Keyboard Shortcuts for Using Your Mac

Keyboard shortcuts exist for many functions on the Mac.  While we are all accustomed to using the menu bar pulldowns for many computer functions, you may find memorizing the keyboard shortcuts will save you a lot of mousing around.

Why do we call these keyboard shortcuts "chords"?  Well, using them is akin to playing a guitar or piano -- a chord is two or more notes played simultaneously: with a guitar, one would hold down two or more strings at specific fret positions to make a chord; with a piano, two or more keys are depressed to make that chord.  Most of these keyboard chords are managed by selecting two or more keys simultaneously, although many of them permit you to depress the activator button(s) prior to using an alphanumeric character or function key. (e.g., to print, you can depress the command key prior to pressing the "P" key -- or simultaneously -- provided the command key is depressed when the "P" key is selected, the Mac will bring up the Print command dialog box.)

Certain keyboard commands only apply to specific Mac models (e.g., a Mac without a CD drive will not respond to a CD command), and many are Operating System-dependent.  Older OS version may not offer support for key combinations (e.g., System 7.5 will not allow you to move an item to the trash with command-delete the way OS 8.5 will).

This table is a work-in-progress, and we invite suggestions or corrections.  It will also list Apple-specific single keys where applicable.  Hope this helps you become more efficient and your Mac more effective in your business environment.

After Hours Key Chord Identifier Table

Key Combination

Command Action Performed
Power Turn On PowerBook or Desktop
Control-Command-Power Force Restart PowerBook
Shift-Command-Power Force Restart PowerBook
Function-Shift-Control-Power Reset Power Manager & PRAM
Function-Control-Command-Power Reset Hours Use/Date Mfg (USE AT OWN RISK!)
Function-F5 Toggle Number Lock
Shift-Command-Zero Sleep PowerBook
Option-Command-Power Sleep PowerBook
Shift-Control-Command-Zero Spin Down Hard Drive
Shift-Option-Command-Power Forced Shutdown
Control-Option-Command-Power Normal Shutdown of PowerBook
Shift-Option-Command-Delete at startup Ignore System Folder on internal HD on restart
C at startup Start up from CD-ROM
Shift at startup Disable extensions/CDEVs at startup
Option-Command when Finder appears Rebuild Desktop on Restart or Finder quit
Option-Command-P-R at startup Clear Parameter RAM (PRAM) at startup
Command-. when Finder appears Stop Autoload of "Startup Items"
Spacebar at startup Extension Manager Opens at startup
Shift-Command-3 Screen Shot (full screen)
Shift-Command-4 Screen Shot (screen selection)
Shift-Command-4-Capslock Screen Shot (selected window)
Option-Command-Escape Force Quit Finder or application
Option-Command while dragging an icon Generate an alias icon without the word "alias"
Command-. (period) Stop Action/Cancel
Option when clicking Hide Front application w/click on other app or Finder
Command-Tab (default behavior - can be changed) Switch between applications in OS 8.5 and later
Control-click Brings up Contextual Menu
Option-click on Control Strip Module Allows you to change position of Control Strip Module
Option-click on Control Strip Allows you to change vertical position of Control Strip
Command-click on window title in Finder Brings up folder hierarchy menu
Option-Command-click on window title Brings up folder hierarchy menu & auto-closes current
window when selecting from menu
Option-click on Finder window close box Close all Finder windows
Option-empty trash Empty trash without warning and empty locked items
Command-Delete of selected item Move item to trash can (OS 8.5 and up)
Command-Option open Memory Control Panel Provides extra Memory Control Panel options
Option-"About" in Apple Menu from Finder Apple Menu Easter Egg
Command-1 Cycle through open windows in Navigator, iCab
Space bar / Shift-Space Bar (also arrow keys for up and down in many packages) Scroll down /up in Navigator & Eudora.  Internet Explorer (uses Option rather than Space to scroll up).  Outlook express uses Space / Control-Space to scroll in message browser)
Command-[   or   Command-] Forward page or Back page in Navigator
Command-Shift-UpArrow Selects Mount Volume (OS 9+)
Command-Shift-DownArrow Opens/Launches selected item (OS 9+)
Option-Command-Space-(left arrow) Finder: Close (collapse) all selected folders when viewing in list mode
Option-Command-Space-(right arrow) Finder: Open (expand) all selected folders when viewing in list mode

Many more keyboard shortcuts exist...

Perhaps the best resource for your keyboard commands is the Mac itself.  Those odd entries to the right of many menu items is your keyboard chord reminder.  Each application may have its own special shortcut, and while the basic command set is pretty universal (Command-Q will quit most all applications), some commands will do different things (Command-B will make text bold in some apps, but will apply a style sheet in others).  Be sure to read your users manual for individual software chord features.

Be careful using these commands until you know what they do.  Some commands can cause the Mac to delete information permanently, others may disrupt computer operation requiring a restart (and losing any documents in RAM that have not been saved).  It is conceivable that you may render your computer unusable if you apply the wrong command set at the wrong time, so explore these cautiously!

There are third party applications to augment your keyboard shortcuts. Several around include KeyQuencer & QuickKeys.