Home MacOS Summary of basic shortcuts for macOS

Summary of basic shortcuts for macOS


These shortcuts will help you manipulate many things: app, window, handle when the app is standing, switch between tabs together, copy, cut, paste, undo, redo …

App and window:

  • Command + W: close the window of the running app (but not the app completely)
  • Command + Q: Exits the running application completely, any unsaved changes will be lost
  • Command + H: hide the window from the screen. Click on the icon on the dock to show the app again
  • Command + M: minimize the window, you can run it again on the dock

Additional notes for new people: on Windows, when you press the red x to close, the app will stop running completely. Meanwhile, on the macOS side, this only means that you are closing that window and the app will continue to operate in the background or idle mode so that it can turn on quickly whenever you need it. The operation of pressing red x on macOS is equivalent to Command + W. When you have finished using an app, press Command + Q to free up resources for the machine. 

App stuck, frozen:

  • If the app does not respond even if you have pressed Command + Q, the app has been frozen
  • Press Command + Opion + Esc to display the Force Quite window, close some app that is frozen
  • This is the same as Ctrl + Alt + Delete on Windows

Switch between running applications

  • Command + Tab, a switcher bar will display on the screen, continue to press Command + Tab to select the desired app
  • While holding the Command key, the switcher bar is still visible, leaving it hidden
  • To move backwards, press Command + Shift + Tab

Copy, cut, paste, select all

  • All the Control keys on Win will be replaced by Command on Mac:
  • Command + C to copy
  • Command + X to cut (not apply to file, please see below)
  • Command + V to paste
  • Command + A to select all

Cut file

  • The macOS file cut is a bit special
  • Press Command + C to copy the previous file
  • Go to the place where you want to paste down, press Command + Option + V to paste
  • It is not recommended to use it because of errors during the cut process, the risk of file corruption is high

Undo, redo:

  • Command + Z to undo
  • Command + Y or Command + Shift + Z to redo, this one depends on the app

Rename the file:

  • Select file> press Enter> enter name> press Enter again to finish

Delete file:

  • Command + Delete: delete the file into the bin


  • For apps that support tabbed sharing, such as Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Finder …
  • Command + T to open a new tab
  • Control + Tab: switch between tabs together
  • Option + Click on the x on the tab: close all other tabs, keep the tab you clicked on
  • Command + Z to undo when you accidentally miss a certain tab

Jump to the top or bottom of the document

  • Equivalent Home key, Windows end
  • Command + down arrow: jump to the end of the open document
  • Command + up arrow: jump to the top of the document

Open Options / Settings / Preferences of any application:

  • Command + comma
  • You can usually access Preferences by clicking on the app name on the bar menu> Preferences

Search everything

  • Command + Space: open the search dialog.

Switch between desktops together

  • macOS for creating multiple virtual desktops
  • Control + number <1> <2> <3> to switch between these desktops
  • The number corresponds to the virtual desktop position

Screenshot also known as screen capture:

  • Command + Shift + 3: Full screen capture
  • Command + Control + Shift + 3: copy the screenshot to the clipboard, ready to paste into other apps
  • Command + Shift + 4: take a picture of only the selected area
  • Command + Shift + 4, then press Space: take a picture just the selected window.

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