Windows to Mac keystroke mapping - a quick guide
In the nearly three months I've been blogging about switching to Mac I've had countless times that readers have made comments about my posts, recommending specific techniques, tricks or applications that have helped me improve my Mac experience. Yesterday it was n45800's turn as he pointed me in the direction of a list of the default key bindings for OS X. This little gem was exactly what I needed to get past some of the keyboard issues I've been trying to adjust to.
As a touch typist I've really struggled at times to use the Mac keyboard; not necessarily the keyboard itself but the navigation shortcuts while editing text in a text editing surface. Here is a list of the most commonly used keystrokes on Windows XP for text editing and navigation and their Mac OS X equivalents:
|Purpose||Windows||Mac OS X|
|Text Navigation Commands|
|Beginning of current line||Home||Command+Left Arrow|
|End of current line||End||Command+Right Arrow|
|Top of editing area||Ctrl+Home||Command+Up Arrow|
|End of editing area||Ctrl+End||Command+Down Arrow|
|Next word right||Ctrl+Right Arrow||Option+Right Arrow|
|Previous word left||Ctrl+Left Arrow||Option+Left Arrow|
|Beginning of next paragraph||Ctrl+Down Arrow||Option+Down Arrow|
|Beginning of previous paragraph||Ctrl+Up Arrow||Option+Up Arrow|
This isn't an exhaustive list by any means but if you are new to Macs and coming from Windows you should consider bookmarking this post or printing it out as a reference because it will save you lots of time. These key stroke combinations should work for most Cocoa based applications that include a text area to type in, including Safari, Mail, TextEdit, etc.
Notice that the Ctrl key is the only modifier used by Windows while OS X uses Command
, Control and Option modifiers. Now I know why I've been struggling so much.
Want more keys?
Here are a couple of links to pages I've found that have more complete lists:
If you are making your way to Mac from Windows it's a really good idea to immerse yourself into the keyboard shortcuts because they really will save you some time and improve your experience. Make an effort to use them and commit them to your "muscle memory"- it will really help you be more productive.
My modifier keys are all at my thumbs, so I never accidentally hit them. I've got Ctrl, Command, PgUp, PgDn, Enter and Space on the right. On the left, I've got Command, Option, Home, End, Backspace and Delete. (I've also got caps lock re-bound to ctrl.) After you use the keyboard for a while, you wonder why all keyboards don't have such commonly used keys at the thumbs. Why should I be hitting enter with my pinky, or reaching out for backspace? That's just silly.
I know I sound a bit like a shill for Kinesis, but I love these keyboards as much as I love my Macs. They're just a better solution. They're more ergonomic, they're durable, and people are always asking me about my 'crazy' keyboard. If you try it out, you won't be disappointed.
(But that's the last you'll hear from me on this subject. :))
@TLueker: Tom, the sign of a true power user is one that can operate their computer with only 2 fingers ;-)
There are also shortcuts defined for cmd-opt-arrow as well, but I cannot remember what they do as I'm on Windows at work.
Keep in mind that adding the shift key selects text as it goes (as it does on Windows).
My understanding is the Redo standard on a Mac is cmd-shift-z but I could be wrong. Cmd-y is used by M$ to be cross platform. Unix also uses it.
I think you'll find that the key shortcuts work in every situation, unlike windows where you have to resort to a right-click at times.
There are keyboard shortcut lists in the help system, too, and that doesn't require a Net connection.
Absolutely correct about how memorized keyboard shortcuts will make you faster... to the extent it's instant recall.
Bowing to pressure, Microsoft eventually relented and went with the same keystrokes as Apple. But since they had no modifier key like the Command Key, and since the CTRL key bindings were no longer as essential because the age of terminals had somewhat passed, they decided to use the CTRL keys. This always caused issues for people with Terminal emulators, but that was less the case then in the past.
While it may be moot now, Apple's decision to use the Command key and come up with consistent (and persevering) keyboard shortcuts was a breakthrough at the time, and still pays in dividends to this day. I believe Apple "got it right" with the Command key - not the other way around...
(CTRL-I is the keystroke for TAB for example, while Command I and now Control I are use for Italics - you see how the confusion is there?)
I'm sure there is some longer term rationalization for why that's the case but for me it's tough because I cannot hit that key by touch nearly as easily as I can the Command and Control keys. I can hit Command with my thumb very easily and Control is covered well by my left, little finger. Option/Alt on the other hand is most easily covered for me by curling up my left thumb pretty tight and trying to hit it. I'm trying to train myself to use the middle finger on my left hand to cover the Option/Alt key but it's taking longer than I would like.
If I promise to pick up the Kinesis shilling for you, will you tell me which keys on my Ergo Advantage keyboard are volume controls? I haven't been able to find them and it's making me crazy! :v )
I do 2nd his suggestion - I love my Kinesis keyboard and when making my switch from Windows to Mac, I just replaced two keys and reset it to Mac configuration - very easy! David, they do have a 60 day money-back guarantee if you find that you don't like it after you've tried it. ;v) To appreciate it, you really need to use it for a few days.
* Option + green maximizes all windows
* Option + red closes all windows
To add to my problems, I often VNC into some of our servers at work and then I have to go back to the Windows shortcuts (Control-left/right).
I'm loving my recent switch to the Mac. I just wish the keyboard mappings were more consistent.
Jim / firstname.lastname@example.org
For you guys wondering how to fix the option/command key inversions on your Mac, we created a video to show you step by step how to do it: