A list of lesser-known OS X keyboard shortcuts

10/18/2013 - Marco (updated on 9/18/2020)

This article originally appeared on earthli News and has been cross-posted here.

The post Please share your hidden OS X features or tips and tricks 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

  • (-cmd) + (-shift) + 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.
  • (-cmd) + R reveals the currently selected item in a new Finder window.
  • (-cmd) + (-opt) + L selects your ~/Downloads folder.
  • (-cmd) + (-shift) + > 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 (-cmd) + tab to cycle through open applications.
  • Press (-cmd) + ~ (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 (-cmd) + (-opt) + esc to show a dialog that lets you force unresponsive applications to quit (you can even relaunch the Finder)
  • Hold down (-cmd) while clicking a dock icon to reveal that application in the Finder

Managing your Mac

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


  • (-cmd) + (-shift) + 4 lets you select an area to highlight and saves the screenshot to the desktop
  • (-cmd) + (-shift) + 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 (-shift) while adjusting the volume to mute the volume-changing sound (useful when adjusting volume during a call).
  • Hold down (-shift) + (-opt) while adjusting the volume to adjust in quarter-increments.
  • Hold down (-opt) 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 (-shift) + (-opt) 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
  • Hold down (-opt) 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 (-opt) while clicking the "notifications" icon to toggle it on/off

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