Tips | Master your Mac with these tricks and shortcuts you didn’t know you needed

Sometimes a mouse or touchpad just isn’t fast enough when you’re approaching deadline. Sometimes you want to be able to quickly switch between fullscreen windows, or easily put two windows side-by-side. There’s a way to do pretty much anything you want to do on a Mac, and a way to do things you didn’t even know you could do.

Here are a bunch of simple shortcuts and tricks that help you master your Mac.

Split screen

One of the greatest things to come out of El Capitan is the ability to easily split your windows onto each half of your screen, a feature introduced by Microsoft in Windows 7.

If you have two different Windows open and want to lock them onto both sides of your screen, click and hold the green expand button in the top left of the window until the window shrinks and one half of your screen is highlighted blue. With your finger held down, drag the window to whichever side you would like it, then select the window you want to take up the other half. Voila, you’ve successfully split windows, which combine into a full screen. Now you can work on your paper while having references up at the same time, or watch YouTube videos while scrolling through social media.


To get out of the split screen, click the green expand button again and that window will go back to its original size, and the other window will stay full screen.

Switching between windows

Sometimes when you have a bunch of windows open, dragging them around all over your screen to switch between them gets pretty annoying. Luckily, there are shortcuts to easily switch between different applications and windows within applications.

⌘+Tab is a quick way to switch between your current application and the application you had open last. If you have more than two applications you want to switch between, hold ⌘ and hit Tab multiple times to cycle through your programs.


⌘+~ (the tilde key above Tab) will switch between windows in your current application, and won’t do anything if you only have one window open in your current application. If you have a couple Google Chrome windows open, for example, hitting ⌘+~ will cycle through them. This also works for programs like Photoshop, where the shortcut will switch between the different canvases you are working on.

On Macbooks, you can also put three fingers on your touchpad and slide up to reveal a shrunken version of every open window, which you can then select from.

In case you need to duck out of an application quickly, for whatever nefarious reason that could be, ⌘+H will minimize your current application unless it is fullscreen.

Mastering your browser tabs

Sometimes if you want to keep your fingers on your keyboard, navigating your tabs can be a little difficult. To open a new tab, hit ⌘+T, and to close your current tab, hit ⌘+W. If you accidentally close a tab or change your mind, you can hit ⌘+Shift+T in Chrome to reopen the last tab you closed.

Clicking between tabs can be a little annoying, especially if a bunch are open and their small size makes them difficult to select. If you want to cycle left through your tabs, use ⌘+Shift+{(left bracket), and ⌘+Shift+} to cycle to the right.


If you want to open a link but make sure it opens in a new tab, you can ⌘+click them, which will work on most links. You can also Shift+click links to open them in a new window.

Quickly navigating Finder

Finder can be a bit of a pain to click around in, and when your Mac is full of folders, files and applications, Spotlight can be a huge help. ⌘+Space will open up Spotlight, which allows you to search for anything in your computer as well as offering suggestions from the Internet.

If you’re looking to quickly navigate to specific, common folders in Finder, use ⌘+Shift+First letter of the folder to jump to whatever common folder you want. ⌘+Shift+H takes you to your home user folder, ⌘+Shift+A takes you to applications, ⌘+Shift+D takes you to desktop and ⌘+Shift+U takes you to utilities.

Easily take screenshots

If you want to take a screenshot on your Mac, you have two different options. ⌘+Shift+3 will take a picture of your entire screen and save it to your desktop, while ⌘+Shift+4 will allow you to select a specific area of your screen to take a picture of. After you hit those keys, click and drag a box around what you want a screenshot of.

You can change the way you draw boxes after hitting ⌘+Shift+4 too. If you Option+click, your box will scale out from the middle. When you draw out your box and then hold Shift and continue dragging left or right, you’ll lock the height dimension; when you drag up or down when holding Shift, it will scale while locking the width dimension. When you draw your but want to move it around, you can hold Space to adjust it to where you want it to be.

You can also grab a picture of a window after hitting ⌘+Shift+4 by tapping Space, which will turn your cursor into a little camera. Click on a window to capture it, or Option-click to capture it without its shadow.

Source | mashable

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