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Cheat Sheet

Macs All-in-One For Dummies

From Macs All-in-One For Dummies, 3rd Edition by Joe Hutsko, Barbara Boyd

Macs come in all shapes and sizes, but you turn all of them on and off, and do things with the keyboard and mouse or trackpad the same way. This Cheat Sheet of timesaving keyboard shortcuts, mouse and trackpad actions, Mac-related websites, and definitions can help you get the most from your Mac right away.

Using Mac Special Feature Keys

Newer Macs feature keyboards with a row of dedicated special feature keys, marked with descriptive icons, that also double as function (Fn) keys. For instance, the fifth key from the left is the one you press to open the Launchpad, which displays all the applications on your Mac. Some special feature keys evoke a second special feature when you hold down the Fn key and then press the special feature key.

Here are six Mac special feature keys you can press to help you work with and switch between multiple Mac application windows you’re running at the same time.

Keystroke Command
Mission Control (F3) Displays Mission Control, which lets you switch between multiple desktops
Fn+Mute (F10) Displays all windows of the active application (called Exposé)
Fn+Volume Down (F11) Hides all windows to show the Desktop
Launchpad (F4) Displays Launchpad and all the applications on your Mac
Fn+Volume Up (F12) Displays Dashboard
Command+Tab Displays icons of all running applications

Common Mac Application Shortcut Keystrokes

No matter what application you’re running on your Mac, you can usually speed up using it by pressing a Mac keyboard shortcut rather than using the mouse or trackpad to point to a menu and select a command. The following table lists the most common Mac keyboard shortcuts that can speed up working with 99.99999 percent of all Mac applications.

Keystroke Command
Command+N Create a new file
Command+O Open an existing file
Command+S Save an active file
Command+F Find text in an active file
Command+A Select all items in a window
Command+C Copy the selected item
Command+X Cut the selected item
Command+V Paste the most recently cut or copied item
Command+P Print
Command+Z Undo the last command
Command+W Close the active window
Esc Cancel dialogs and closes pull-down menus
Command+Q Quit an application

Mac Shortcuts for Foreign Letters and Symbols

When writing, you may want to use a symbol or an accented letter. Holding down any of the letters in the following table opens a pop-up window with the variations of that letter and a number under each one. Type the number, and the variation appears in your document. For example, hold down the “a” key, and then press 1 to type “à”. It works for uppercase letters as well.

Letter Variations
a à á â ä æ ã å â
c ç ć ĉ
e è é ê ë ē ė ę
i î ï í ī į ì
l ł
n ñ ń
o ô ö ò ó œ ø ō õ
s ß ś š
u û ü ù ú ū
y ÿ
z ž ź ż

Some common symbols are quickly accessed with the following key combinations:

Combination Result
Option-2
Option-4 ¢
Option-8
Option-r ®
Option-g ©
Option-Shift-- (hyphen) — (em dash)

To see all the key combinations, choose Apple menu→System Preferences, and then choose Language & Text. Click Input Sources, and then click the check box next to Keyboard & Character Viewer. Close System Preferences. An icon for the Keyboard and Character Viewer appears in the status bar at the top of your screen. Click the Keyboard & Character Viewer icon and choose Show Keyboard Viewer. A graphic representation of the keyboard appears on your screen. Hold down the Shift, Option, or Shift-Option keys. The keyboard changes to show the letter or symbol that will be typed when you hold down Shift, Option, or Shift-Option and type a letter or number.

There are five gold option keys. If you hold down the Option key, press one of the gold keys, release the Option key, then press another letter, the accent associated with the gold key appears on the letter you typed. For example, press Option-e, and then type “a” and the result is “á”.

Mac Mouse and Trackpad Actions

Using your Mac’s mouse or trackpad can be a real drag — in a good way! That’s because drag (as well as click and Control-click) describes how you use your Mac’s mouse and trackpad to do things with windows, icons, and other items on the screen. The following table lists Mac mouse and trackpad action terms and what they mean.

Action How to Do It Purpose
Click Press the mouse button down and release. Press the trackpad bar or the lower part of the trackpad if there is no trackpad bar. On a Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad, tap anywhere on the surface. Select an item or menu command.
Double-click Press the mouse or trackpad button down twice in rapid succession. Tap twice on the surface of a Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad. Select and open an item. Also used in word processors to select an entire word.
Triple-click Press the mouse or trackpad button down three times in rapid succession. Tap three times on the surface of a Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad. Used in many word processors to select an entire paragraph.
Drag Point to an item, hold down the mouse or trackpad button, and move the mouse or drag your finger across the trackpad, and then release the mouse or trackpad button. Point to an item, and then drag three fingers across the trackpad. To copy or move an item from one location to another. Also used to select multiple items or draw a line in a graphics application.
Control-click (right-click, if your mouse has two or more buttons) Hold down the Control key, press the mouse or trackpad button, and release. With a Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad, hold down the Control key and tap the surface. Point to an item and view a shortcut menu of commands for manipulating that item.
Scroll Roll the wheel or ball near the front and middle of the mouse. On a Magic Mouse, move one finger up and down or left and right on the surface. On a trackpad, move two fingers up and down or left and right on the surface. To scroll a window up/down or right/left.

Useful Macintosh Websites

Your first stop for up-to-the-minute information about your Mac should be the Apple website. If you’re looking for new applications, go to the App Store by clicking the App Store icon on the Dock or Launchpad. After exhausting those sources, you’ll find more information, applications, and games, as well as the latest Mac news, rumors, and buying advice, by visiting the following websites with your Mac’s Safari web browser:

Identifying Mac Applications on the Launchpad

Your Mac’s Launchpad contains a treasure trove of useful Mac applications you can click to launch and use. The following list runs down the applications you’ll find on the Launchpad (or in your Mac’s Applications folder) and a provides brief explanation of what each one does:

  • Address Book: Stores names and addresses

  • App Store: One-stop-shopping for Mac applications

  • Automator: Automates your Mac

  • Calculator: Four-function calculator

  • Chess: Chess game

  • Dashboard: Displays Dashboard widgets (equivalent to pressing Fn+F12)

  • Dictionary: Dictionary and thesaurus

  • DVD Player: Plays DVDs

  • FaceTime: Videochat with other Mac or iOS users

  • Font Book: Displays and organizes fonts on your Mac

  • GarageBand: Creates music through a connected instrument or through software

  • iCal: Stores appointments on a calendar

  • iChat: Text, audio, and video instant messaging via the Internet

  • iDVD: Creates and burns custom DVDs

  • Image Capture: Retrieves images from external devices, such as digital cameras and scanners

  • iMovie: Creates, edits, and shares movies

  • iPhoto: Stores and displays photos and images

  • iTunes: Plays music and video

  • *iWeb: Templates and tools for designing a website

  • Mail: Sends and retrieves e-mail

  • Mission Control: Enables switching between multiple desktops

  • Photo Booth: Captures photos and video using the built-in iSight camera

  • Preview: Displays the contents of files, such as graphics and PDF files

  • QuickTime Player: Plays and edits QuickTime audio and video files

  • Safari: Web browser

  • Stickies: Displays windows mimicking sticky notes for jotting down information

  • System Preferences: Displays icons for configuring different parts of your Mac, such as volume or your Internet connection

  • TextEdit: Simple word processor

  • Time Machine: Displays deleted or earlier versions of files (works only if Time Machine is enabled)

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