39 of the Most Useful Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

Your keyboard can do a lot more than you realize. Memorize these Mac keyboard shortcuts to help you navigate your computer even faster.

Everyone wants their computer to be fast. Their Internet connection, the speed they type, and how quickly they can open, save, and alter documents. Fortunately, there are numerous Mac keyboard shortcuts that are designed to do just that—make your browsing, typing, and viewing experiences a little more convenient. There are even keyboard shortcuts to make your web browsing more efficient on different sites and apps. Here, we’ve gathered the most useful macOS keyboard shortcuts—keep reading to learn how to master them all. Also, check out these phone keyboard shortcuts, Chrome shortcuts, and other things you didn’t know your Mac could do.

What are shortcuts on Mac?

Mac shortcuts are specific key combinations on your keyboard that allow you to do things on your computer that would typically require a mouse or trackpad and the screen’s pull-down menu. For example, you can use your keyboard to copy and paste a set of text instead of using your mouse to select, copy, and paste from the menu, but more on that later.

How do I see all the shortcuts on my Mac?

To find the Mac shortcuts that are already set up on your device, go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts. From there you can look through the different mac keyboard shortcuts that are set up for your keyboard and other places your Mac allows shortcuts, like the launchpad and dock, Mission Control, and Spotlight.

How do I create shortcuts on a Mac?

If you want to create a new keyboard shortcut, navigate down to App Shortcuts, click the plus, select the application you want (or select All Applications), and type the menu title of your shortcut along with the keys you want to use. Then click Add. Take note, in order for the shortcut to work you will need to type in the exact syntax of the menu title; that includes capitalization, spaces, and punctuation. To change an existing shortcut you can select the one you want to change, click on the key combination, and then type the new keys you want to use.

Mac command keys

Keyboard shortcuts using the Command key on Macs are pretty well-known. In case you forgot, or need a refresher, here are some helpful ones. Simply press the command key and the other specified key at the same time.

Command-C Copies selected (highlighted) text or other items
Command-X Cuts selected text or other items
Command-V Pastes the selected items
Command-Z Undoes your most recent action  (Shift-Command-Z redoes your most recent action)
Command-A Selects all items
Command-F Finds specific text or a symbol within a document or open window
Command-H Hides the front/active window
Command-M Minimizes the front/active window
Command-O Opens the selected item or opens the finder to select a file
Command-P Prints your document
Command-S Saves your work
Command-T Opens a new tab
Command-W Closes the active window
Command-Q Quits the active program/application

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Mac function keys

The Mac function keys run across the top of your keyboard. The F1-F12 keys can be used for built-in Mac features or as standard function keys. The function keys may look slightly different depending on what model of Mac you have, but each key shows a self-explanatory image that tells you what the built-in Mac feature is. If you’re not sure what all of the icons mean, here’s how to decode them.

F1 Lower brightness
F2 Increase brightness
F3 Open Mission Control
F4 Open Launchpad
F5 Lower keyboard brightness
F6 Increase keyboard brightness
F7 Skip back (audio)
F8 Pause/Play
F9 Skip forward (audio)
F10 Mute
F11 Increase volume
F12 Decrease volume

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You can also use the F1-F12 keys on your Mac as standard function keys. These will work differently depending on the app you’re using and the keyboard shortcuts that you have set up. To use the function keys as standard function keys hold down the Function (fn) key and then press a function key. For example, when you press the fn key and F11, it will perform the action assigned to that key instead of lowering the volume. If you also have a Windows computer at home too, you’ll want to know these Windows keyboard shortcuts or if you have Windows 10, you’ll want the Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts.

Function keys using Touch Bar

Before we dive into Mac Shortcuts, you may have noticed (if you have a newer MacBook) that you don’t have the function keys F1-F12 on your Mac. In order to find these keys, hold down the Fn (Function) key and you should see F1-F12 appear on the Touch Bar at the top of your keyboard. If you would like these keys to appear on your Touch Bar automatically when opening a specific app, go to the Apple Menu. Open System Preferences, then click Keyboard. Navigate to Shortcuts at the top of the window and click Function Keys from the list on your left. Click the “+” and add as many apps as you’d like. Now when you open these apps, the Function Keys should appear automatically in your Touch Bar.

Combination Mac keyboard shortcuts

Some keyboard shortcuts require more than just one or two keys. You might need to use two hands for these MacBook keyboard shortcuts or just have really long fingers. Here are the shortcuts we think you’ll use the most.

Option-Command-Esc Forces the open app to quit
Space bar or Fn-Down Arrow Scrolls down the page
Command-Option-M Minimizes all windows
Command-Space bar Brings up the spotlight search bar to find items on your Mac
Fn-Left and Right arrow keys Brings you to the beginning (left arrow) or end (right arrow) of a document or web page
Command-Control-Space bar Opens character viewer, allowing you to choose emojis and other symbols
Control-Command-F Moves current page or app to full-screen view
Shift-Command-N Creates a new folder in the finder
Control–Shift–Power button Puts the computer display to sleep
Control-Command-Q Locks the screen
Command-Shift-4 Allows you to take a screenshot
Command-Control-D Defines the selected (highlighted) word
Command-Shift-Delete Empties the trash

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Now that you know how to navigate your keyboard like a true tech pro with these Mac shortcuts, check out these Zoom shortcuts that’ll make your life easier as well.


  • Apple: Mac keyboard shortcuts
  • Apple: How to use the function keys on your Mac

Morgan Cutolo
Morgan Cutolo is a former senior production editor at Trusted Media Brands. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. In her free time, she likes exploring the seacoast of Maine, where she lives, and snuggling up on the couch with her corgi, Eggo, to watch HGTV or The Office.