Since the post-PC era is here– think mobile devices with touchscreens– I worry about how people will enter information into their devices in the future. Siri? Dictation isn’t too bad with Siri but it’s a cumbersome process. I can type faster than Siri can get dictation right.
Far too many of today’s children do not know how to type. Hunt and peck seems to have skipped a few generations but now it’s back in vogue. So far as I’m concerned, it takes a keyboard to get things done, and I have a growing list of favorite Mac keyboard shortcuts.
Copy. Cut. Paste.
If you really want to improve productivity and efficiency on your Mac, go keyboard only. Drop the mouse or trackpad. It takes awhile to master, but using the keyboard is the most efficient way to use a Mac. Most of us know the time honored keyboard shortcuts.
Command-Tab to switch apps. Command-C to copy. Command-P to print. Command-X to cut. Command-V to insert. Command-Q to quit.
Those are the basics but every Mac app also uses its own set of keyboard shortcuts, most of which you can see in the Menubar menus. If you need more or want to know all of them, use the KeyCue app and its wonderful cheat sheet. The reason for a cheat sheet is obvious. Most of us cannot remember twenty-eleven keyboard shortcuts.
Here are the ones I use and remember.
- Command-W: whatever window you’re using at the moment will close with Command-W. Use Option-Command-W and whatever app you’re using will close all active windows. The Option command is useful to remember.
- Command and Option: This is a good way to see your Desktop when the view is cluttered by a dozen open Mac apps. Hold Command and Option down and just click anywhere.
- Command-Space: Think Spotlight. Hit Command-Space and Spotlight appears center screen, ready to take a hint on what to look for or open.
- Command-Option-D: Use this combo to hide or show the Dock without having to move your hands off the keyboard.
- Command-M: Speaking of too many windows on screen, Command-M minimizes the front window and moves it to the Dock, whereas Command-Option-M minimizes all the app’s windows.
Confused yet? Practice makes perfect.
- Command-Comma: This is an oldie but a goodie. Command-, opens an app’s Preferences.
- Command-Arrows: Navigating Safari can be cumbersome, but Command-Left-Arrow and Command-Right-Arrow lets you navigate windows, left or right.
- Tab Navigate: Speaking of Safari, use the Command-Shift-] or Command-Shift-[ to navigate between multiple browser tab windows.
- Function-Arrow: Likewise, you can move to the top or bottom of a Safari page by using a Function key with an arrow. As you’re browsing around in Safari, note that Command-L lets you begin typing in the search URL bar at the top.
I’m not as big on Mac Function keys as I was years ago, thanks to the Touch Bar on MacBook Pro. That utility gets plenty of criticism but it can be useful, easily turned off, but also contextual– it changes with each front facing Mac app on the screen.
There are many, many more, and the only real issue I have is remembering them all. The more you use the keyboard, the more shortcuts you can incorporate into your routine and workflow.