So you made the move from the dark side, and bought a Mac. But, you’re finding the keyboard shortcuts you used on your Windows PC don’t work on the Mac. Fear not, new user! You’ll find there is likely a Mac equivalent for every just about every Windows key combo you’re used to.
Where are the Darned Home and End Keys?
OK, it’s true, there isn’t a dedicated Home or End key on the Mac keyboard, but there are a couple of keyboard combos that work just as well.
To jump to the top of the page like the Home key does in Windows, simply hold down the Function Key, (you’ll find it in the lower left hand corner of your Mac keyboard, it’s marked “fn”), and then press the Left Arrow cursor key. BOOM! Your Mac’s cursor will jump to the top of the page.
For an End key replacement, hold down the Function key and press the Right Arrow cursor key. You’ll find yourself at the bottom of the page. (Bonus: If you hold down the Function key and then press the Up or Down Arrow Cursor keys, you’ll go up or down one page at a time.)
The Delete Key Doesn’t Work Like I’m Used To!
You’ve likely discovered that the Delete key on the Mac works more like the Backspace key on your old PC did, deleting whatever is to the left of the cursor. If you hold down our buddy, the Function key, (remember it?) and then tap the Delete key, it’ll take out whichever unlucky character is sitting to the right of the cursor.
You’ll find that on some full-sized keyboards that are available for the Mac there is indeed a Delete key that will delete to the right instead of the left. I use an old-school full-sized Mac keyboard, (the big white plastic one, not the aluminum beauties available today), and it includes a Delete key. So, if you can’t get used to the Function key trick, you might want to look around for a new keyboard.
Switching Between Apps
On Windows PCs, you likely used the ALT + Tab keyboard combo to switch between apps. The process basically works the same on the Mac, you just use one different key. To switch between apps, hold down the Command Key, (it’s just to the left or right of the spacebar), and then hit the Tab key. You’ll cycle to the next app with each press of the Tab key. Just let go of the Command key when you get to the app you want to access.
If you get into a rhythm, and pass up the app you wanted to switch to, you don’t have to cycle through all of the apps again, simply keep holding down on the Command key, but tap the “~” key, (it’s just above the Tab key), this will cycle you in the opposite direction.
Apple supplies a nice webpage that shows just about every keyboard shortcut combo available on the Mac, which we won’t attempt to duplicate here. But, we will share some of the more common ones. For a more comprehensive collection, visit the Apple website.
Command-X: Cut -Remove the selected item and copy it to the Clipboard.
Command-C: Copy the selected item to the Clipboard. This also works for files in the Finder.
Command-V: Paste the contents of the Clipboard into the current document or app. This also works for files in the Finder.
Command-Z: Undo the previous command. You can then press Command-Shift-Z to Redo, reversing the undo command. In some apps, you can undo and redo multiple commands.
Command-A: Select All items.
Command-F: Find – Open a Find window, or find items in a document.
Command-H: Hide the windows of the front app. To view the front app but hide all other apps, press Command-Option-H.
Command-M: Minimize the front window to the Dock. To minimize all windows of the front app, press Command-Option-M.
Command-N: New -Open an new document or window.
Command-O: Open the selected item, or open a dialog to select a file to open.
Command-P: Print the current document.
Command-S: Save the current document.
Command-W: Close the front window. To close all windows of the app, press Command-Option-W.
Command-Q: Quit the app.
Hopefully, these keyboard tips will make the transition a little easier for Windows to Mac switchers. If there is a keyboard combo on Windows that you can’t find an equivalent for on the Mac, let us know in the comments section below, and we’ll do our best to find it for you.