Both Mac OS X and macOS Sierra are rich for the shortcuts. With the help of simple key combinations, a user can do almost everything without having to look for the option in the menu. Various hotkeys allow saving plenty of time when working with Apple products.

It will not be a problem to get acquainted with Mac’s shortcuts even for a lifelong PC user. The keyboards are laid out a bit differently, but there is a way to overcome this obstacle. Use a trick if you decide to switch from Windows to Mac: apply the Option key instead of the Alt key, and use the Command key instead of the Windows logo.

Let's dig a little bit deeper!

Shortcuts for Mac: The Core Symbols

The bedrock of almost any keyboard shortcut are one or several so-called modifier keys meant to alternate or change the function of other keys. On the one hand, such modifiers as Shift (⇧), Control (Ctrl, ^) or Tab are universal and used on PC keyboards as well. On the other, the Command (⌘) key is unique for Cupertino corporation and bears huge functional load in any Apple's OS. The Alt (⌥) key adds confusion as on Mac's keyboards it's denoted as 'alt,' but in various instructions and even the official Apple support community it is referred as 'Option.' That said, people who are new to the world of Apple often have trouble deciphering the symbols used for shortcuts on a Mac keyboard. It's not that rare when the trivial task of showing desktop with a shortcut stresses a newbie MacBook user out.

One of the ways to deal with the issue is to call out the built-in system hint. Go to System Preferences > keyboard > Modifier Keys… and check out which hotkey each symbol represents. For example, this option will remind the user of the meaning of Cmd+Delete (removing a group of files) or Command+Shift+Delete (emptying Trash).

In other situations, a user may simply create customized keyboard shortcuts. Though you're not authorized to design hotkeys for general purpose tasks (e.g., opening an app), you can come up with various combinations to make your Mac experience painless. The next section explains the way to do it.

How to Make Shortcuts on Mac by Yourself?

Besides customizing hotkeys just for convenience, you might need this feature in case Apple's shortcut conflicts with a particular tool shortcut. Then, you will be able to take a screenshot or launch specific application thanks to the command you have created by yourself.

Here is the step-by-step instruction to do the job:

  1. Open Apple menu. Go to System Preferences, choose Keyboard; there you need the Shortcuts option.
  2. Pick App Shortcuts. Next, click Add (the “plus” button). In Application menu, select a particular app. You can also choose all of them if, for example, the shortcut will be used in many applications.
  3. In the Menu Title section, enter the menu command to develop a shortcut for it. Make sure to include all punctuation marks, for instance, >, ->, ellipse (…).
  4. Next, click on the Keyboard Shortcut section. Press the hotkeys you would like to apply for the shortcut simultaneously. Select Add once you are done.

In case the combination you wish to set up is already used up, you'll need to come up with a new one or modify the existing shortcut in the corresponding app.

Now, let's move on to our infographic, which covers the most essential, useful, and simply cool shortcuts to go a bit geeky and enhance you Mac user experience!

list of mac shortcuts