Simple OS X Keyboard Shortcuts To Save You Time

Keyboard shortcuts are a quick way of getting many things done without needing to access the menus or the mouse. If you know to press command-s to save your work, you’ve used a keyboard shortcut. This article includes printable cheat-sheets to help you memorise commonly-used Mac keyboard shortcuts.

For people who primarily use a keyboard or a switch interface, using keyboard shortcuts can save a lot of time and effort, and even people who can easily use both keyboard and mouse may find ergonomic benefits to using the mouse less. And there are lots of people out there with repetitive strain problems who can only use a mouse with some pain, so sticking to the keyboard means they can get more done with less pain.

There are some great pages which detail keyboard shortcuts which can be used in Mac OS X. Apple’s own OS X Keyboard Shortcuts List is lists nearly 250 shortcuts and is still not exhaustive of shortcuts specific to non-Apple programs! But sometimes less is more – a half-page list that you can print out and refer to can be much more useful than an exhaustive list – especially for people not familiar with keyboard shortcuts, so I made one.

This list doesn’t show you all the keyboard shortcuts you’ll ever need – just the ones you’re likely to use many times a day. It’s a half a page format that you can easily print out and refer to while you work. I’m making a PDF available for easy printing, and a version in the original Pages format for those who might want to edit it for themselves. I’ve also created versions in both A4 and US Letter page sizes, which should cover everybody’s standard page sizes.

Basic Keyboard Shortcuts – PDF, A4
Basic Keyboard Shortcuts – PDF, US

Basic Keyboard Shortcuts – Pages, A4
Basic Keyboard Shortcuts – Pages, US

If you edit these for yourself, let me know what you come up with – I’d love to see.

– Ricky

3 thoughts on “Simple OS X Keyboard Shortcuts To Save You Time”

  1. Great article Ricky! A couple of utilities that might be of use to keyboard enthusiasts are Cheatsheet:

    And Alfred (one of my most used apps):


    • @Paul: Good suggestions! KeyCue is another one I have used in the past.

      Alfred is wonderful although I wish it had more ways to access it without the keyboard – I switch between keyboard using and mouse using, so having both would be ideal. There’s nothing that does that though!

      • Thanks for the suggestion on KeyCue. I didn’t know about that one! Yeah Alfred is definitely keyboard centric. I found a number of ways to incorporate it into my daily routine but I know there are others who use it quite a bit more than I do. Still incredibly useful though!

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