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The most important keyboard shortcuts for Apple users

Pressing several keys, so-called key combinations, can save a lot of time when working on a PC or laptop. The practical shortcuts can also replace the mouse if necessary. atechbook reveals the most important key combinations for Apple users who work with a MacBook or a Mac.

Thumbnails, screenshots for the clipboard, Spotlight search or simply normal work – keyboard shortcuts simplify everyday life with notebooks and stationary computers, regardless of the operating system. Sometimes the key commands are the same for both Windows and macOS, but in many cases they differ significantly. In the following article you will find a list of the most practical and most frequently used keyboard shortcuts for Apple’s MacBook and Mac.

Are you a Windows user? You can find the 25 most common combinations for Windows in the linked article!

Key explanation:

cmd: command

alt: option

ctrl: control

shift: shift key

You would rather watch than read? We also reveal the practical keyboard shortcuts for MacBook and Mac in our video:

Same key combinations for Windows and macOS

Switchers who change from Windows to Apple do not have to completely say goodbye to all known keyboard shortcuts. Some functions, such as copying and pasting objects, remain the same. Here is a selection of these shortcuts that apply to both Windows and macOS:

  • cmd + X: Delete selected object and copy to clipboard.
  • cmd + C: Copy selected object to clipboard
  • cmd + V: Paste object from clipboard
  • cmd + Z: Undo previous action (Shift + cmd + Z to undo previous action)
  • cmd + A: Select all
  • cmd + F: Open search window
  • cmd + P: Print document
  • cmd + S: Save document
  • cmd + T: Open new tab of an app

Also interesting: How to type faster on the iPhone keyboard

Frequently used macOS shortcuts

Other, equally often used shortcuts only apply to macOS, because they sometimes have system-internal functions that do not even exist in this form in Windows:

  • cmd + W: Close only the frontmost window
  • alt + cmd + W: Close all windows
  • alt + cmd + esc: Force quit an app
  • cmd + spacebar: Show Spotlight search box
  • ctrl + cmd + spacebar: show character map
  • alt + – (minus): long dash
Apple keyboard shortcuts: Keyboard of a macBook from above
Apple keyboards differ slightly from Windows keyboards.
Photo: Getty Images

Taking screenshots with Apple

In order to capture entire screenshots or even just parts of the screen, Apple basically offers the function of not saving the screenshot as a file by additionally pressing the control key, but only copying it to the clipboard:

  • cmd + shift + 3: Saves the entire screen as a file.
  • cmd + ctrl + shift + 3: Saves the entire screen to the clipboard.
  • cmd + shift + 4: Saves a selected area (crosshairs for selection appear and area is activated when crosshairs are released) as a file.
  • cmd + ctrl + shift + 4: Saves a selected area (crosshairs for selection appear and area is activated when the cross is released) to the clipboard.
  • cmd + shift + 4 + spacebar: The crosshair turns into a camera icon that can be used to click on an open window and save it as a file.
  • cmd + shift + 5: Saves a customizable area as a file.┬áThe area keeps the same size and position until it is changed again.
  • cmd + ctrl + shift + 5: Saves a customizable area to the clipboard.

In some cases the creation of a screenshot does not work. This is then usually related to the program from which you want to create a screenshot. For example, if you have the DVD player active, you will not be able to take screenshots of the content shown, nor of other windows, for copy protection reasons.

Log off, hibernate and power off

This is also where the power button comes in handy:

  • alt + cmd + power button/alt + cmd + “eject” button: hibernate mode.
  • ctrl + shift + power button/ctrl + shift + “eject” key: idle state for the display
  • ctrl + power button/ctrl + “eject” key: Opens a dialog window that offers the options “restart”, “hibernate” and “power off”.
  • Shift + cmd + Q: Log off


  • Apple
  • Computer