Windows User's Notes On Macos

comments edit

Most of this (all of it) was stolen from Ron’s response to me asking a question on slack.

Took me about a month of raging when I first switched to OSX. These tips might help:



Keys Effect
⌘ + L Address bar
⌘ + Q Close app
⌘ + Space Spotlight
⌘ + ⌥ + Space Finder
Ctrl + ↑ Mission Control
⌘ + ↑ / ⌘ + ↓ Move up and down the tree. Doing it on a file opens it.
F11 Show desktop
F12 Show dashboard
Ctrl + F3 Focus Dock
Ctrl + F4 Alt-Tab
^ + ⌘ + 3 Save screenshot to file
Ctrl + ^ + ⌘ + 3 Copy screenshot to clipboard
^ + ⌘ + 4 Save screen region to file
Ctrl + ^ + ⌘ + 4 Copy screen region to clipboard
^ + ⌘ + / Show Help Menu
⌘ + ⌥ + → Next tab (chrome)
⌘ + ⌥ + ← Previous tab (chrome)


Keys Effect
^⌥← Left
^⌥→ Right
^⌥→ Up
^⌥↓ Down
^⌥U Top Left
^⌥I Top Right
^⌥J Bottom left
^⌥K Bottom Right
^⌥D Left Third
^⌥E Left Two Thirds
^⌥F Center Third
^⌥T Right Two Thirds
^⌥G Right Third
^⌥↵ Right Third
^⌥C Center

Trackpad Gestures

Gesture Effect
Scroll left or right with two fingers Swipe between pages
Swipe left or right with 3 fingers Switch desktop
Swipe left from edge Notificatin Center
Swipe up with three fingers Mission Control
Pinch with all the fingers Launchpad
Spread out thumb and three fingers Show Desktop

Finder keyboard

They actually feel more rational to me than Explorer now tbh.

  • Cmd+up/down to move up and down the tree. Doing it on a file opens it. Vs
  • Explorer, you have to switch to Enter to open a file. Hitting enter on a
  • file (or most labels really) initiates a rename vs F2

In general:

  • Cmd+Space is your friend
  • As Kevin mentioned, Cmd instead of Ctrl. I actually prefer this now since I can use my thumbs for Cmd instead of my pinkies for Ctrl (my thumbs are usually out of play for keyboard shortcuts anyway). Think Cmd+A vs Ctrl+A
  • Cut/Paste flow is different. It’s more like Copy/Move and Move is considered a modification to Paste, so copy as usual (CMD+C), then modify Paste into a Move with Option (Option + CMD +V)
  • Option modifies all sorts of things, and they aren’t well documented. Try option clicking everything I guess. E.g. after right clicking on a folder in Finder to show the context menu, you can hold down Option to show additional command variations
  • You can drag files from anywhere into an Open File dialog and the dialog will jump to that path with that file selected. Versus Windows, last time I used it, doing that will just freak it out.
  • If you hate excessive clicking like me (and it sounds like @brewdente also), turn on triple finger dragging, which lets you just do a 3 finger touch to drag windows around. Otherwise, you have to do a full click, hold it down, and drag. It’s oddly hidden in Accessibility now.
  • You can change touch to be equivalent to click, so it’s more akin to a smart phone (I hate clicking)
  • Turn on the speaker and bluetooth icons. All those status icons are hidden by default. You can turn them all on in System Preferences. This lets you quickly switch inputs and outputs.
  • If you Option click the Notification icon in the top right (looks like a modified hamburger icon), it’ll snooze your notifications. Great for when you’re presenting off your mac and you don’t want random calendar invites appearing
  • There are a lot of 3rd party windows managers if the OS ones aren’t sufficient, like Magnet
  • Install this if you want a soothing screen saver:

Windows management

  • Full screen is weird on macOs and defaults to launching an addtl desktop for it. If you’re into multiple desktops, I guess that’s fine, but I never used them under either OS.
  • If you DO like multidesktops, click and drag an app to the top and beyond (like you’re trying to go off screen with it). It’ll prompt you to move the app into a different desktop.
  • Not sure if this was ever added to Windows, but same thing, if you move your mouse to the edge of an app, you get the resize icon. but if you double click instead, it’ll go full screen in that direction only.
  • Hold down the green full screen button on an app to trigger side by side mode. You can also use the drag up technique I mentioned above to trigger the same effect on a different desktop if there’s already a full screen app on it
  • Triple finger swipe down on the touch pad will show all open windows for the current app only
  • Closing all windows is not equivalent to exiting the app. Not sure if MS ever changed that for Windows, but it drove me crazy whenever I accidentally closed my only browser window and it defaulted to exiting out. Cmd+Q to actually exit an app.

Hope that helps.