key while dragging Copy dragged item (pointer icon changes while key is held–see this article)
Option-Command key combination while dragging Make alias of dragged item (pointer icon changes while key is held–see this article)


Application and other Mac OS X keyboard commands

Note: Some applications may not support all of the below application key combinations.

Key combination What it does
Command-Space Show or hide the Spotlight search field (if multiple languages are installed, may rotate through enabled script systems)
Option-Command-Space Show the Spotlight search results window (if multiple languages are installed, may rotate through keyboard layouts and input methods within a script)
Command-Tab Move forward to the next most recently used application in a list of open applications
Shift-Command-Tab Move backward through a list of open applications (sorted by recent use)
Shift-Tab Navigate through controls in a reverse direction
Control-Tab Move focus to the next grouping of controls in a dialog or the next table (when Tab moves to the next cell)
Shift-Control-Tab Move focus to the previous grouping of controls
Command-esc Open Front Row (if installed)
Option-Eject Eject from secondary optical media drive (if one is installed)
Control-Eject Show shutdown dialog
Option-Command-Eject Put the computer to sleep
Control-Command-Eject Quit all applications (after giving you a chance to save changes to open documents), then restart the computer
Control Option-Command-Eject Quit all applications (after giving you a chance to save changes to open documents), then shut down the computer
fn-Delete Forward Delete (on portable Macs’ built-in keyboard)
Control-F1 Toggle full keyboard access on or off
Control-F2 Move focus to the menu bar
Control-F3 Move focus to the Dock
Control-F4 Move focus to the active (or next) window
Shift-Control-F4 Move focus to the previously active window
Control-F5 Move focus to the toolbar.
Control-F6 Move focus to the first (or next) panel
Shift-Control-F6 Move focus to the previous panel
Control-F7 Temporarily override the current keyboard access mode in windows and dialogs
F9 Tile or untile all open windows
F10 Tile or untile all open windows in the currently active application
F11 Hide or show all open windows
F12 Hide or display Dashboard
Command-` Activate the next open window in the frontmost application
Shift-Command-` Activate the previous open window in the frontmost application
Option-Command-` Move focus to the window drawer
Command- – (minus) Decrease the size of the selected item
Command-{ Left-align a selection
Command-} Right-align a selection
Command-| Center-align a selection
Command-: Display the Spelling window
Command-; Find misspelled words in the document
Command-, Open the front application’s preferences window (if it supports this keyboard shortcut)
Option-Control-Command-, Decrease screen contrast
Option-Control-Command-. Increase screen contrast
Command-? Open the application’s help in Help Viewer
Option-Command-/ Turn font smoothing on or off
Shift-Command-= Increase the size of the selected item
Shift-Command-3 Capture the screen to a file
Shift-Control-Command-3 Capture the screen to the Clipboard
Shift-Command-4 Capture a selection to a file
Shift-Control-Command-4 Capture a selection to the Clipboard
Command-A Highlight every item in a document or window, or all characters in a text field
Command-B Boldface the selected text or toggle boldfaced text on and off
Command-C Duplicate the selected data and store on the Clipboard
Shift-Command-C Display the Colors window
Option-Command-C Copy the style of the selected text
Control-Command-C Copy the formatting settings of the selected item and store on the Clipboard
Option-Command-D Show or hide the Dock
Command-Control D Display the definition of the selected word in the Dictionary application
Command-E Use the selection for a find
Command-F Open a Find window
Option-Command-F Move to the search field control
Command-G Find the next occurrence of the selection
Shift-Command-G Find the previous occurrence of the selection
Command-H Hide the windows of the currently running application
Option-Command-H Hide the windows of all other running applications
Command-I Italicize the selected text or toggle italic text on or off
Option-Command-I Display an inspector window
Command-J Scroll to a selection
Command-M Minimize the active window to the Dock
Option-Command-M Minimize all windows of the active application to the Dock
Command-N Create a new document in the frontmost application
Command-O Display a dialog for choosing a document to open in the frontmost application
Command-P Display the Print dialog
Shift-Command-P Display a dialog for specifying printing parameters (Page Setup)
Command-Q Quit the frontmost application
Command-S Save the active document
Shift-Command-S Display the Save As dialog
Command-T Display the Fonts window
Option-Command-T Show or hide a toolbar
Command-U Underline the selected text or turn underlining on or off
Command-V Paste the Clipboard contents at the insertion point
Option-Command-V Apply the style of one object to the selected object (Paste Style)
Option-Shift-Command-V Apply the style of the surrounding text to the inserted object (Paste and Match Style)
Control-Command-V Apply formatting settings to the selected object (Paste Ruler Command)
Command-W Close the frontmost window
Shift-Command-W Close a file and its associated windows
Option-Command-W Close all windows in the application without quitting it
Command-X Remove the selection and store in the Clipboard
Command-Z Undo previous command (some applications allow for multiple Undos)
Shift-Command-Z Redo previous command (some applications allow for multiple Redos)
Control-Right Arrow Move focus to another value or cell within a view, such as a table
Control-Left Arrow Move focus to another value or cell within a view, such as a table
Control-Down Arrow Move focus to another value or cell within a view, such as a table
Control-Up Arrow Move focus to another value or cell within a view, such as a table
Shift-Command-Right Arrow Select text between the insertion point and the end of the current line (*)
Shift-Command-Left Arrow Select text between the insertion point and the beginning of the current line (*)
Shift-Right Arrow Extend text selection one character to the right (*)
Shift-Left Arrow Extend text selection one character to the left (*)
Shift-Command-Up Arrow Select text between the insertion point and the beginning of the document (*)
Shift-Command-Down Arrow Select text between the insertion point and the end of the document (*)
Shift-Up Arrow Extend text selection to the line above, to the nearest character boundary at the same horizontal location (*)
Shift-Down Arrow Extend text selection to the line below, to the nearest character boundary at the same horizontal location (*)
Shift-Option-Right Arrow Extend text selection to the end of the current word, then to the end of the following word if pressed again (*)
Shift-Option-Left Arrow Extend text selection to the beginning of the current word, then to the beginning of the following word if pressed again (*)
Shift-Option-Down Arrow Extend text selection to the end of the current paragraph, then to the end of the following paragraph if pressed again (*)
Shift-Option-Up Arrow Extend text selection to the beginning of the current paragraph, then to the beginning of the following paragraph if pressed again (*)
Control-Space Toggle between the current and previous input sources
Option-Control-Space Toggle through all enabled input sources
Command-Left Arrow Change the keyboard layout to current layout of system script
Command-Right Arrow Change the keyboard layout to current layout of Roman script
Option-Command-esc Force Quit

(*) Note: If no text is selected, the extension begins at the insertion point. If text is selected by dragging, then the extension begins at the selection boundary. Reversing the direction of the selection deselects the appropriate unit.


Universal Access - VoiceOver keyboard commands

Key combination What it does
Command-F5 or
fn Command-F5
Turn VoiceOver on or off
Control Option-F8 or
fn Control Option-F8
Open VoiceOver Utility
Control Option-F7 or
fn Control Option-F7
Display VoiceOver menu
Control Option-;
or fn Control Option-;
Enable/disable VoiceOver Control Option-lock
Option-Command-8 or
fn Command-F11
Turn on Zoom
Option-Command-+ Zoom In
Option-Command- – (minus) Zoom Out
Option-Control-Command-8 Invert/revert the screen colors
Control Option-Command-, Reduce contrast
Control Option-Command-. Increase contrast

Note: You may need to enable “Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard keys” in Keyboard preferences for the VoiceOver menu and utility to work.


Universal Access – Mouse Keys

When Mouse Keys is turned on in Universal Access preferences, you can use the keyboard or numeric keypad keys to move the mouse pointer. If your computer doesn’t have a numeric keypad, use the Fn (function) key.

Key combination What it does
8 Move Up
2 Move Down
4 Move Left
6 Move Right
1 Move Diagonally Bottom Left
3 Move Diagonally Bottom Right
7 Move Diagonally Top Left
9 Move Diagonally Top Right
5 Press Mouse Button
0 Hold Mouse Button
. (period on number pad) Release Hold Mouse Button

See also: Shortcuts for Mouse Keys.

Additional Information

Advanced: This article refers to the default modifier key assignments. Modifier key assignments can be changed in the Keyboard & Mouse preferences pane of System Preferences. For example, you can change the Command key to act as an Option key, and vice-versa. You can also restore default modifier key settings.

See also: