Working with Key Commands on a Mac
A couple of weeks ago, before the 13" MacBook Pro came into my hands, I had a look at some of the keystrokes that we can use when starting up a Mac. While we may pick up our knowledge of these gradually, long-time users of Macs use keystrokes in most of their day to day operations because this is a far more efficient way to work: more than adding icons to the toolbar.
Some professional users, particularly if they are working in a specific application, will depend on keystrokes to such an extent that they will even buy keyboards that are adapted for the application. These applications include Final Cut, Logic Pro and Aperture. There is also a keyboard for those who work in Adobe applications, as well as several others. Examples of such keyboards (and some skins to place over the keys) may be seen at the web site of Logickeyboard.
The specialists need such keyboards as they have tasks which may be repeated scores of times during any day in the processes they carry out; but ordinary users can also benefit from the use of such key combinations.
The most significant keys used in combinations are the Command (⌘), Option (⌥), Control (⌃), Shift (⇧) and the Esc (⎋) keys, with the occasional use of the FN key on certain keyboards.
A list of the commands using these symbols is given in the System Preferences, Keyboard Shortcuts section. The list shows the symbols, but these are not always easy to understand for early Mac users (and some who have been using the platform for a while, too). On the keyboard only the Command key is marked with its symbol, ⌘ or Saint John's Arms. Several sites list the symbols and I made use of the one at MacOSXHints.
Some of the common key combinations I use are Command (⌘) + H to Hide an application, Command (⌘) + W to close a window, Command (⌘) + F to Find, Command (⌘) + S to save, as well as Shift (⇧) + Command (⌘) + S for "Save As": particularly useful when working with images and text files that are going to end up in different destinations, such as the Bangkok Post and my own website. There are of course, hundreds more.
Although I keep that document on my hard disk, I often make reference to the System Preferences and I also have a widget, called XCuts, that lists all commands. That may be downloaded from Apple's Widgets pages.
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