Mac computers are worth the buy — 20 million customers in 2018 alone prove that point.
Still, new Mac users — and even seasoned Apple customers — might not know all that their devices can do. Of course, the computers’ shortcuts and secrets differ from traditional PCs. So, transitioning from one brand to another means learning these little tricks on your own.
Or, you could take a shortcut of your own. Here are 18 cool Mac tricks that every Apple computer user should know.
1. Take Specialized Screenshots
Mac computers give you multiple options for taking a screenshot. You can press:
- Command + Shift + 4, which will turn your cursor into a crosshair. Click and drag to create a box around what you want to screenshot, then release.
- Command + Shift + 4, let go, and then the Spacebar, which allows you to screenshot an entire window.
- Command + Shift + 3 to automatically screenshot your desktop.
Once you snap a screenshot, it will save to your desktop.
2. Perform a Spotlight Search
As you’re learning to use a Mac, you’ll need to know this quick shortcut to bring up a Spotlight Search. This tool has plenty of tricks in and of itself. You can locate specific documents, emails, contacts, apps and more.
To open Spotlight Search, you need to press Command + Spacebar. Then, type and go.
3. Leave the Dock
The Mac Dock holds all of the apps that you want to hand. You can move the Dock to the left, right or center of your screen.
Click System Preferences under the menu in the upper lefthand corner of your screen. Then, choose Dock and re-adjust the bar from there.
You can hide your Dock when necessary, too. Click Command + Option + D to remove it from view.
4. Quick-Clean the Desktop
You can click and drag files into the trash, whether they’re on your desktop or in your files. Hasten the clean-up process by clicking the unwanted file and holding Command + Delete.
5. Share an Apple…
Perhaps you want to tell the world that you’ve just gotten your first Apple computer. You could spell out the five-letter word, or you could text them with the well-known symbol.
Your Mac has a short-cut for that shape. Just press and hold Option + Shift + K to find the fruity icon.
6. …Or an Emoji
Of course, an apple’s not the only icon you’ll ever want to send. Sometimes, you can express yourself best with an Emoji face or figure.
The only problem is, you don’t know how to pull up the Emoji keyboard outside of the iMessage app. Click into a text box, then press Command + Control + Spacebar at once.
Not every platform will support your inclusion of emojis. But this shortcut makes it easy to pepper the emoticons into emails, social media posts and more. Keep your Mac updated so that you have all the latest emojis from which to choose. 😁
7. Check the Dictionary
Let’s say you’re reading an article online and come across a word you don’t recognize. You could copy and paste it into a virtual dictionary to get the definition. Or, you could use one of your cool Mac tricks to figure it out.
All you have to do is hover your cursor over the word in question. Then, tap the touchpad with three fingers. Voila — your Mac will define the term for you from there.
8. Rename a File
Reorganizing your Mac doesn’t require a lot of legwork. You can quickly rename files by clicking them, pressing Return and typing away. Once you’ve done, you press Return again to change the name of your file permanently.
You can helm an even bigger renaming session when you batch rename files. Mac lets you do so with a lengthier, shortcut-free process. But it’s quicker than changing the name of each file.
9. Finely Tune the Audio
Your Mac keyboard already has buttons that allow you to increase and decrease the volume. However, you might find that you can perfect the sound with the provided intervals.
So, hold Shift + Option as you turn the volume up or down. This combination will incrementally boost or lower the volume, so you have more control over the sound.
10. Move Layered Windows
Sometimes, your work requires you to have more than one window open and visible. Of course, if you’re typing in one window and reading from another, you need your text box at the forefront. Clicking the window from which you’re reading will bring it forward, though.
It can be annoying to have to rearrange windows every time you click on them. So, press Command before clicking a background window. Doing so will allow you to move that frame without bringing it to the forefront of your screen.
11. Find the Right Character
To correctly spell particular words, you need accents and other marks to write them. You could scroll through a list of these special characters, then copy and paste the one you need.
Or, you can press and hold the letter over which you need an accent. Your Mac will provide you with a choice of special characters. For instance, if you press and hold the N key, you can access ñ and ń.
12. Check Which Apps are Running
Press Command + Tab to see all of the apps that you currently have running on your Mac. You can cycle through them by pressing Tab repeatedly.
And, once you settle on the app you want to open, let go of the Command key. This step will select the program you want from what you have running.
13. Close Out Fast
At the end of a long day of work, nothing feels better than closing out of all your tabs and windows.
You can do so manually by clicking the red X in the upper left-hand corner of your web and app pages. Or you can press Command + Q and shut everything down even faster. Time for the weekend!
14. Delete in Both Directions
On a traditional PC, you have a backspace button and a delete button. The former does just as it says — it goes back and deletes the character to the left of your cursor. The delete key, on the other hand, removes what’s to the right.
Your Mac keyboard only has a delete key, which works just as a backspace button does. However, you can make it remove right-side characters, too. Just press Fn + Delete at the same time.
15. Force Quit ≠ Ctrl + Alt + Delete
Has an app frozen? On your PC, you know how to shut it down. You press and hold the Ctrl, Alt and Delete buttons to get a program closed, even if it’s unresponsive.
You can do the same on your Mac, although you need to press a different combination of keys. Click Command + Option + Esc to pinpoint the problematic program and shut it down.
16. Hide a Window Quickly
Mac windows have color-coordinated buttons to help you expand, minimize and close them intuitively. The green, yellow and red buttons perform those functions, respectively.
But you might need to hide a window quickly — even faster than you can click that tiny yellow circle. If so, press Command + M to minimize an app or webpage ASAP.
17. Command + Arrow Through a Document
Those who type all day get good use out of keyboard shortcuts. You can quickly maneuver through a document with a combination of Mac keyboard keys — no cursor required.
Start with the four directional arrows on your keyboard. Each one can help you move to the point you want to see in your document.
- Command + Left Arrow brings your cursor to the beginning of a line of text.
- Command + Right Arrow takes you to the end of the line.
- Command + Upshows you the top of a page.
- Command + Downmoves you to the end of the page.
18. Select and Deselect
Need to select all of the text in a document, email or another chunk of copy? Press and hold Command + A to highlight everything at once.
Once you have the words copied, you can deselect them just as quickly. Press Command + Option + A to clear your selection.
The latter’s a great trick to have in your arsenal. Otherwise, you may press another button on the keyboard, which would delete your entire selection. (If that happens, though, try pressing Command + Z to reverse a wrong move.)
Cool Mac Tricks — Just the Beginning
These 18 tricks are just a handful of all that your Apple computer can do. So, save them to your memory by practicing them as often as you use your Mac. Unfortunately, you can’t press Control + S to save anything to your brain, like you can save files on your Mac.
What are your favorite cool Mac tricks? Let us know with a reply below.
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