Tips For Controlling Your Mac With Your Keyboard

You can almost completely control your Mac using just your keyboard. Many keyboard shortcuts offer you a way to access functions without using a mouse or trackpad. You can even access the menu bar and buttons in dialog boxes with the keyboard. You can jump right to folders in the Finder by typing the folder's path. You can also create your own keyboard shortcuts.

Comments: 11 Responses to “Tips For Controlling Your Mac With Your Keyboard”

    Kika Wai'Alae
    5 years ago

    When using command tab although it shows me programs that are open and I select one, it does not bring me there. In the menu window it shows the app but I’m still in the current program. Is there a setting that I need to set up?

      5 years ago

      No, there is nothing to configure. And if it shows the app name in the Menu Bar then you ARE in that app. But it sounds like something may be wrong with the other app that is letting it get in the way? I’d restart, then try this with some Apple apps like Safari, Mail and Pages. If it still doesn’t work, I’d consider taking it to the Genius Bar.

        Lucas Hutton
        5 years ago

        I learned about ALT + Tab in my PC days, and I was pleased to find that Macs have CMD+Tab. Yet, like Kika, I was frustrated with the Mac shortcut. An Internet search brought it all together. The problem was the app I wanted was minimized—still open, but never active unless I clicked its icon. The workaround: With CMD+Tab open and the desired app selected, hold down ALT, then release CMD. Is there not a way to make a Mac keyboard work the same way a PC’s works? Why all the fingertip gymnastics?

          5 years ago

          This is a very common thing for Windows switchers to do — minimizing the windows of an app instead of simply hiding the app. Instead of clicking on the minimize button, try just using Command+H to hide the app. Then you can use Command+Tab to get back to it.

            Lucas Hutton
            5 years ago

            Thanks, Gary! I tried Command+H, and I like it. Now I just gotta ask: Why might I want to minimize an app instead of hiding it? I understand that Command+H will let me restore the app with Command+Tab, but beyond that, what’s the difference? Why even bother with the minimize button? For that matter, why does Apple bother to give us the minimize button at all? Or … why doesn’t the minimize button simply behave like Command+H?

              5 years ago

              The difference is you don’t minimize an app, you minimize an app window. For instance, say you are working on three documents in Pages or Word. You can minimize two of them to focus on the third. Another example would be having several windows open in Safari and minimizing some of them to get them out of the way without closing them completely.

      Karen Brown
      5 years ago

      If you happen to use several desktops (I have 6), Command-Tab will not always switch you to an app on a different desktop. For example, I use Dreamweaver only on my Desktop 6—I have to switch to Desktop 6 in order to use Command-Tab to switch to Dreamweaver. If you have only 1 Desktop, I see no reason that Command-Tab would not work, however.

    mctavish
    5 years ago

    I’ve been using Macs for 6 years and never knew that minimize and hide were different. Thanks,

    Karen Brown
    5 years ago

    Reminder that the Esc key cancels actions and is easier than Command-.!

    323buz
    5 years ago

    Hi Gary, Thanks for the educational video. I use “Save as PDF” all the time. I figure there must be a way to do this with one keyboard shortcut, but I have never been able to figure out how. Could you help me with this? I am quite tired of always having to select CMD P, then scroll down thru the appropriate secondary menu etc.

      5 years ago

      Since the PDF function is an option inside of the Print dialog, there is no way to have a single keyboard shortcut to perform all of the actions needed to get there. Some apps have a menu command to created PDFs. In Pages you can use File, Export ,PDF. So you can set a shortcut for that.

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