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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Macintosh Keyboard Shortcut you should know about


How to move from open app to open app from the keyboard.

On a Mac you use Command + Tab to move from open app to open app. Similarly on a Windows machine, you would use Alt + Tab. 

In either case, those keys bring up a window in the center of your screen displaying all the active applications. In the case of Wiondows, it also displays the windows for each active application. The Mac, though, only shows open applications.


Window showing open applications


A translucent gray square with a white border marks the foreground application. In the picture above, the Finder is the foreground app, whose name appears at the top left-hand corner of the menu bar. 


How to access the Menu Bar and the Dock with only the keyboard

To access the Menu Bar from the keyboard, press the Control +F2. To access the Dock, press Control + F3. These shorts cuts are set in the Keyboard system preference pane.


Keyboard shortcuts pref pane


I must confess I had trouble getting the Control +F2 shortcut to work at times. I solved the problem by first pressing Control + F3 to access the Dock, then pressing Control + F2 to switch focus to the menu bar. 


Keyboard Shortcuts to Access folder set up by OS X within the User Folder

First, a bit of explanation. OS X derives from UNIX. Borrowing from its predecessor, OS X sets up a Home folder for each user on a machine. OS X, though, names the this folder the User folder instead of the Home folder. 


Anyway, to the shortcuts. Bring the Finder to the foreground so that its name displays in the top left-hand corner of the Menu Bar. Now use these keyboard shortcuts


Command+Shift+H  brings up the Home folder, which is called the User directory. 

Command+Shfit+O brings up the Documents folder

Command+Shift+A brings up the Applications folder. Use your up and down arrow keys within this directory to pick an app. To start it up, though, DON”T PRESS RETURN. That just tells the Finder you want to rename it. Instead, start the App by pressing Command+O. 

Command+Option+L brings up the Downloads folder. Use the up and down arrow keys to select a downloaded file. If you want to install it, hit Command+O.

Here’s the Finder’s own list of shortcut keys.


Finder keyboard shortcuts 1 2 2013

Keyboard Shortcuts for taking a Screenshot

Command+Shift+3 (not F3, just the number 3) for a full-screen screenshot. 

Command+Shift+4 changes your cursor into a crosshair. Place the crosshairs in the upper left-hand area of the rectangle you want to select and press the left mouse button. Now drag down and to the right. When you reach the end point, release the mouse button. You’ll hear a shutter click.

OS X has the default of saving in PNG format and the file ends up on your desktop. 


How to keep screenshots from overrunning your desktop

You can handle this problem of too many screenshot files in several ways.


First, you can avoid having to save a file every time by simply adding the Control key to the above shortcuts. Command+Shift+Control+3  saves a full-screen image to your Clipboard. Now you can paste the file into Preview or a 3rd party image editor, such as the oepn-source Paintbrush. Preview even has a command for this situation. Press Command+ N  and Preview makes a new picture from the Clipboard’s contents. 

The new from clipboard command 1 2 2013

To make the above picture, for example, I set up Preview to display the menu, then took a full-screen screenshot using Command+Shift+Control+3.

I then used Command + N in Preview to display the screenshot.

Next, I cut out just the portion of the picture that I wanted to show to you in Preview. This automatically put the image on the Clipboard. 

I then used Command + N again to display the image. Next, I used the Annotation tools within Preview to put a red rectangle around the command I wanted toy highlight.

Second, you can tell OS X to change the location. Apple wants you to use the default write command, which requires use of the Terminal. To avoid using the Terminal, use one of many utility programs offering a graphic interface to change the screenshot saving location and the file format type. 


Tinkertool does it through its General menu of options.


Tinkertool screenshot


 Just click on the double-headed arrows for Screenshot file format and Target folder to change these parameters. 


Onyx and Cocktail will also do this for you.


Finally, the trick to saving a Web clipping into a simple database of clippings.


If you just came to the Mac, you may not realize that Apple bundles a Stickies app with it. Stickies has been part of the Macintosh since the Classic OS. 


Well, the keyboard shortcut for getting highlight text from a Web browser or other text & images into a Stickie is Command+Shift+Y


Web clipping displayed in Stickies


Lots of other Mac programs offer clipping services with more features. You can start, though, with Stickies.



Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog


1 comment:

  1. These are indeed great keyboard shortcuts. Those who are in data entry services will surely find this useful. Thanks for posting.




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