Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

Enough of the heavy, depressing news for today. Here’s Matt Gemmell, explaining why you should use a lot of keyboard shortcuts:

Controlling your Mac via the keyboard isn’t just faster and more satisfying, it can also remove a lot of pain from your life. Physical pain from contorting your wrists to use trackpads and mice, and tension headaches from nudging a pointer towards tiny targets all day long.

It takes time to learn what’s possible, and to re-train yourself to use the keyboard instead of reaching for the mouse, but the payoff in speed and efficiency is more than worth it.

It’s often said that the Inuit have a hundred words for snow. When you’re building your shelter out of the stuff, it’s pretty important to be able to have specific words for different qualities and kinds.

In a similar (though less-life-dependent) way, you should know, use, and customize the keyboard shortcuts for the apps you use most. I spend most days ⌘-tabbing between Coda and Safari; it’s particularly frustrating when I accidentally strike ⌘-Q instead.1 So, I simply changed my “Quit” shortcut for Safari to ⌘-⌥-Q in System Preferences. I like most other keyboard shortcuts, so I’ve kept them default. Critically, though, I’ve learned them, and use them all the time.

Update: A fantastically nitpicky clarification on the “hundred words for snow” thing, courtesy Chris Clark.


  1. Yes, I know Chrome has a great feature that requires you to press and hold ⌘-Q for a few seconds before it quits. But Chrome’s UI looks like ass, and it eats up way more battery than Safari does. ↩︎