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Mac Keyboard Shortcuts and Their Windows Equivalents

If you are new to Mac OS X, it can be frustrating to learn some of the hot-keys that you were used to on Windows. While there isn't always an exact equivalent, there are a few shortcuts that are similar and will get you started.


In Windows Control-Alt-Delete will bring up the security window allowing you to change users and lock the computer, among other things. There are a few hot-keys on the Mac that can perform the same functions.

  • Control-Command-Eject restarts the Mac
  • Control-Option-Command-Eject shuts down the Mac immediately
  • Shift-Command-Q logs you out so you can login as another account


Control-Shift-Escape pulls up the task manage on Windows and the equivalent on the Mac is the Force Quit menu. You access that with Command-Option-Escape.

You can put a snapshot of screen into your clipboard on Windows with the Print Screen button. Mac offers several hot-keys for screen shots:

  • Shift-Command-3 takes a screen shot of the entire screen
  • Shift-Command-4 takes a screen shot of an area
  • Shift-Command-4-Space takes a screen shot of a specific window

The cursor changes to show you which screen shot type you'll be taking, and the shot it saved to your desktop.

MORE: How to Add a Signature to PDFs with Mac Preview

File and Document Shortcuts

There are many shortcuts you can use to open, edit, manage and close documents and files in Windows and Macintosh.

  • To open a  file in Windows, you type Control-O, and on the Mac you hit Command-O.

  • To open a new document hit Control-N or Command-N on a Mac.

  • To select all the text on a page or document, you hit Control-A or Command-A on a Mac.

  • Copy highlighted text with Control-C or Command-C on a Mac.

  • Cut the highlighted text with Control-X or Command-X on a Mac.

  • Paste the copied or cut text with Control-V or Command-V on a Mac.

  • Paste special text with Control-Alt-V or Control-Command-V

  • Print the current document with Control-P or Command-P on a Mac.

  • Save the file or document with Control-S or Command-S on a Mac.

  • Closing a window is slightly different on a Mac from Windows. On Windows, you close a file window with Alt-F4 and the equivalent on a Mac is Command-W. But that only closes the open window, not the entire app. If you need to close the entire app, you hit Command-Q.

Other Macintosh Shortcuts

You can learn other Mac shortcuts by going to the System Preferences, then Keyboard in the Shortcuts tab. My favorite hot-keys are Command-Q to quit apps and Command-W to close windows.