27 MacBook shortcuts everyone should know

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ByTebany Yune

You might think you're content and satisfied with using your Macbook keyboard and mouse in the same old boring way everyone else does, but have you thought about upping your game with shortcuts? By using a combination of keys, you can work faster and reduce the amount of time you spend clicking through menus or re-typing paragraphs. It's a really satisfying way to work once you get the hang of things.

If you're interested in trying out shortcuts on your Macbook, give these a shot.

The Macbook Command key

First, allow me to introduce you to the command key ( or CMD). It doesn't do much on its own, but it's a requirement to give the Macbook any commands via shortcuts, hence the name. The CMD key should be located on the lower-left side of the keyboard, near the spacebar, where you can easily reach for it with a pinky or ring finger.

For PC users who've switched over, the CMD key is actually closer in function to the CTRL key than the Window's Home key (as one might first assume). The CTRL key, on the other hand, isn't used as much. It's a small change that'll probably trip you up a few times if you're already used to PC shortcuts.

Search for things in a snap

Instead of reaching for the mouse to click on the Spotlight Search icon in the upper-right hand corner, just hit ⌘ + Space bar instead. This will instantly bring up the search so you can find the apps, documents, and other files you're hunting for.

If you need to find something in a document, ⌘ + F will let you search for any word you're looking for instead of burning seconds trying to skim for it.

Take screenshots for your images

Taking a screenshot is basically like taking a picture of the screen you're looking at. It's really useful if you're looking to make graphics or need to send someone a pic of exactly what you're looking at. Macbooks have a few commands that help you take quick screenshots.

Shift + ⌘ + 3 will take a screenshot of the entire screen.

Shift + ⌘ + 4 takes a screenshot of a selected part of the screen. Click and drag with your mouse to outline the area you want to snap.

Shift + ⌘ + 4 and then Space turns your cursor into a camera that can take a pic of the specific window you choose. Click on the window to take a screenshot.

Cut down on reading or typing documents

Typing can sometimes feel like busywork, but it doesn't have to be repetitive or tedious. Keyboard shortcuts can greatly cut down on the time it takes to retype, select, and move sections, or erase mistakes.

⌘ + A will highlight and select all the text in the document. Other programs might use the same shortcut to select all the items on your screen.

⌘ + C is the command to copy text to your computer's clipboard. This makes it easier to move text around or copy it from one document to another without retyping an entire passage.

To paste what you've copied, hit ⌘ + V wherever you want the text to go. These commands aren't limited to documents; you can also copy/paste different file types, like music, and images.

⌘ + Z will undo your last action. Arguably one of the most important shortcuts to know and a lifesaver for those panicky moments when you accidentally delete an entire page of work.

⌘ + S most word processors have an auto-save function nowadays, but manually saving your document is still a pretty good habit to have when auto-save isn't working frequently enough.

Tap ⌘ + P to bring up the print menu when you're ready to print out your document.

When you're finished with one project and ready to work on another, hit ⌘ + O to browse and open up the next document.

Shortcuts to hide stuff from the boss

Whether you're working remotely or not, it's still a good idea to know how to quickly hide your windows and apps within the click of a couple buttons. It's definitely faster than scrambling for the mouse before someone can see your screen and, at times, preferable to minimizing windows since it won't clutter up the dock with icons.

These options are useful for when you need to step away from the computer for a moment, but don't want to close your programs. If you'll be gone for a longer amount of time, well, it's probably better to save and close the programs instead of minimizing.

⌘ + H will instantly hide your current window from sight. If there's multiple windows behind it, those will stay up.

Option + ⌘ + H switches it up by instantly hiding all the other windows, if there are others, while keeping the current one visible.

To bring up your apps again, hit ⌘ + Tab to flip through your recently opened programs and pick the one you want to unhide.

If you're not comfortable with hiding apps, you can do the old-fashioned minimizing windows by tapping ⌘ + M.

Option + ⌘ + M will minimize all your windows. You can access them again in the Macbook dock.

For the nuclear option, use ⌘ + W to close your current window.

Option + ⌘ + W will close all the windows for when you need to use the ultra-nuclear choice on all your apps.

Troubleshooting tips

Things often go wrong with computers, so there's always a need to look up a help guide or force quit an app that's frozen.

⌘ + ? brings up the help menu that can guide you through your problems.

⌘ + Option + Esc will force quit a program that's acting up or freezing.

Shift + ⌘ + Q logs you out of your macOS user account.

If your entire computer is just not working, ⌘ + Control + Eject will automatically quit all your apps and restart your computer. Any unsaved documents will ask if you'd like to save them before restarting.

CTRL + ⌘ + Power button will force the Mac to restart without a save prompt, but it won't work if you have a Touch ID sensor.

Logging out securely

Done fiddling with the computer? There are shortcuts to put it to sleep so you can come back to it later. Apple advises holding these buttons down for a little longer than usual to basically let the computer know you really mean to put it to sleep and that it's not an accidental click.

Option + ⌘ + Power button or Option + ⌘ + Eject will automatically put your Mac to sleep. Note that if your Mac has a Touch ID sensor, the power button combination won't work.

CTRL + Shift + Power button or CTRL + Shift + Eject just puts your display to sleep without actually putting the computer to sleep. Again, the Touch ID sensor won't work with the power button combo.

Not looking to log out? Keep your computer secure by using CTRL + ⌘ + Q to immediately lock your screen if you're stepping away from important work.