Macs All-in-One For Dummies
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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 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.

From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences and then click the Keyboard icon to find all the default key command shortcuts (under the Shortcuts tab), turn on those you want to use, and then edit the key combinations to something easier for you.

Here are five 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.
Command+Tab Displays icons of all running applications.
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.

Common Mac application shortcut keystrokes

No matter what application you’re running on your Mac, you can usually speed up using an application by performing a Mac keyboard shortcut rather than use 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 international letters and symbols

When writing, you may need to use a symbol or a letter with a diacritical mark, such as an accent (à) or a tilde (ñ). 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 A and then press 1 to type à. It works for uppercase letters as well.

These variations appear when you use the U.S. English keyboard. If you add a keyboard for another language, you may see more or different variations. To add a keyboard, go to the Apple menu and choose System Preferences; then click the Keyboard icon. Click the Input Source tab and then click the add button (+) at the bottom left. Select the language you want, and then click the Add button. Select the Show Input Menu in Menu Bar check box. When you’re working in a document and want to switch to a different language, click the Input menu icon in the status bar and select the language you want to use.

Letter Variations
a à á â ä æ ã å �?
c ç ć �?
e è é ê ë ė ē ę î ï í î ì
i î ï í î 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-4 ¢
Option-r ®
Option-g ©

To see all the key combinations, go to the Apple menu and choose System Preferences and then Keyboard. Click the Input Sources tab, and then select the Show Input Menu in Menu Bar check box. Close System Preferences. An icon for the Input Menu appears on the status bar at the top of your screen. Click the Input Menu icon and choose Show Keyboard Viewer. A graphic representation of the keyboard appears on your screen. Do one of the following three actions: Hold Shift, hold Option, or hold Shift+Option. The keyboard changes to show the letter or symbol that will be typed when you now hold 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, and 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. 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
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
Click and 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.
To move an item from one location to another or draw a line in
a graphics application. To select multiple items, click and drag
around them; selected items are highlighted.
Control-click (right-click, if your mouse has two or more
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.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Joe Hutsko is a technology enthusiast, a journalist, an author, and a consultant. He contributes to the New York Times blog Green Inc., and has covered the latest tech trends for Fortune,, Wired, the Washington Post, Newsweek, Time, Macworld, PC World, TV Guide, and others. He runs the green gadget blog and his personal Web site,

Ray Anthony has helped Fortune 500 clients close multi-million dollar deals by designing and developing extraordinarily innovative, solution-selling presentations with superior value propositions for his clients. Barbara Boyd has worked as a marketing and technology consultant for more than 10 years and is the author of several books.

Jesse Feiler is a developer, consultant, and author specializing in Apple technologies. He is the creator of Minutes Machine for iPad, the meeting management app, and Saranac River Trail and is heard regularly on WAMC Public Radio for the Northeast’s The Roundtable.

David Karlins is a web design professional and author who's written over 50 books and created video training on top web design tools. Doug Sahlin is the coauthor of Social Media Marketing All-in-One For Dummies and author of Digital Landscape & Nature Photography For Dummies.

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