Macs All-in-One For Dummies, 6th Edition
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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 Settings, Keyboard, Keyboard Shortcuts to find all the default key command shortcuts (on the Shortcuts tab), turn on those you want to use, and then edit the key combinations to something easier for you.

Here are the special feature keys you can press:

Keystroke What it Does
F1 Decreases the display brightness
F2 Increases the display brightness
F3 Displays Mission Control
F4 Regular keyboard: Displays Launchpad

Magic Keyboard: Opens Spotlight

F5 Regular keyboard: Not assigned

Backlit keyboard: Decreases backlight brightness

Magic Keyboard: Enables dictation (press and hold down to activate Siri)

F6 Regular keyboard: Not assigned

Backlit keyboard: Increases backlight brightness

Magic Keyboard: Toggles Do Not Disturb

F7 Rewinds the currently playing video or audio
F8 Pauses/plays the currently playing video or audio
F9 Fast-forwards the currently playing video or audio
F10 Mutes whatever sound is currently playing
F11 Decreases the sound volume
F12 Increases the sound volume

Common Mac application shortcut keystrokes

No matter what app you’re running on your Mac, you can usually work faster and more efficiently 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 apps.

Keystroke What it Does
Command+N Creates a new file.
Command+O Opens an existing file.
Command+S Saves an active file.
Command+F Finds text in an active file.
Command+A Selects all items in the current area (window, text box, and so on).
Command+C Copies the selected item.
Command+X Cuts the selected item.
Command+V Pastes the most recently cut or copied item.
Command+P Displays the Print dialog.
Command+Z Undoes the most recent action.
Command+W Closes the active window.
Esc Cancels dialogs and closes pull-down menus.
Command+Q Quits 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. For uppercase letters, you add the Shift key. For example, hold down both Shift and A and then press 1 to type Àa. This table shows the variations:

Letter Variations
A à á â ä æ ã å ā
C ç ć č
E è é ê ë ē ė ę
I î ï í î 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

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 Settings; then click the Keyboard icon. Click the Edit button to the right of the Input Sources row and then click + (add) at the bottom left of the dialog that appears. Select the language you want, and then click the Add button. Click the Show Input Menu in Menu Bar switch on, and then click Done.

When you’re working in a document and want to switch to a different language, click the Input menu button in the menu bar and select the language you want to use.

You can quickly access some common symbols with the following key combinations.

Combination Result
Option+3 £
Option+4 ¢
Option+R ®
Option+G ©
Option+Shift+– (hyphen)

To see all the key combinations, go to the Apple menu and choose System Settings and then Keyboard. Click the Edit button to the right of Input Sources, click the Show Input Menu in Menu Bar switch on, click Done, and then close System Settings. A button for the Input menu appears on the menu bar at the top of your screen. Click the Input menu button and choose Show Keyboard Viewer. A graphic representation of the keyboard appears on your screen.

Do one of the following three actions: Hold down Shift, hold down Option, or hold down Shift+Option. The keyboard changes to show the letter or symbol that will be typed when you now 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, 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 right-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 Quickly press and release the mouse button. 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. (Choose Settings, Trackpad, and then Tap to Click.) 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.
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.
Right-click Quickly press and release the right mouse button. With a Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad, tap the surface using two fingers. (Choose Settings, Trackpad, and then Click or Tap with Two Fingers in the Secondary Click list.) Point to an item and view a shortcut menu of commands for manipulating that item.
Control-click (an alternative to right-clicking when your mouse has just one button) Hold down the Control key, press the mouse 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 author:

Paul McFedries has worked with, programmed, and, yes, talked to computers large and small since 1975. Although he's now primarily a writer, he has worked as a programmer, consultant, database developer, and website developer. McFedries has written more than 95 books that have sold more than 4 million copies worldwide.

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