10 not so common Mac OS X shortcuts

You’ll be using these keys (myfirstmac.com)

Many websites feature keyboard shortcuts for OS X. Most of them bury the good shortcuts under a sea of common ones that everybody knows and those that nobody will use and end up as trivia. So, I have compiled the ones I use regularly and weeded out those that seemed common knowledge. Some of these shortcuts are keyboard-alternatives to using the mouse/touchpad. Others automate to save time. I have provided Windows alternatives in some cases.

UPDATE: Some of the browser-based shortcuts may not work with all browsers. They work with Google Chrome.

1. Shortcut: Cmd+L    
    Function: takes cursor to address bar

You want to go to a particular website, but you’re too lazy to drag your mouse pointer to the address bar. Pressing Cmd+L (I wrote L in uppercase for easy identification only; please don’t press shift!).

For Windows users: Alt + d

Of course, sometimes you want to go to the address bar just to copy the URL. In that case…

2. Shortcut: Cmd+option+c (in Google Chrome)
    Function: Copies current URL

The option key is also called alt. This copies to clipboard the URL or link of the website you’re on. You can then right-click anywhere and paste. Again, if you’re only copying the URL to share by email…

3. Shortcut: Cmd+shift+I (in Google Chrome)
    Function: Opens a compose-mail dialog with current URL in body

When I want to share something interesting I find online, the altruism is tempered by the effort it takes to copy the URL, open mail client (or web app), click compose, paste the URL in the body and await grateful responses. Yikes!

But, this nifty shortcut opens a ‘compose mail’ dialog in another tab with said URL in the body. You need to be signed in, or this will take you to the login page, but you knew that already, right?

4. Shortcut: Option+space or ctrl+shift+space
    Function: Inserts a non-breaking space

Ever written something like, “$700 billion,” only to find that your word processor has wrapped the text to take ‘billion’ to the next line leaving $700 in full view, turning the Bush-bailout into a personal stimulus package? That’s because you inserted a regular space between ‘$700’ and ‘billion.’

A non-breaking space (also: hard space or fixed space) takes the whole figure ($700 billion) into the next line if necessary, but never separates the two.

For Windows users: Ctrl+shift+space

5. Shortcut: Cmd+1/2/3
    Function: Switches to the 1st/2nd/3rd tab in a browser

If you have a few tabs open in your browser, and need to go to the third one for example, press ‘Cmd + 3’

6. Shortcut: Cmd+space
    Function: Opens spotlight 

Pretty self-explanatory. This command opens the spotlight and allows you find files, preview them (by hovering over the file name in the spotlight search-result and pressing ‘space’) and even do basic mathematical calculations up to logarithms and trigonometry.

7. Shortcut: Cmd+option+c (in MS Word)
    Function: Change case 

This shortcut, when pressed, will cycle through lowercase, uppercase and sentence-case (only first letter in uppercase).

For Windows users: Shift+F3

8. Shortcut: Cmd+shift+4 and Cmd+ctrl+shift+4
    Function: To select part of the screen for a screenshot

Pressing these sets of keys will show crosshairs using which you can select a rectangular part of the screen. If you press ‘ctrl’ the screenshot will be copied to the clipboard. Without Ctrl, the screenshot is saved as a picture file (.png) on your desktop by default. If you want to capture the whole screen though, you’re better off with…

9.  Shortcut: Cmd+shift+3 and Cmd+ctrl+shift+3 
      Function:  Capture the entire screen as a screenshot

Again, pressing ‘ctrl’ will copy the screenshot to the clipboard. Without ‘ctrl’ you’re going to end up with a picture file on your desktop.

10. Shortcut: Cmd+shift+n (In Finder)
      Function: Creates new folder in current Finder folder 

Of course, you can always right-click your mouse/touchpad and choose ‘new folder’ but where’s the fun in that?

So there you have it. Ten shortcuts that are hopefully useful, yet not too common.

Sources: Wikipedia, Apple support, Lifehacker.com

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5 thoughts on “10 not so common Mac OS X shortcuts

  1. Great post! Learned some new tricks 🙂

    Also, while you’re in Cmd + Shift + 4, if u press the space bar a camera icon will show up and it will take a photo of the current window you are on.

  2. Good stuff thanks, I just got a new MacBook Pro and keep getting puzzled on simple tasks I use with the PC. Organizing files and pics seems a bit confusing although it’s probably more simple and I’m just lost without my folders lol Screen shots are huge, also there is one for copying the address bar location I just read it but forget it already lol Thanks for the tips feel free to drop by my site too for some marketing tips 🙂

  3. Great collection of easy to use shortcuts for Mac users. One more things I love to add over here is about Screenshots. For Windows users, there is a free tool ‘Snagit’. It can be used by just pressing PrintScrn key only for once and start capturing the selected area from the screen and save the image.

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