Unlock the Power of Your Mac: Essential Keyboard Shortcuts for Productivity

Apple computers are widely renowned as the ultimate productivity machine. Their sleek look and user-friendly systems provide the perfect ground for those looking to get more done.

But no Mac is complete without keyboard shortcuts—they’re a significant part of the efficiency and convenience that makes Apple such a popular choice in computing. If you’ve never used keyboard shortcuts, it can seem daunting, but rest assured—it’s easier than it looks.

This article provides an efficient guide for using Mac keyboard shortcuts, from the most basic to the most advanced. With this knowledge, you’ll be ready to use your Mac like a true productivity pro.

Why Use Keyboard Shortcuts?

You might be wondering why you’d ever want to use keyboard shortcuts. You’ve been fine doing it all with a trackpad or mouse, so why change?

Well, keyboard shortcuts open up a new world of enjoyable productivity, browsing, and general computer usage. Keyboard shortcuts revolutionize your experience by streamlining your productivity, allowing you to save seconds on simple commands that otherwise would break you out of your workflow.

The Basics

Mac’s keyboard shortcuts are made starting with a few foundational keys. The first and most common is the command key. The command key is at the bottom of your keyboard, to the left of the spacebar. It is the basis for everyday tasks, such as keyboard shortcuts to zoom in and out, copy and paste, and switch between tabs.

To use shortcuts with the command key, press the command key first, then follow up with the next key in the shortcut.

There are a few more basic keys you’ll use for shortcuts on the Mac:

  • Option
  • Shift
  • Caps Lock
  • Control
  • Fn

If you’re using a Mac system with a keyboard made for Windows, use Alt instead of Option and Control (Ctrl) or the Windows logo key instead of Command.

Mac’s Most Useful Shortcuts

Now that you understand how keyboard shortcuts are formed let’s dive into the commands that will take your productivity to the next level.

1. Text Editing

Text editing shortcuts allow you to manipulate text on any page or application quickly.

  • Command + C: copy highlighted text to the clipboard
  • Command + V: paste the most recently copied item at your cursor’s position
  • Command + S: save the current document
  • Command + Z: undo the last action
  • Shift + Command + Z: redo the last action

2. System Command

System command shortcuts are handy if your computer freezes and your mouse stops working.

  • Option + Command + Esc: force quit an application
  • Control + Command + Power button: force Mac to restart without prompting to save any open documents
  • Option + Shift + Command + Q: log out of your user account without prompting to confirm the action

3. Clean Up a Workspace

If you’re working with many applications simultaneously, these shortcuts are necessary.

  • Command + Option + D: show or hide the dock for a more focused workscape
  • Command + H: hide the window most recently worked in
  • Command + W: close the window most recently worked in
  • Option + Command + W: close all windows of the app most recently worked in

4. Finder Shortcuts

If you’re moving documents around, you must know these shortcuts.

  • Shift + Command + I: open iCloud Drive
  • Shift + Command + H: open the home folder
  • Shift + Command + R: open AirDrop
  • Option + Command + N: create a new Smart Folder

There are many more shortcuts for Mac that may boost your productivity. Try them all and see which you like the most!

Creating Your Own Shortcuts

You can also create your own shortcuts on Mac. Here’s how:

  1. Go to System Settings
  2. Scroll down and select Keyboard, then Keyboard Shortcuts
  3. Select App Shortcuts
  4. Select All Applications or whichever application you want to make a shortcut for
  5. Follow the menus to create your shortcut
  6. Select Done
  7. Test your shortcut

Creating your own shortcuts is easy and can be a game-changer for your productivity. Mac comes with many default shortcuts, but if you’re looking for a specific way to navigate your computer, making your own shortcut might be the perfect solution.

Effective Use

To effectively use Mac shortcuts and make the most of their productivity, you’ll have to get past the hurdle of memorizing them. You’ll pick it up quickly if it’s an action you do often, like copy and paste. For other actions, you can write the shortcut on a sticky note and keep it nearby while you work.


Mastering Mac shortcuts is a valuable skill for anyone who uses an Apple computer. Keyboard shortcuts are often aimed at increasing the fluidity of workflow and productivity, but they can also be used for everyday tasks like browsing the web.

Stick with using these keyboard shortcuts for a while and see if they help your Mac feel even more efficient and user-friendly than it already is. In the meantime, enjoy all the benefits that keyboard shortcuts offer!