Mac All In One For Dummies

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Macs come in all shapes and sizes, but you turn all of them on and off, and do things with the keyboard and mouse or trackpad the same way. This Cheat Sheet of timesaving keyboard shortcuts, mouse and trackpad actions, Mac-related websites, and definitions can help you get the most from your Mac right away.

Using Mac Special Feature Keys

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Newer Macs feature keyboards with a row of dedicated special feature keys marked with descriptive icons that also double as function (Fn) keys. For instance, the fifth key from the left is the one you press to open Launchpad, which displays all the applications on your Mac. Some special feature keys evoke a second special feature when you hold down the Fn key and then press the special feature key.

From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences and then click the Keyboard icon to find all the default key command shortcuts (under the Shortcuts tab), turn on those you want to use, and then edit the key combinations to something easier for you.

Here are five Mac special feature keys you can press to help you work with and switch between multiple Mac application windows you’re running at the same time.

Mission Control (F3)Displays Mission Control, which lets you switch between
multiple desktops.
Command+TabDisplays icons of all running applications.
Fn+Volume Down (F11)Hides all windows to show the Desktop.
Launchpad (F4)Displays Launchpad and all the applications on your Mac.
Fn+Volume Up (F12)Displays Dashboard.

Common Mac Application Shortcut Keystrokes

Mac All In One For Dummies

No matter what application you’re running on your Mac, you can usually speed up using an application by performing a Mac keyboard shortcut rather than use the mouse or trackpad to point to a menu and select a command. The following table lists the most common Mac keyboard shortcuts that can speed up working with 99.99999 percent of all Mac applications.

Command+NCreate a new file.
Command+OOpen an existing file.
Command+SSave an active file.
Command+FFind text in an active file.
Command+ASelect all items in a window.
Command+CCopy the selected item.
Command+XCut the selected item.
Command+VPaste the most recently cut or copied item.
Command+ZUndo the last command.
Command+WClose the active window.
EscCancel dialogs and closes pull-down menus.
Command+QQuit an application.

Mac Shortcuts for International Letters and Symbols

When writing, you may need to use a symbol or a letter with a diacritical mark, such as an accent (à) or a tilde (ñ). Holding down any of the letters in the following table opens a pop-up window with the variations of that letter and a number under each one. Type the number, and the variation appears in your document. For example, hold down A and then press 1 to type à. It works for uppercase letters as well.

These variations appear when you use the U.S. English keyboard. If you add a keyboard for another language, you may see more or different variations. To add a keyboard, go to the Apple menu and choose System Preferences; then click the Keyboard icon. Click the Input Source tab and then click the add button (+) at the bottom left. Select the language you want, and then click the Add button. Select the Show Input Menu in Menu Bar check box. When you’re working in a document and want to switch to a different language, click the Input menu icon in the status bar and select the language you want to use.

aà á â ä æ ã å �?
cç ć �?
eè é ê ë ė ē ę î ï í î ì
iî ï í î ì
nñ ń
oô ö ò ó œ ø ō õ
sß ś š
uû ü ù ú ū
zž ź ż

Some common symbols are quickly accessed with the following key combinations:


To see all the key combinations, go to the Apple menu and choose System Preferences and then Keyboard. Click the Input Sources tab, and then select the Show Input Menu in Menu Bar check box. Close System Preferences. An icon for the Input Menu appears on the status bar at the top of your screen. Click the Input Menu icon and choose Show Keyboard Viewer. A graphic representation of the keyboard appears on your screen. Do one of the following three actions: Hold Shift, hold Option, or hold Shift+Option. The keyboard changes to show the letter or symbol that will be typed when you now hold Shift, Option, or Shift+Option and type a letter or number.

There are five gold option keys. If you hold down the Option key, press one of the gold keys, release the Option key, and then press another letter, the accent associated with the gold key appears on the letter you typed. For example, press Option+E, and then type a. The result is á.


Mac Mouse and Trackpad Actions


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Using your Mac’s mouse or trackpad can be a real drag — in a good way! That’s because drag (as well as click and Control-click) describes how you use your Mac’s mouse and trackpad to do things with windows, icons, and other items on the screen. The following table lists Mac mouse and trackpad action terms and what they mean.

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ActionHow to Do ItPurpose
ClickPress the mouse button down and release. Press the trackpad bar
or the lower part of the trackpad if there is no trackpad bar. On a
Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad, tap anywhere on the surface.
Select an item or menu command.
Double-clickPress the mouse or trackpad button down twice in rapid
succession. Tap twice on the surface of a Magic Mouse or Magic
Select and open an item. Also used in word processors to select
an entire word.
Triple-clickPress the mouse or trackpad button down three times in rapid
succession. Tap three times on the surface of a Magic Mouse or
Magic Trackpad.
Used in many word processors to select an entire
Click and dragPoint to an item, hold down the mouse or trackpad button, and
move the mouse or drag your finger across the trackpad, and then
release the mouse or trackpad button.
To move an item from one location to another or draw a line in
a graphics application. To select multiple items, click and drag
around them; selected items are highlighted.
Control-click (right-click, if your mouse has two or more
Hold down the Control key, press the mouse or trackpad button,
and release. With a Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad, hold down the
Control key and tap the surface.
Point to an item and view a shortcut menu of commands for
manipulating that item.
ScrollRoll the wheel or ball near the front and middle of the mouse.
On a Magic Mouse, move one finger up and down or left and right on
the surface. On a trackpad, move two fingers up and down or left
and right on the surface.
To scroll a window up/down or right/left.

MacBook owners have a number of tools that come in very handy for using their laptops efficiently and for maintaining the operating system to keep it running in top shape. These MacBook keyboard shortcuts for the Finder, a maintenance checklist, and a “translation” of the modifier keys will speed you on your way to becoming a MacBook power user.

Mac OS X Finder Keyboard Shortcuts

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The Mac OS X Lion Finder helps you access and organize most of the important Mac OS X functions while you work. Use Finder keyboard shortcuts to display windows, copy and move files, and launch applications. These keyboard shortcuts help you get things done more efficiently.

Command+ASelects all items in the active window (icon view), all items
in the column (column view), or all items in the list (cover flow
Command+CCopies selected items
Command+DDuplicates the selected item(s)
Command+EEjects the selected volume
Command+FDisplays the Find dialog
Command+HHides All Finder windows
Command+IShows info for selected item or items
Command+JShows the view options for the active window
Command+KDisplays the Connect to Server dialog
Command+LCreates an alias for the selected item
Command+MMinimizes the active window
Command+NOpens a new Finder window
Command+OOpens (or launches) the selected item
Command+RShows the original for selected alias
Command+TAdds the selected item to the Sidebar
Command+VPastes items from the Clipboard
Command+WCloses the active window
Command+XCuts the selected items
Command+ZUndoes the last action (if possible)
Command+,Displays Finder Preferences
Command+1Shows the active window in icon mode
Command+2Shows the active window in list mode
Command+3Shows the active window in column mode
Command+4Shows the active window in cover flow mode
Command+[Moves back to the previous Finder location
Command+]Moves forward to the next Finder location
Command+DelMoves selected items to the Trash
Command+up-arrowShow enclosing folder
Command+`Cycles through windows
Command+?Displays the Mac OS X Help Viewer
Command+Shift+ATakes you to your Applications folder
Command+Shift+CTakes you to the top-level Computer location
Command+Shift+GTakes you to a folder that you specify
Command+Shift+HTakes you to your Home folder
Command+Shift+IConnects you to your iDisk
Command+Shift+QLogs you out
Command+Shift+NCreates a new untitled folder in the active window
Command+Shift+UTakes you to your Utilities folder
Command+Shift+DelDeletes the contents of the Trash
Command+Option+HHides all windows except the Finder’s window(s)
Command+Option+NCreates a new Smart Folder
Command+Option+THides the Finder window toolbar
Command+Option+SpaceOpens the Spotlight window
Command+SpaceOpens the Spotlight menu
F8Choose another desktop using Spaces
Control+up-arrow (or F3, depending on your keyboard model)Displays the Mission Control screen
Control+down-arrow (or Control+F3, depending on your keyboard
Shows all open windows for the current application using
Mission Control
F11 (or Command+F3, depending on your keyboard model)Hides all windows to display the Desktop using Mission
F12 (or F4, depending on your keyboard model)Displays your Dashboard widgets
SpaceQuick Look

Strange-Looking Keys on the MacBook Keyboard

Mac All-in-one For Dummies


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New to the Macintosh world? Some keys on the MacBook keyboard may be mystifying. Whether you’re using Snow Leopard or an older version of Mac OS X, recognizing and using modifier keys will make your job easier. Here’s a look at the modifier keys on both MacBook and desktop keyboards:

Mac OS X Maintenance Checklist

Maintenance is vital if you want to keep Mac OS X Lion in tip-top condition for as long as possible. Maintaining your MacBook keeps it running fast and smooth. Basic housekeeping includes regular back-ups plus some other, less familiar, tasks. Check this table often, or print it and keep a copy near your laptop!

Mac Maintenance TaskSchedule
Check for updates with Software UpdateOnce a day (automatic setting)
Back up with Time MachineAutomatic
Defragment (Micromat TechTool Pro/Prosoft Engineering Drive
Genius 3)
Once a week
Repair Disk Permissions (Disk Utility)Once a week
Delete Unnecessary User Accounts (System Preferences)As necessary
Scan for viruses (Intego VirusBarrier X6, ClamXav 2)Automatic
Check all volumes (Disk Utility/ Micromat TechTool Pro)Once a week
Check for the latest drivers for your hardwareOnce a month (or after installing new hardware)
Delete temporary Internet cache files (Prosoft Engineering
Drive Genius 3)
Once a month