40 of the Most Useful Shortcuts on Mac

In today’s fast-paced world, time is of the essence. Whether you’re a student, a professional, or just someone who enjoys using their Mac for everyday tasks, knowing the right keyboard shortcuts can save you precious seconds and make your overall experience much smoother.

Macs are known for their user-friendly interface and many built-in features designed to enhance productivity. 

One such feature is the vast array of keyboard shortcuts available to users. These shortcuts help you accomplish tasks in a fraction of the time it would take using a mouse or trackpad. 

In this article, we’ll be delving into 40 of the most useful Mac shortcuts you can use today to enhance your efficiency and productivity. So, let’s get started!

Basic Editing Shortcuts

Cut, Copy, and Paste

The fundamental shortcuts for any computer user are the cut, copy, and paste functions. These shortcuts will enable you to easily move text or other content from one location to another within documents or between applications.

  • Command + X: This shortcut allows you to cut the selected item. Once cut, you can paste the item elsewhere using the paste shortcut.
  • Command + C: With this shortcut, you can copy the selected item without removing it from its original location.
  • Command + V: This shortcut allows you to paste the previously cut or copied item at the desired location.

Undo and Redo Actions

Mistakes happen, and sometimes you might want to reverse an action you’ve taken. 

The undo and redo shortcuts are indispensable for quickly correcting mistakes or reversing actions.

  • Command + Z: This shortcut allows you to undo the last action you performed.
  • Command + Shift + Z: If you change your mind and want to redo the last undone action, use this shortcut.

Selecting Items

When working with text, files, or folders, you’ll often need to select items before taking further action. The select all shortcut is a quick way to select everything within the active window or document.

  • Command + A: Use this shortcut to select all items in the active window or document.

Searching and Navigating

Finding Items

When working with large documents or numerous files, the find function is invaluable for quickly locating specific text, items, or files.

  • Command + F: Use this shortcut to open the find dialog in a document or window. Type your search term and press enter to find the first occurrence of the searched item.
  • Command + G: After performing a search, use this shortcut to find the next occurrence of the searched item.
  • Command + Shift + G: If you need to go back to the previous occurrence of the searched item, use this shortcut.

Switching Between Apps and Tabs

Switching between open applications and browser tabs is a frequent task for most computer users. These shortcuts help you move between apps and tabs with ease.

  • Command + Tab: Use this shortcut to switch between open applications on your Mac.
  • Command + T: This shortcut allows you to open a new tab in your browser or Finder.
  • Command + Shift + T: Accidentally closed a tab? Use this shortcut to reopen the last closed tab.

Managing Windows and Applications

Opening, Closing, and Quitting Applications

When working with various applications, you’ll need to open, close, and quit them regularly. These shortcuts help you manage applications efficiently.

  • Command + N: Use this shortcut to open a new document or window within the active application.
  • Command + O: This shortcut allows you to open the selected item or document.
  • Command + W: Close the active window using this shortcut.
  • Command + Q: When you’re done with an application, use this shortcut to quit the active app.

Minimizing and Hiding Windows

There are times when you need to minimize or hide windows to declutter your screen. These shortcuts help you manage window visibility effectively.

  • Command + M: Minimize the active window using this shortcut.
  • Command + Option + M: If you want to minimize all windows of the active app, use this shortcut.
  • Command + H: Use this shortcut to hide the active app, making it temporarily invisible.
  • Command + Option + H: To hide all other apps except the active one, use this shortcut.

File and Folder Management

Moving and Deleting Files

Managing files is a daily task for most computer users. These shortcuts help you move and delete files quickly.

  • Command + Delete: This shortcut allows you to move the selected item to the Trash.
  • Command + Shift + Delete: Use this shortcut to empty the Trash and permanently delete its contents.

Navigating Folders and Browsing History

When browsing through folders or navigating web pages, these shortcuts help you move back and forth with ease.

  • Command + Up Arrow: Use this shortcut to open the folder that contains the current folder.
  • Command + Down Arrow: This shortcut allows you to open the selected folder.
  • Command + Left Arrow: Go to the previous folder using this shortcut.
  • Command + Right Arrow: Use this shortcut to go to the next folder.
  • Command + [: Use this shortcut to go back in your browser history.
  • Command + ]: This to go forward in your browser history.

Miscellaneous Shortcuts

Screenshots and Screen Recording

Capturing your screen is often necessary for various purposes. These shortcuts help you take screenshots and screen recordings with ease.

  • Command + Shift + 3: This shortcut allows you to capture the entire screen.
  • Command + Shift + 4: Use this shortcut to capture a selected portion of the screen.
  • Command + Shift + 5: This shortcut opens the screenshot toolbar, giving you more options for capturing and recording your screen.

Spotlight Search and iCloud Drive

Quickly accessing files or applications on your Mac is essential for efficient workflow. These shortcuts help you find and access content swiftly.

  • Command + Space: Use this shortcut to open the Spotlight search, where you can search for files, folders, or applications.
  • Command + Shift + I: This shortcut opens iCloud Drive, allowing you to access your cloud-stored files.

Force Quit, Dock, and Desktop

Sometimes, applications become unresponsive or you need to manage your desktop space. These shortcuts help you handle such situations.

  • Command + Option + Esc: Use this shortcut to force quit an unresponsive app.
  • Command + Shift + D: This shortcut shows or hides the Dock.
  • Command + F3: This shortcut allows you to show or hide the Desktop, providing you with quick access to files and folders stored on your desktop.


Keyboard shortcuts are essential tools for increasing productivity and efficiency on your Mac. 

By mastering these 40 useful shortcuts, you’ll be able to navigate your system, manage files and folders, and perform various tasks more quickly and effortlessly. 

It’s important to practice using these shortcuts regularly to build muscle memory, making their use second nature. 

So go ahead and start implementing these shortcuts into your daily Mac usage – you’ll be amazed at the time you’ll save and the boost to your productivity!

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Nathan Plume

Nathan is the founder of Tech Guy Guide and a seasoned IT Support Analyst with a passion for technology. With a background in IT and multimedia, he has made it his mission to simplify tech troubleshooting for users of all experience levels.