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45 Insanely Useful Mac Keyboard Shortcuts to Save You Over An Hour a Week – The Ultimate Guide

January 23rd, 2014 By: Ash

It’s funny how breakthroughs in productivity come from the most unlikely turn of events.

Several years ago I broke a finger.

And I found myself struggling to use the mouse at work.

Navigating around the computer screen was painfully slow (pun intended).

I had to find a way of working smarter.

Well, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Before long I had mastered keyboard shortcuts on my PC (which is what I was using at the time). My digital life was never the same again.

Using keyboard shortcuts is one of the best time saving hacks I’ve come across. It’s probably right up there with my other favourite hacks which include using Dragon Dictate to save time in typing on the keyboard, Divvy for screen management which saves oodles of time in minimising and resizing screens, or my Top 15 iPhone Siri voice commands to save you an hour a week on your iPhone.

Here are some very useful keyboard shortcuts for your Mac. (Are you a PC user? Check out these 57 keyboard shortcuts to turn you into an Excel Ninja!) . At a guess I would estimate that I save over 15 minutes each day using keyboard  

Time is moneyshortcuts (rather than reaching for my mouse each time I want to navigate to a different portion of the screen). 

Over a period of a week this adds up to 75 minutes assuming a 5 day work week – which is well over an hour in saved time. 

And as they say … time is money. 🙂 

So here are 45 insanely useful time and money saving keyboard shortcuts for your Mac. (Note that these shortcuts are valid for Mac OSX Mavericks as at 24th Jan 2014)

  1. Flip between open applications – Command+ tab
  2. Flip Between Windows in Current Application – Command+`
  3. Minimize current window  – Command+ M
  4. Hide all other app windows – Command + Option + H
  5. Close current window – Command + W
  6. Close all other open windows (besides currently open application) – Command + Option + H (Use Command + tab to reactivate previously open applications)
  7. Bring up the preferences window in the application you’re currently in – Command + ,
  8. Hide and unhide the Dock – Command + Option + D
  9. Activate Spotlight on your mac – Command + Space (Check out the Alfred app – it’s spotlight on steroids. Highly recommended!)
  10. Activate Mission Control – Control + Up Arrow
  11. Select Safari’s address / URL field to quickly enter a URL – Command + L
  12. Mark messages as read or unread in Mail app – Command + Shift + U
  13. Check for information on a particular file within Finder – Command + I
  14. Check for information on multiple files within Finder – Command + Option + I  (just keep clicking on different file to show information for that file)
  15. To open a file in it’s native application without clicking (from within finder) – Command + Down Arrow
  16. To jump across whole word quickly – Option + Left Arrow (or Right Arrow)
  17. To select a whole word at a time – Shift + Option + Left Arrow (or Right Arrow)
  18. Open a second tab within a Safari session – Command + T
  19. Jump between open tabs in Safari – Command + Shift + ] (or [)
  20. Put your Mac to sleep – Command + Option + Eject (If your keyboard doesn’t have an Eject button then use the power button)
  21. To grab a screenshot of the entire screen and save the image to your desktop – Command + Shift + 3
  22. To grab a screenshot of a selected area of your screen – Command + Shift + 4 (and then drag the cursor over the area you want to take a screenshot of. Once you release the mouse the screenshot will automatically be copied to your desktop)
  23. To take a screenshot of just one window on your screen – Command + Shift + 4 + Spacebar
  24. Empty trash when in Finder – Command + Shift + Delete
  25. Force computer to Empty trash (so you don’t get warnings) – Command + Option + Shift + Delete
  26. To automatically generate a new email message with a link to the page you’re browsing when in Safari – Shift + Command + I
  27. Look up a word in the dictionary – Control + Command + D

Now for some Symbols:

  1. To create not equals to symbol (≠) – Option + =
  2. To create a plus or minus sign (±)-  Shift + Option + +
  3. To create the infinity symbol (∞) – Option + 5
  4. To create ellipses (…) – Option + ;
  5. To create the dividing symbol (÷) – Option + ?
  6. To create equal to or greater than symbol (≥) – Option + >
  7. To create equal to or lower than (≤) – Option + <
  8. To create a Pi sign (π)  – Option + P
  9. To create a circumflex (ˆ) – Option + I
  10. To create Tilde (˜) – Option + N
  11. To create an inverted question mark (¿)  – Option + Shift  + ?
  12. To create a registered trademark symbol ((®) – Option + R
  13. To create a copyright symbol (©) – Option + G
  14. To create a bullet point symbol (•) – Option + 8
  15. To create a dagger for footnotes (†) – Option + T
  16. To create the greek letter delta (∂) – Option + D
  17. To create the greek letter Beta (ß) – Option + S
  18. To create the greek letter Omega (Ω) – Option + Z

What Keyboard shortcuts do you use to save yourself time? Is there anything you’d like to add to this list? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

Leave a Comment


Thanks Ash. That is really useful!

Comment by Adam Franklin on February 1, 2014 at 11:23 am

Thanks for your kind words Adam. Much appreciated 🙂 Which shortcuts did you find most useful?

Comment by Ash on February 1, 2014 at 11:29 am

Hi Ash. I’m new to Mac and ironically enough, fractured a finger recently, so your shortcuts are doubly appreciated 😀

Comment by Greta on August 8, 2014 at 10:59 am

Hey Greta,

Sorry to hear you fractured a finger – I can honestly say know how you feel! Get well soon.

I’m delighted that you found the shortcuts useful. There are 57 excel shortcuts on the site too. Feel free to use them as well.

I also have launched a special thank you offer to subscribers of the Productive Insights community. I offer a Subscriber Special $17 consulting session (reduced from $147). I’d be delighted to help you out with implementing the shortcuts and any other productivity hacks. 🙂

You can access the offer by going to the Work With Me Page on the site in the navigation bar.


Comment by Ash on August 8, 2014 at 11:05 am

Ash, Thank you for introducing me to the suite of short cuts for the Mac. I am well underway utilising them into my daily online routine. Gratefully Jane

Comment by Jane Watson on November 18, 2014 at 10:45 am

Hi Jane,

You’re so very welcome. I’m delighted to know that you’re incorporating the shortcuts into your daily routine. I hope you find them to be as useful as I have. Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I’d be delighted to help.


Comment by Ash on November 18, 2014 at 11:18 am

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