These macOS Keyboard Shortcuts Will Save You Time

While most menu items display their keyboard shortcuts next to the name, there are many macOS shortcuts that are hidden. Once you know them, though, they can save you time.

However, one caution: When you use a menu to put your Mac to sleep, restart or shut-down, it pops up a warning dialog asking if this is what you really want to do. When you use a keyboard shortcut, your Mac goes IMMEDIATELY to sleep. The first time I saw it, it was pretty surprising. It was instant.

These keyboard shortcuts work on all versions of macOS and all Mac computers.

NOTE: The Eject key is just to the right of the F12 key on small and full-size keyboards. On laptops, use the Power button.

Task Shortcut
Turn off Display Shift + Control + Eject/Power
Empty Trash Shift + Cmd + Delete
Lock screen instantly Control + Cmd + Q
Instant Sleep Cmd + Option + Eject/Power
Instant Restart Control + Cmd + Eject/Power
Instant Shut-down Control + Cmd + Option + Eject/Power
Display Sleep dialog Control + Eject/Power

: To turn ON the display, simply press any key.

Task Shortcut
Move selected item to trash Cmd + Delete
Open/Close Spotlight Cmd + Spacebar
Define selected word Control + Cmd + D
Show/Hide Dock Cmd + Option + D
Open Applications folder Shift + Cmd + A
Open Utilities folder Shift + Cmd + U
Open Home Directory Shift + Cmd + H
Open iCloud Drive Shift + Cmd + I
Open Recents folder Shift + Cmd + F
Open Network volume Cmd + K
Enable/Disable Stacks Control + Cmd + O
Display Emojis Control + Cmd + Spacebar
Open folder in separate window Cmd + Double-click
Preview multiple Finder files Cmd + Y


There are literally hundreds of keyboard shortcuts built-into macOS. Here’s a link to Apple’s complete list:

Feel free to share your own favorite shortcuts in the comments.

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5 Responses to These macOS Keyboard Shortcuts Will Save You Time

  1. Ed Cilley says:

    Thanks Larry. I love keyboard shortcuts. It should be noted that some shortcuts are application dependent. Such as Shift + Cmd + A, will Open Application folder in Finder, but that shortcut in a web browser will open a search or add-ons menu.

    I’ll definitely add the “turn off display” shortcut the next time I leave the computer running a long task and step away for a few hours.

  2. David Cole says:

    Command + Tab: switch between apps.

  3. Bill Rabkin says:

    My favorite Finder shortcut is Cmd + Option + (Big) Delete, which deletes the selected item(s) immediately, without use of Trash.

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