Learning shortcuts is an excellent way to improve the efficiency of your workflow. Rather than provide a long list of every available macOS (formerly known as OSX) shortcut, I have picked out a useful selection that you can learn as a starting point. Try to practice with a couple of these every week and you’ll be working around your Mac like a pro in no time!

For further reading, I have written companion posts for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign.

General Tricks

magic wand icon

Action Shortcut
Show / Hide the Dock Option + Command + D
Spotlight Search Command + Spacebar
Show Desktop Command + Mission Control

Managing Windows

interface window icon

Action Shortcut
Cycle through active applications Command + Tab
Flip between windows in current application Command + `/~
Minimise window Command + M
Hide all other applications Command + Option + H
Close window Command + W
Close all windows Command + Option + W

Finder

computer folder icon

Action Shortcut
Duplicate file Command + D
Eject the selected disk Command + E
Get Info Command + I
Open the Computer window Shift + Command + C
Open the Desktop folder Shift + Command + D
Open the Home folder Shift + Command + H
Open iCloud Drive Shift + Command + I
Open the Downloads folder Command + Option + L
Open the AirDrop window Shift + Command + R
Hide / Show Sidebar Command + Option + S
New Finder window Command + N
Create new folder Shift + Command + N
Open the current folder’s parent Command + Up Arrow
Open the parent folder in a new window Command + Control + Up Arrow
Open folder in a separate window Command + Double click
Rename a file Command + Return
Move to Trash Command + Delete
Empty Trash Shift + Command + Delete
Empty Trash without confirmation Command + Option + Shift + Delete
Move item Hold Command while dragging to a new location
Copy item Hold Option while dragging to a new location

Problem Solving

Press these when booting your Mac, immediately after pushing the power button

alert icon

Action Shortcut
Start in Safe Mode Shift
Launch Startup Manager Option
Launch Apple Diagnostics / Hardware Test D
Reset NVRAM / PRAM Command + Option + P + R
Eject removable media F12 or mouse button