12+ Command tips every Mac user needs

New to the Mac or Apple veteran, every Mac user should be finger-familiar with these amazingly productivity-enhancing Command shortcuts that help you get more done faster on your Mac.


My favorite Mac tip of all – a direct route to a Spotlight search. You can use this to find stuff, open apps, do sums and so much more. (You can also use Command-F to find something inside whatever app you happen to be).

Command-X, Command-C, Command-V

Every Mac user needs to know this triptych of text tools, which let you cut, copy and paste (respectively) selected text.


Every Mac user needs to know that the fastest way to quit an app is Command-Q. Or use Command-Option-Esc: to Force quit.


Close that window. Or Command-H to hide all the windows of the application you are in – or Command-Option-H to hide all the open windows of all the applications you have open, except for the one you are in.


Tap this handy command to get to the Application Switcher. Here you can get to the app you want to use by placing your cursor on it, or just press Command-T until the app you want is selected. Keep doing it until it gets natural


This works in Finder and Safari. Tap it to open a new tab. (And tap Comand-L to immediately get to a new Safari search).

[Also read: 8 Mac Keyboard Shortcuts You Need To Know]


Command-Z is the Mac equivalent of a Get Out of Jail card. Just written something and want to get rid of it? Tap Command-Z. Deleted a file you wanted to keep? Tap Command-Z. Applied an image filter you don’t like? Yap Command-Z. Try it before you do anything else, as it only undoes the very last action that you took. (And use Command-Y to redo an action).


This is so useful when you’re in the Finder window. Tap Command 1 for icon view, Command-2 for list view, Command-3 to reach Column view and Command-4 for Cover Flow. It makes it so easy to find your stuff. (Don’t forget that you can Control-click the File name to find where on your Mac your currently selected item happens to be).


Opens the preferences for the currently active application.

Command-Shift-A and friends

These are super-useful once you get into them – they let you fly through the Finder fast. When in a Finder window, tap:

  • Command-Shift-A: to open the Applications folder
  • Command-Shift-U: to open the Utilities folder
  • Command-Shift-D:to open the Desktop folder
  • Command-Shift-H: to open the Home/iCloud folder


Take a screenshot. Or press Command-Shift-4 to take a precise shot of part of the screen.


Use this to instantly get to the Help menu of any application you happen to be in – start typing your query immediately to get to help fast.

Command and Option

Tap this and click the Desktop or the app you want to see and watch what happens next!

Let us all know if you have other Command shortcuts you like to use.

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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