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  1. Computer Skills
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40 More Essential Keyboard Shortcuts to Improve Your Workflow

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Keyboard shortcuts are essential for any Mac user looking to quicken the speed of their workflow. By giving you quicker navigation they make the whole process of using a Mac far easier.

Recently, on Tuts+ Computer Skills we covered 40 Nifty Shortcuts to Make Your Life Easier, a tutorial which explained everyday OS X keyboard shortcuts. This tutorial covers some more advanced shortcuts which you can incorporate into your workflows.


For those who regularly deal with mathematical equations, on their Macs, it's helpful to quickly insert the specific symbols needed in equations. Here are some that you may deal with on a regular basis.

1. Forming Not Equals Symbol ≠

Number 1Number 1Number 1

To form the not equals sign on a Mac keyboard the shortcut is Option Equals.

2. Plus or Minus Sign ±

Number 2Number 2Number 2

Another useful keyboard combination is Option Shift Equals this forms the Plus or Minus Sign.

3. The Infinity Symbol ∞

Number 3Number 3Number 3

Something which probably won't be used as much as others is the infinity symbol, however, you can quickly enter it into the text with Option 5.

4. Ellipses …

Number 4Number 4Number 4

Instead of adding three full stops to form an Ellipses there is a shortcut to get there easier. To do that the keyboard combination is Option Semicolon.

5. Dividing Symbol ÷


Sometimes a forward slash isn't enough to show the dividing of numbers. To create a proper dividing sign you need to press Option Question Mark.

6. Equal to or Greater Than ≥


To add equal to or a greater than sign you need to press Option Greater Than.

7. Equal to or Lower Than ≤


The equal to or lower than sign works in the same way. This time the key combination is Option Lower Than.

8. Pi Sign π


The Pi constant which is used often in Maths is easy to enter by hitting Option P.

Accents and Language Symbols

For those of us who need to communicate in a language requiring accents and special symbols its often a struggle to fluently write without entering the special characters window often. Below I've shown how you can efficiently create accents and symbols on your Mac.

9. Grave `


To create a grave accent you will need to press Option ` this will then show the grave symbol in yellow highlighting. Following this you must press your desired letter and the accent will be added.

10. Acute ´


With an acute accent, the key combination is Option E. Similarly, yellow highlighting will appear and you can type the vowel require.

11. Circumflex ^


To create a circumflex above a vowel, Option I is the keyboard shortcut. Followed by the typing of the vowel.

12. Tilde ~


Adding a tilde accent is performed by using the shortcut Option N then typing the vowel you require.

13. Dieresis ¨

Dieresis 3Dieresis 3Dieresis 3

Finally, to add a Dieresis to a letter you will need to press Option U.

14. Inverted Question Mark ¿


To form the Inverted Question mark which is used in Spanish written text you need use the shortcut Option Shift Question Mark.

15. Inverted Exclamation Mark ¡

Inverted ExlamationInverted ExlamationInverted Exlamation

Again, used in Spanish written text, the Inverted Exclamation mark is formed with Option 1.


Screenshots are something I deal with nearly every day and are a great way to share work to friends or represent a task you are undergoing. With Mac OS X's built in screenshot tools there is no need to download a third party screen grabber ever again. By learning these four shortcuts you can master screen printing on a Mac.

16. Entire Screen

Entire ScreenEntire ScreenEntire Screen

To take a screenshot of the entire screen of work you will need to press Command Shift 3, automatically saving the image to your desktop.

17. Selected Area of Screen

Selected AreaSelected AreaSelected Area

Similarly you can choose to only take a screenshot of a certain part of your screen. To achieve this press Command Shift 4.

18. Specific Object or Window

Specific Object or WindowSpecific Object or WindowSpecific Object or Window

Sometimes you will only want a screenshot of one window on your screen. To do this you need to start with Command Shift 4 then press Spacebar this will bring up a camera tool which will allow you to pick the window you want.

19. Copying the Screenshot to the Clipboard

Copy To ClipboardCopy To ClipboardCopy To Clipboard

Automatically all of your screenshots will be saved to the desktop, but for some people clogging up the desktop is something to avoid at all costs. To stop this from happening you can hold Control with any of the above shortcuts, this will copy the screenshot to your clipboard for you to place wherever you wish.

Special Character

Special characters always come in useful and being able to quickly insert them is a skill which can be helpful to know. Below I've shown the keyboard shortcuts to some of the most popular special characters.

20. Hash UK Keyboard #


Something many UK Mac users find hard to find on their keyboards is the hash key because there isn't actually a key with a hash on it. It can be found though by using the keyboard combination Option 3.

21. Trademark ™


Alt Shift 2 is the keyboard combination which forms the trademark symbol.

22. Registered Trademark ®

Registered TrademarkRegistered TrademarkRegistered Trademark

To make a registered trademark symbol you will need to press Option R.

23. Copyright ©


The copyright symbol is produced with the combination Option G.

24. Euro Symbol €


On the number two key on UK keyboards you can see the euro symbol and to access it you need to press Alt 2.

25. Bullet Point •

Bullet PointBullet PointBullet Point

To quickly make a bullet point in any application you can use the keyboard shortcut Option 8. This makes it far easier when trying to format a piece of text.

26. Create a Pilcrow for Starting Paragraphs ¶


The Pilcrow which is used to symbolise the starting of paragraphs is composed with Option 7.

27. Create a Dagger for Footnotes †


The Dagger is produced with Option T. This can be used to show footnotes.

28. Degree Symbol º


One of the one useful special characters is the degree symbol. This can be inserted by pressing Option 0.

29. Greek Letters ∂ ß Ω


The Greek letter delta can be made by hitting Option D.


The second letter in the Greek alphabet, Beta, is made by pressing Option S.


Omega is created by using the keys Option Z.

Startup and Shut Down Shortcuts

When booting up or shutting down your Mac there is a range of different shortcuts which will take you to different places. Some of the most helpful are below.

30. Show Bootable Drives

Bootable DrivesBootable DrivesBootable Drives

Once the Apple logo appears on startup, you have the ability to see the drives which you are able to boot from after holding down Option.

31. Start Up in Safe Mode

Safe ModeSafe ModeSafe Mode

To start your Mac in safe mode you must hold Shift when the Apple logo appears on startup.

32. Start From External Sources


Something which won't appear when you show bootable drives in startup is the external sources which you may want to boot from. To boot directly from external sources such as USB, CD or DVD hold C when the Apple logo appears.

33. Enter Recovery Mode

Recovery ModeRecovery ModeRecovery Mode

To enter recovery mode on startup hold down Command R. This will allow you to access to Recovery Mode utilities.

34. Enter Single User Mode

Single UserSingle UserSingle User

Entering Single User Mode is done by pressing Command S when starting up your Mac, this can be used for troubleshooting or software development.

35. Send Computer to Sleep


To quickly send your Mac to Sleep the keyboard combination is Command Option Eject. Great for if you're in a rush to lock your Mac and don't want to perform a full shutdown.

36. Open Sleep/Restart/Shutdown Bar

Open Sleep:RestartOpen Sleep:RestartOpen Sleep:Restart

If you don't want to automatically sleep your Mac and you would prefer to be given the three shutdown options you can press Control Eject. This will bring up an interface allowing you to choose between Sleep, Restart or Shutdown.

Trash Shortcuts

Managing the deleting of items is an important matter, and being able to use the correct shortcuts to complete tasks quicker can be very beneficial.

37. Delete


Sending items to the Trash can be done in two ways depending on the size of keyboard you are using. On full size keyboards you can either press Command Delete or Command Backspace. Alternatively, on the smaller size keyboards you can only use the Command Backspace shortcut.

38. Returning an Item From the Trash

Return an itemReturn an itemReturn an item

Once you in the Trash if you want to quickly return an item to the place it was deleted from you follow the same shortcut as above. Either Command Delete or Command Backspace.

39. Empty Trash


To empty the trash the keyboard shortcut is Command Shift Delete.

40. Force Empty Trash

Force EmptyForce EmptyForce Empty

In the last shortcut, after pressing you are given a warning on whether you would like to delete or not, however, you can force the empty so this warning doesn't appear. This is achieved by adding Option to the combination so that you press Command Option Shift Delete.


41. Create an Apple Logo 

Apple LogoApple LogoApple Logo

There is also an Easter egg on Mac keyboards which allows you to form an Apple logo. This is achieved by pressing Option Shift K.


In this tutorial I highlighted some of the more specialised shortcuts which you are able to use on your Mac with keyboard combinations. Each of these can speed up the time it takes you to complete a task and make working with your computer a little bit easier.

By integrating these, and the shortcuts in Jacob's 40 Nifty Shortcuts to Make Your Life Easier tutorial, you should be able to make much progress with your use of keyboard combinations.

Did I miss any shortcuts which you feel should have been mentioned? Let us know below.

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