February 27, 2015 | Rob Spurlock

8 Mac Keyboard Shortcuts to Save Time (and Frustration)

Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

A couple of years ago, our entire office switched from Windows to Mac computers... cold turkey. Sure, pretty much everybody uses Macs in the website design industry, but that doesn't mean it's an easy transition.

While we really enjoyed the new Mac OS and the sleek hardware, years and years of working on Windows left me missing out on some of the keyboard shortcuts I had hard-coded into my brain. I was hooked on Apple products but frustrated without my time saving keystrokes.

Happily, I discovered many of the same shortcuts existed, and there were many more I had never used before. Though the shortcuts I chose for this post are mainly for a Windows convert, they should save you time even if you are a longtime Apple user. The keystrokes listed below can all be pushed in any order, but all of the keystrokes must be pushed and held down for the shortcut to work.

The Top 8 Mac Keyboard Shortcuts


Have you ever copied information (mostly text) from a website and tried to paste it into an email or text document, only to have it show up all formatted exactly as it was in the website you copied it from? If you only want the text and not the fancy styling then you can select it, copy it (Command+C) and instead of a normal paste (Command+V), simply use this shortcut to paste the text and have it match the style of the document you're pasting it into.


Remember in Windows when you had both a backspace and a delete key? The Mac only gives you a delete key, but guess what? It's actually a backspace too! To do an actual Windows-style delete and remove the character (or selected characters) to the right of the cursor, use this handy shortcut until you wipe that one from your memory and learn to put the cursor to the right hand side and click the delete button.


When working in a document (text or Mac mail), you can use this keyboard shortcut to show or hide the Fonts window. With the Fonts window, you have many options, but the most useful for me is the ability to strikethrough text, a function which I always had trouble finding.


This is the Mac equivalent to Window's Alt+Tab, which moves you to the next most recently used app in a list of open apps. You can either do a quick Command+Tab to move to the next open app (usually the last one you were using) or simply continue to hold down Command, then tap the Tab key to move through the open apps. While continuing to hold down the Command (after tapping tab once) you also have other options to move around such as using the arrow keys and clicking with your mouse.


Similar to the Command+Tab function, this keyboard shortcut allows you to choose among the current Apps open. For example, if you keep several Word documents open at the same time and you want to switch back and forth between them, then this shortcut is for you. The windows have to be on the same monitor if you are using multiple monitors with separate desktops.


Find misspelled words in the document. This one requires no real explanation. If your app doesn't use spellcheck (or you have it turned off) then use Command+Semicolon (;) to highlight misspelled words.


Show or hide the definition of a selected word. This keyboard shortcut is also simple to use. Hover over a word, then find out a definition. It's very cool and works in just about every app. Here, try it out: effulgent.


The Mac version of Control+Alt+Delete in Windows, this shortcut allows you to choose an app to Force Quit. Instead of clicking on the Apple icon, just use this handy shortcut to open up a list of apps so you can choose a badly-behaving one to close.

Just keep in mind that these Mac keyboard shortcuts are iOS system commands, so they may not work in all apps (though they will in many). I hope they're helpful, and save you time and effort like they do for me.

The Mac OS has many more keyboard shortcuts than they ones I've listed here, so if you'd like to know some of the most commonly used ones, let me know in the comments!

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Rob Spurlock

Rob Spurlock

Principal and Founder of VIEO Design™, LLC. Rob has a love for the East TN community. Server environment, web functionality and WordPress expert. He has extensive expertise in the Internet industry and related Internet software with over 15 years experience.

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