An Introduction to the Apple Keyboard Symbols and Shortcuts

This brief tutorial/overview will explain how to identify the keys on your Mac’s keyboard, and some of the most common keyboard shortcuts.

Apple Keyboard Symbols

Here’s a breakdown of the Apple Keyboard keys.

apple command key – also displayed as apple command key symbol = the Command key (also known as the “Apple key”).


apple control key = the Control (ctrl) key


apple option key = the Option key


apple shift key = the Shift key


apple escape key = the Escape key

Common Apple Keyboard Shortcuts

Here’s a list of some of the more common Apple Keyboard Shortcuts.

apple command key + Z (Command+Z) = Undo

apple command key + X (Command+X) = Cut

apple command key + C (Command+C) = Copy

apple command key + V (Command+V) = Paste

apple command key + A (Command+A) = Select All

apple command key + S (Command+S) = Save

apple command key + H (Command+H) = Hide Current Window

apple command key + N (Command+N) = New Window

apple command key + O (Command+O) = Open

apple command key + W (Command+W) = Close Window

apple command key + M (Command+M) = Minimize the current Appliction

apple command key + F (Command+F) = Find

apple command key + P (Command+P) = Print

apple command key + TAB (Command+Tab) = Tab through the open Applications so you can switch to one.

apple command key + Q (Command+Q) = Quit the current Application

apple command key + apple command key + apple escape key (Command+Option+Escape) = Brings up the Force Quit window

apple command key + SPACEBAR (Command+Spacebar) = Brings up Spotlight

apple command key + , (Command+,) = Brings up the Preferences of the current Application (usually, not always)

apple command key + apple shift key + 3 (Command+Shift+3) = Take screenshot of the entire screen

apple command key + apple shift key + 4 (Command+Shift+4) = Brings up ‘crosshairs’ which allows you to drag a rectangle/square to take a screenshot of that section. Add the Spacebar to the end of that keyboard combo and click on a window and you’ll take a screenshot of just that window.

Comments [4]

  1. Wow this site is awesome

    When I went to the store to consider buying a Macbook, the guy at the store recommended me to go to this site

    I did buy a MacBook

    and I'm finding this site really helpful

    So thanks a lot!

    This is exactly what i needed!

  2. My mac book has gone nuts and all the key are typing symbols. What is the fix?

  3. Thanks, this has been very helpful in getting me migrated over from windows.

    But there seems to be some things wrong/missing (or maybe its just on my setup, MacBook Pro with Snow Lepard)

    1) command-h hides all windows for the current application(not just current window)

    2) command-m minimizes the current window, not the application

    3) What is the difference between hiding and minimizing?

    4) alt-tab switches between applications, but how do you switch between windows of the same application?

    5) The backspace key is now the delete key, but where did the delete key go? Can you still delete ahead of the cursor?


  4. Thanks for the interesting tutorial. I've just got my first Mac and am trying to get my head around the basics – the keyboard is slightly different and I'm finding it difficult to find things like delete/home/end keys which are very obvious on a non Mac keyboard. Is there a plan/visual representation of the keyboard available? There doesn't appear to be anything on the Apple support site.


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