10 Mac Keyboard Shortcuts to Keep You in the Zone

Mac keyboard on table

When you’re working on your Mac, the best way to stay in the zone is to use keyboard shortcuts. The less your hands have to leave the keyboard the better.

Instead of hunting through menus with the mouse, check out these 10 Mac keyboard shortcuts. They’ll make your life easier and more productive.

Look at the bottom of the article for a tip on how to learn them.

1. Spotlight: Command + Spacebar

Spotlight is one of the best and most underused applications in OS X. While it’s great for finding files, it’s even better as an app launcher.

Even better still, you can enter a basic math problem into Spotlight and get the answer without even having to open up the calculator.

Calculating math problem in Spotlight

2. Search in Finder: Command + Option + Spacebar

If you’d rather use a Finder window to do your searching, add the Option key to the Spotlight command and you’ll have a search window up and waiting for your query.

3. Cycle Through Finder Windows: Command + ~ (tilde)

With Mavericks you gained the ability to use tabs in Finder, but a lot of people still like to leave multiple Finder windows open. To cycle through these windows one by one, use the Command + ~ shortcut.

Add Shift into the command to move in the opposite direction.

Multiple Finder windows

4. Change Finder Views: Command + 1/2/3/4

Select Command + the numbers 1 through 4 to cycle through the different Finder views: Icon, List, Column, and Cover Flow.

This helps you see things a little more clearly without needing to use the mouse.

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5. Cycle Through Open Apps: Command + Tab

Many people know that you can use Command + Tab to cycle through open applications. For anyone who doesn’t, this is a great way to find the app you’re looking for, especially if the Dock is hidden or on another display.

Cycling through open apps on Mac

6. Cycle Apps, Then Hide ‘Em: Command + Tab + H

Now that you know how to scroll through open apps with Command + Tab, add the H key and you’ll hide whatever app is selected.

7. Move Through System Folders With Ease: Command + Shift + A/U/

If you frequently need to access the Applications, Utilities, or Documents folders, you can easily get to them by opening a Finder window, holding down Command + Shift, then hitting the letter associated with the folder.

You do need to have Finder as the active app for this to work.

8. Info Panes Everywhere! Command + Option + I

This will give you an info pane for whatever is currently selected. Want info on multiple items? Highlight them and then use this command.

Mac info pane

9. Email That Webpage: Shift + Command + I

This shortcut will take the Web page you’re currently viewing in your default browser and generate a new email in your default mail client with that URL and page title.

This is great if you need to remind yourself of a site or just send it to a family member or friend.

10. Take a Window Screenshot: Command + Shift + 4 + Spacebar

This command will take a screenshot of any window you currently have open. This also goes for the toolbar and the Dock. Just hover the camera icon over the window you want a shot of and click with your mouse. Remove the spacebar and you get the regular drag version of screenshot.

How Do You Learn These?

Try giving it a minute a day. That’s all. Do it for 30 days, and the keyboard shortcuts will likely have become second nature. (For more on habit change, see our guide, The 1-Minute Habit.)

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