Shortcuts and Tips
Things to always keep in mind
For years Apple computers were shipped with mice with only one button. Apple has recently announced the release of a new mouse, with right click functionality built in. However, most people who currently have Macintoshes will still have the old one button mouse. There are two easy ways to get around this 1) you could go out and buy a 2-Button USB mouse (either the new Apple mouse, or any other USB mouse), or 2) you can simply hold down the <control> button (located in the bottom left-hand corner of the keyboard) when you click. Holding the <control> button while clicking will have the same effect as right clicking.
To open a file with something other than the default application for that file, you can <control>-click on that file and select the "Open With" menu. There should be several applications to choose from in this menu. If the application you are looking for is not listed you can select "Other..." and choose any application installed on your computer.
"Get Info" on objects
In the <control>-click menu is an option called "Get Info". This option is tremendously useful since you can change the way that objects look and behave. In the Get Info dialog you can: change the file's icon, lock the file, rename the file, choose to hide the extension, change the program associated with that particular file, examine a preview of that file, change file ownership/permissions, and add comments to the file.
<Option> and <command> when dragging files
The Macintosh OS, by default, assumes what you would like to do with a file or folder when you drag it from one location to another. The OS generally assumes: 1) that you would like to copy a file when moving it from one volume to another, and 2) that you would like to move a file when dragging it to a location on the same volume. You can override these assumptions holding down the <command>, and <Option> keys. Holding down <Option> will copy your selection, and <command> will move the file. There is no need to memorize these keys since you can see the effect of your actions in the bottom right-hand corner of your mouse. There is a symbol located there that will change as you push down keys. If nothing is there you are going to move the file, and if you see a plus sign there you will be copying the file.
<Ctrl> in Windows equals <command> in OS X.
Whatever you can do in Windows by using the <Ctrl> (e.g. Copy (<Ctrl>-c), Paste (<Ctrl>-v)) you will most likely be able to do in the Macintosh OS by replacing the <Ctrl> key with the <command> key (e.g. Copy (<command>-c), Paste (<command>-v)). This is a basic rule of thumb that can be applied to many, but not all, key combination.
Note: Although many of these key combinations are universal for the Macintosh OS, some of them may only work when you are in the Finder.
Copy (<command> - c) - You can pretty much make a copy of anything by pushing this combination of keys, be it text, files, folders, etc. This feature is very useful for repeating text or for copying files to different locations when used. The alternative would be constantly going to the Edit menu and choosing Copy.
Paste (<command> - v) - In the Macintosh OS you can paste anything that you have copied into the system buffer. Use this combination of keys when copying files or text to different locations. The alternative would be to go to the Edit menu and choose Paste.
Select All (<command> - a) - Use this command to select all of the items in your current window. The alternative would be to go to the Edit menu and then select Select All.
Undo/Redo (<command> - z) - Use this command to undo the last action that you performed. The redo portion is enacted after you have already undone something; pressing the key at this point will redo what you have undone. The alternative would be to go to the Edit menu and then select Undo/Redo.
Spotlight Menu (<command> - <Space>) - Use this command to access the Spotlight search menu. There is more information on Spotlight in the previous section. The alternative would be to click on the Spotlight menu.
Spotlight Window (<command> - <Option> - <Space>) - Use this command to access the Spotlight search window. The search window gives you more options than the Spotlight menu when searching for files and folders.
Get Info (<command> - i) - Often you will want to look at properties for certain items in order to change the way that behave, look, etc. This shortcut will allow you to take a look those properties and system settings. The alternative would be to go to the File menu and select Get Info.
Empty Trash (<command> - <Shift> - <Delete>) - This shortcut will empty your computer's Trash Can. Once you do this you will not be able to recover any data that is in the Trash. The alternative would be to go to the Finder Menu and then select Empty Trash.
Unequivocally Empty Trash Can (<command> - <Option> - <Shift> - <Delete>) - Often there are items in the trash that cannot be emptied, such as locked items. If you would like to permanently delete these items, or do not wish to see a warning message you can use this command. There is no menu option for this.
Home (<command> - <Shift> - h) - This will open your account's Home folder. The alternative would be to go to the Go Menu and select Home.
Applications (<command> = <Shift> - a) - This will open the Applications folder on your system disk. The alternative would be to go to the Go menu and select Applications.
Connect to Server (<command> - k) - This will open a dialog box that will let you browse a network and then connect to a server, assuming you have proper credentials. The alternative would be to go to the Go menu and select Connect to Server.
Switch Programs (<command> - <Tab>) - By using this key combination you will be able to easily switch between open programs. The alternative would be to go to the Dock and click on the program that you wish to use.
Switch Windows (<command> - `) - This command is similar to the one above; instead of switching between open programs this combination switches between windows within the current program. Thus, if you were browsing the internet and wanted to switch windows you could do so with this key combination. The alternative would be to minimize the window in the foreground and click on the one in the background. The ` key is located in the upper left-hand corner of the keyboard, just below <Esc>.
Force Quit (<command> - <Option> - <Esc>) - If, at any time, the application you are working on stops responding (it freezes), then you can use this key combination to open up the Force Quit menu. This menu lists all of the programs that are currently running. By highlighting the application that is not responding and then clicking on Force Quit, you can terminate that program and regain functionality of the rest of your computer. You can also select "Force Quit..." from the Apple menu to access the Force Quit window.