A list of lesser-known OS X keyboard shortcuts

Published by marco on

Updated by marco on

The post Please share your hidden OS X features or tips and tricks (StackExchange) yielded a treasure trove of keyboard shortcuts, some of which I knew and many that I’d never heard of or had long ago forgotten.

I collected, condensed and organized the ones I found the most useful below.

Finder & Open/Save dialogs

  • + + G shows a location bar where you can type a path (/ or ~ also works in Open/Save). This text field supports ~ for the home directory and has rudimentary tab-completion.
  • + R reveals the currently selected item in a new Finder window.
  • + + L selects your ~/Downloads folder.
  • + + > shows/hides hidden files and folders (Open/Save dialogs only).
  • Dragging and dropping a file or folder into an Open/Save window re-targets that window on that file or folder

Managing applications

  • Press + tab to cycle through open applications.
  • Press + ~ (or < depending on keyboard layout) to cycle through open windows in the currently selected application.
  • While cycling, you can press q to quit the highlighted application or h to hide it
  • Press + + esc to show a dialog that lets you force unresponsive applications to quit (you can even relaunch the Finder)
  • Hold down while clicking a dock icon to reveal that application in the Finder

Managing your Mac

  • Hold down while clicking the “apple” menu on the top-left to execute commands (e.g. “Log out”, “Shut down”) without a confirmation dialog
  • Press ctrl + + + to shut down
  • Press + + to put the computer to sleep
  • Press ctrl + + to put the display to sleep
  • Press ctrl + + to restart


  • + + 4 lets you select an area to highlight and saves the screenshot to the desktop
  • + + 4 + space lets you select an entire window, the dock, menu bar, etc. This will also include the drop shadow with transparency in the PNG screenshot.
  • Hold down ctrl with either of these to copy to the clipboard instead

Volume controls

  • Hold down while adjusting the volume to mute the volume-changing sound (useful when adjusting volume during a call).
  • Hold down + while adjusting the volume to adjust in quarter-increments.
  • Hold down while clicking the “sounds” menu-bar item to show a menu that lets you select the input/output devices without opening preferences

Screen & Brightness

  • Hold down + while adjusting the brightness to adjust in quarter-increments.
  • Hold down ctrl while scrolling with two fingers or the mouse wheel to zoom in/out on the entire screen

Menu-bar items

  • Hold down while clicking the “bluetooth” or “wi-fi” menu-bar items to show a menu with more details about your connection, including options to show/generate diagnostics.
  • Hold down while clicking the “notifications” icon to toggle it on/off