Ctrl c MacBook air. How to copy and paste on a Mac computer, or from a Mac to other Apple devices

The Best Mac Shortcuts in 2023

Simon Chandler is a former Lifewire writer who covered cryptocurrency, social media, AI and other topics. His work has appeared in Wired, TechCrunch, and The Verge.

In This Article

By learning several common Mac shortcuts, you can save time and even make your Mac feels faster than it already is by using the keyboard rather than the mouse and the menu system in each app. You’ll need to do a little memorizing, but most of that memorizing is usable in more than one app. Seriously, once you’ve learned these keyboard shortcuts, you won’t go back to using the mouse and menu bar.

Apple introduced a feature in macOS called Shortcuts. In that case, Apple is talking about computer automation by making little recipes which contain a series of steps to perform a task. In our case here, we’re talking about keyboard shortcuts. Basically, this article explains certain keyboard presses that perform the same function as going to the menu bar with your mouse.

Mac Keyboard Shortcuts: Writing Papers and Working with Documents

Hunting for particular words in your document or for definitions or misspellings? Here are the Mac commands you need.

Note: some of these shortcuts are different for Google Docs and Microsoft Word, which occasionally have their own specific key combinations (noted below where available).

  • Command F: find specific words in your document
  • Command semi-colon (;): find misspelled words. Note: in Google Docs you should press Command apostrophe (‘). In Word, you press Alt F7 (although the F keys must have been previously enabled as function keys by going to System Preferences Keyboard)
  • Command Control D: display definition of highlighted word. Note: in Google Docs you should press Command Shift Y
  • Command Shift colon (:): open the Spelling and Grammar window. Note: this shortcut isn’t available in Google Docs, while for Word you should press F7

Here are several Mac keyboard shortcuts related to undoing actions and jumping to particular parts of your work:

  • Command Z: undo previous action
  • Command Shift Z: redo the previously undone action
  • Fn Left/RightArrow: jump to beginning/end of document
  • Command Up/Down Arrow: move cursor to beginning/end of document. Note: not available on Microsoft Word
  • Command Left/Right Arrow: move cursor to beginning/end of line

And finally, if you’ve finished a writing session, here are three Apple shortcuts that deal with saving, printing and opening new documents:

  • Command S: save your document (do this often even while writing)
  • Command O: open a document saved to your Mac
  • Command P: print your document

Mac Keyboard Shortcuts: Navigating Web Pages and Apps

Writing papers and reports is one thing, but no list of the best Mac shortcuts would be complete without detailing the commands that can be used to navigate between web pages and apps. These are the kinds of shortcuts that prove useful when conducting the research and reading necessary for writing a paper, or when opening additional apps to help you finish your work.

It should be noted that these shortcuts work with all major browsers (e.g. Chrome, Safari, Firefox).

  • Command T: open a new tab on your browser
  • Command Shift T: reopen the last tab you closed (great if you accidentally close a tab)
  • Command N: open a new window
  • Command W: close the current window
  • Command Shift W: close all Windows of the app you’re using (e.g. if you’re using a web browser, this shortcut will close every window)
  • Command M: minimize the current window

Mac Keyboard Shortcuts: Managing Files and Folders

If you save lots of essays and documents to your Mac, you may want to save them to particular folders, as a way of making them more findable. Here are a batch of Mac shortcuts that relate to folders:

ctrl, macbook, copy, paste
  • Command Shift N: create a new folder when in the Finder app
  • Command Shift D: open the Desktop folder (when in Finder)
  • Command Option L: open Downloads folder (when in Finder)
  • Command Shift O: open Documents folder (when in Finder)
  • Command Shift G: open the Go to Folder window (when in Finder), which lets you find a specific folder by typing its name
  • Command Shift H: open the user’s Home folder (when in Finder)
  • Command Shift F: open All My Files

Mac Keyboard Shortcuts: Handy System Shortcuts

While none of the Mac commands below relate specifically to writing papers or managing your work, they’re all useful time-savers in one way or another:

ctrl, macbook, copy, paste
  • Command Shift Question mark (?): open Help menu of the app you’re using
  • Option Shift Volume Up/Down: adjust the volume in smaller increments
  • Command Shift Delete: empty your Mac’s Trash. Press Option Shift Command Delete to empty the Trash without having to confirm
  • Command Shift 3: take a screenshot of your entire screen. Press Command Shift 4 to take a partial screenshot
  • Command Mousepad click: right-click
  • Command Option Esc: brings up a menu to help you force an app to quit
  • Command Tab: open the app switcher. Keep Command held down and press Tab repeatedly to scroll through apps. Release both buttons to confirm selection
  • Command Space bar: open Spotlight search bar

Macs don’t come equipped with this capability, but a handy app named CheatSheet does. After you download and install CheatSheet, open any app and press and hold the Command key to see a list of all the active shortcuts for that particular app.

To create an app shortcut, select the Apple logo System Preferences Keyboard Shortcuts. In the left panel, select App Shortcut, then select Add and choose an app (or all apps) in the menu. In the pop-up window, name the shortcut and enter the exact keyboard combination for it, then select Add

ctrl, macbook, copy, paste

How to copy and paste on a Mac computer, or from a Mac to other Apple devices

Email icon An envelope. It indicates the ability to send an email.

Email icon A stylized bird with an open mouth, tweeting.

LinkedIn icon The word in.

  • You can copy and paste on Mac by right-clicking, opening the toolbar, or using keyboard shortcuts.
  • Text, images, GIFs, and other file formats can all be copied and pasted on a Mac.
  • Apple devices on the same iCloud account can copy and paste across devices.

Copy and paste is one of the most basic and helpful computer shortcuts. It saves time and ensures that text and images are preserved in their original form; no need to type out text you see on a webpage into an email or document when you can simply copy and paste.

There are several different ways to copy and paste on a Mac, and knowing them all helps you use this function no matter what you’re copying and pasting. You can even copy and paste content across Apple devices.

How to copy and paste on Mac with keyboard shortcuts

Highlight the text you want to copy using your mouse or trackpad.

Hold the Command key, then press the C key to copy the highlighted text.

Click to place the cursor where you want to paste the copied text.

Hold the Command key, then press the V key to paste.

Quick tip: To cut (remove and copy text), highlight the text you want to delete, then press Command X.

How to copy and paste on Mac with a mouse or trackpad

Highlight the text you want to copy using your mouse or trackpad, then right-click. If you’re copying an image, GIF, or another file type, simply hover the cursor over it before clicking.

Quick tip: If you’re using a trackpad instead of a mouse, you can set up a secondary click by changing your trackpad preferences. Or, you can right-click by holding down the Control key while you click on the trackpad.

In the pop-up menu, click Copy.

Click to place the cursor where you want to paste the copied text or file.

Right-click, then select Paste in the pop-up. If you’re simply copying and pasting, the pasted text will maintain the same formatting from its original context.

How to copy and paste on Mac using the toolbar

Highlight the text you want to copy using your mouse or trackpad.

In the toolbar at the very top of your screen, click Edit, then select Copy in the drop-down.

Click to place the cursor where you want to paste the copied text.

In the toolbar at the very top of your screen, click Edit, then select Paste in the drop-down.

How to copy and paste on Mac to match formatting

The methods detailed above will transfer highlighted text as it appears in its original context, i.e. in its original font, size, color, etc. This isn’t always ideal, but there’s an easy workaround to help keep things consistent in the email or document you’re pasting text into.

To change copied text to match the style of its new location, follow the steps below:

Highlight the text you want to copy using your mouse or trackpad.

Copy the text using either of the methods discussed above: right-click, toolbar, or Command C.

Click to place the cursor where you want to paste the copied text.

In the toolbar located at the top of the screen, click Edit, then click Paste without formatting. It can also be phrased as Paste and Match Style or something similar. When pasting without formatting, the copied text is set to match the style of the document or email you’re pasting into.

ctrl, macbook, copy, paste

Quick tip: You can also use a keyboard shortcut to achieve the same result: Command Shift V.

How to copy and paste between Apple devices

If you have an iPhone or iPad registered under the same iCloud account as your Mac, you can easily copy and paste text and photos between devices. Here’s how it’s done:

On your Mac, open System Preferences, and click General.

Toward the bottom of the General page, check the box next to Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices.

On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app, and tap General.

On the General page, select AirPlay Handoff.

Ensure the Handoff feature is on by tapping the switch, turning it from grey to green.

On your mobile device, tap to highlight the text or image you want to copy, then tap Copy.

On your computer, paste the content using any of the methods described above. This method also works for copying content on your computer and pasting it on your mobile device.

Abigail Abesamis Demarest is a contributing writer for Insider based in New York. She loves a good glazed donut and nerdy deep dives into the science of food and how it’s made.

10 incredibly useful Mac keyboard shortcuts you should be using

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How to Copy and Paste on Mac [Quick and Easy]

In this article, we review how to copy and paste on Mac. It’s a quick process. We provide several methods to help you quickly copy and paste on Mac devices, and our article includes screenshots of each step. Note that the functions on Macs and macOS might seem different, but the truth is they’re actually quite similar to those on Windows. Instead of CTRL C, on a Mac keyword, you simply press Command ⌘ C.

Here’s how to copy and paste on MacBook Pros and any other macOS machine. The techniques listed below will work for text, files, and media.

Using a Keyboard to Copy and Paste on a Mac

We already mentioned the keyboard shortcut to use to copy and paste on Mac. Here’s how that differs from other devices. It’s they keyboard! Note that we recently discussed the best magic keyboard alternatives. Here’s what one looks like, as an example.

Windows users may find this daunting, but it’s not too different from any other type of computer keyboard. And best of all, almost everything you encounter on an app will tell you which buttons you need to press to perform a specific action. In this case, it’s how to copy and paste on a Mac.

As you can see in the image above, the Windows and Alt keys have been replaced with Command (⌘, “cmd”) and Option (⌥) on a Mac. Where you would typically see the Alt key on a Windows computer, now you see Command. And, where you would generally see the Windows key, you now have the Option key. That’s all well and good, but you’re probably still asking, “So, how do I copy and paste on a Mac?”

To copy, simply highlight whatever you want to get on your clipboard. Then, it’s time to press the buttons to get them copied.

When you’re on a Windows device, you copy by pressing Control C. When it comes to how to copy on MacBook Pros and Airs (or any Mac), it’s Command ⌘ C. Command ⌘ C is essentially the CTRL C on Mac. And that’s it — that’s how to copy on all the best keyboards for Mac.

Just remember that Command C is the copy shortcut on a Mac. So what about the other thing we want to do? We’re looking at how to copy and paste on Mac, after all. The good news is that pasting is similar to what we just discussed.

Instead of Control V, use Command ⌘ V to paste. Once you have something copied, simply click on whichever app or program you want to paste into and press Command ⌘ V.

What about if you wanted to know the Apple cut and paste shortcut keys? That’s really easy too: Command ⌘ X to cut, then Command ⌘ V to paste. The difference between cut and copy is the automatic removal of whatever you’re copying. Here’s a screenshot of the cut shortcut on a Mac.

And that’s it! Learning how to copy and paste on MacBook machines is truly simple.

Keyboard Shortcut Recap

When you’re learning to copy and paste on an Apple computer, knowing the keyboard shortcuts is pretty much half the battle. The good news is, they’re pretty easy to remember! And if you’re having a hard time remembering, you can always make a quick Post-it note to help you out until you commit the shortcuts to memory.

  • Copy: Command ⌘ C
  • Cut: Command ⌘ X
  • Paste: Command ⌘ V
  • Paste Without Formatting: Option Shift ⌘ V

Bonus: How to Paste on a Mac, but Without Formatting!

When you’re working between different files or Windows, copying and pasting can sometimes feel like a drag. This is especially so when you copy from one file and paste it into your document, only to find out that it brings its formatting along. This is why when you paste text from a website into your document, the text will have a different font, font size, spacing, and more. It’s frustrating to have to go through and reformat everything yourself, and quite frankly, it’s time-consuming too.

Luckily, there’s a way to get around that. We’ve shown you how to paste on your MacBook, but here’s how you can paste anything without formatting. Without formatting means that the text you paste into your document follows your document’s formatting and not the formatting of whatever source it came from.

Copying or cutting the text or media follows the same shortcuts and steps as before. However, when you paste without formatting, here’s the shortcut: Command ⌘ Option ⌥ Shift V. Yes — four buttons. That seems like a lot to remember, but once you get that combination down, it slips right into your muscle memory.

The shortcut above should work in just about any app. However, some apps or websites use a different variation, so if the four-button combo doesn’t work, try Command ⌘ Shift V. This shortcut is what Google Docs uses.

For Microsoft Word, you’re going to have to do things a little bit differently — right-click to bring up your context menu, then select Keep Text Only. If you wish, you can change your settings to make it so this is the default paste mode for you.

How to Copy and Paste on Your Mac Using a Mouse or Trackpad

Sometimes, you can’t or don’t want to use a keyboard, but you might still need to copy and paste something. But do you know how to copy and paste on a Mac without using the keyboard? If you don’t, no worries — here’s how.

There’s an easy way to copy and paste content from your clipboard using just your mouse or trackpad and your Mac’s context menus. Editor’s note: We recently discussed the best mouse for MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. It’s worth a read if you’re in the market to upgrade!

The first thing you need to do is select the content you want to copy. You can click and drag over text using your mouse/trackpad. Then, you can right-click or two-finger tap on your trackpad to bring up the context menu.

On the context menu, simply click on “Copy” to add the text to your clipboard.

If you’re trying to copy an image or file, you can simply right-click or two-finger tap to bring up the context menu right away. Then, follow the same step of clicking “Copy.” To paste, go to your destination document or app and right-click to bring up the context menu. Click on “Paste,” and that should be it!

Mac cut and paste is also possible through the context menu brought up by your right-click (or double-finger tap). Simply click on “cut” in the context menu, and that’s it! As you can see, the context menu will also allow you to paste without formatting, at least in apps where it’s an option.

How to Copy Paste on Mac Computers Using the App Menus

You also have the option of using the top menu bars on whichever app you’re using. Highlight the text you want to copy, then move your cursor up to the top of your Mac’s screen to bring up the top app menu.

Copy width=770 height=352 /

Then, click on “Copy” if you want to copy and “Paste” if you’re going to paste.

You can also cut and paste on your Mac using the top menu bar. Simply click “cut” instead of copy in the menu, as you can see in the screenshot above. To use this method to paste without formatting, simply select “Paste and Match Style” from the top menu bar.

Is it Possible to Copy Multiple Things at Once on a Mac?

If you want to copy multiple things at once, you can always screenshot on a Mac. Windows has a built-in clipboard history that allows you to access items you’ve copied in the past. That means if you just keep copying various items such as snippets of text, images, and the like, you can access everything in your clipboard history and paste them as needed.

Sounds cool, but can you copy and paste on a MacBook in the same way?

If you’re talking about copying several files in Finder and pasting them elsewhere, yes. If you’re talking about several snippets of text along with some media, unfortunately, the answer is no. MacBooks don’t have a clipboard history feature, which means you can only copy and paste one thing at a time. However, there are various clipboard tools and resources that can help you do this — we’ll talk about them in a minute.

One unique thing you’ll find on iOS devices is the Universal Clipboard. That means you can copy on one device and paste on a totally different device. Neat!

Where is the Clipboard on Mac OS?

Although there isn’t a clipboard history feature on your Mac, you can at the very least see your clipboard to know what you have copied. If you’re here because you were asking the question, “where is the clipboard on my Mac?” here’s the answer:

  • Open your Finder. For a quick way to do this, you can use Spotlight by clicking on the magnifying glass on the right-hand side of the top menu bar. You can also bring up Spotlight with the keyboard shortcut Command ⌘ Space bar (then type Finder). Besides learning the copy and paste shortcut on Mac, we also recommend committing this shortcut to memory — it’s endlessly useful!
  • Move your cursor to the top menu bar and click on Edit.
  • Click on Show Clipboard. And that’s it!

Your clipboard, pictured below, will show you what you have recently copied, no matter what it is. It could be text (like below), a screenshot, an image, or even a file. Your clipboard will also show you what you have currently copied.

How to Copy and Paste Between Your Apple Devices

People who switch to Macs are often already users of the Apple ecosystem. If they’re not, they may eventually start changing to iDevices simply because of the many benefits the ecosystem may offer.

One benefit, in particular, is the ability to copy and paste across compatible devices without having to do anything special or install anything new.

If you have a Mac and an iPhone or iPad (or both), you can start copy-pasting across your devices, provided they support the Continuity feature. As long as all of your devices are compatible, you can take advantage of Universal Clipboard and Continuity.

To be compatible, your Mac needs to be running macOS Sierra or higher, and your device needs to be running the latest version of iOS.

What is Continuity?

Apple also has Continuity. This is a set of features added by Apple a few generations ago that makes it possible to effortlessly transfer calls, texts, and work across all your devices and Mac products. Under the Continuity umbrella, you’ll find various features like phone call forwarding, Handoff, text forwarding, and personal hotspot setup.

With Continuity, you can use your Mac to compose an email, edit a contact, browse websites, etc. Then, when you want to move to your iDevice (or other Mac computer), you can pick up right where you left off. Or, you can start on an iDevice and transfer to your Mac — it works both ways.

Continuity will only work on the following:

  • Mac machines that are late 2013 model or newer
  • iPod touch 5th generation or newer
  • iPhone 5 or newer
  • iPad 4th generation or newer
  • iPad Air 2 or newer
  • iPad mini, iPad mini with Retina Display, iPad mini 3 or newer

What is Universal Clipboard?

Falling under the Continuity umbrella, Universal Clipboard uses iCloud to allow you to copy and paste between your Mac and iDevices. Universal Clipboard works by syncing your clipboard to iCloud. We discussed similar benefits in our article on the best apps for MacBook.

Here are a few things to remember when using Universal Clipboard:

  • You can only copy and paste one thing at a time.
  • Anything you copy to your clipboard will expire when two minutes have passed, meaning you will have to work fast.
  • This feature works when copying from any app but works best on native Apple apps.

How to Copy and Paste Between Your iPhone and Your Mac

Here’s how to copy and paste on a MacBook Pro using Continuity and the Universal Clipboard. This is also how to copy and paste on a MacBook Air or any other macOS machine with the Continuity feature.

First, remember that all devices must be synced to the same iCloud account. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi must be enabled. People have stated that mobile data can work, but not too reliably. Once everything is good to go, you can begin.

  • From your iDevice, highlight the text you want to copy and long press to bring up the context menu. Tap “copy.” Alternatively, you may tap on the “share” button on the bottom menu and tap “copy.”
  • Go to your destination document or app on your Mac and paste it!

That’s all you need to do. It works similarly if you want to copy from your Mac and paste it to your iDevice.

Although this technique is helpful, it might not always be the best method if you want to transfer something from one device to another. Sometimes, using Airdrop or syncing through iCloud might be quicker and easier.

Best Clipboard Tools for Your Mac

Although the basic way that macOS handles the clipboard is just fine and will most likely be enough for most people, it may not be enough for you. If you find yourself wanting to have more features on your Mac’s clipboard, you can use one of the best clipboard tools for your Mac to extend its functionality.

Below are two of our top recommendations.

CopyClip – Best Free Clipboard Tool for Macs

Of the best clipboard tools available on Macs, CopyClip is easily the simplest. The best part is, it’s available for you to download and use entirely for free.

Once you download and install CopyClip on your machine, it will run from an icon (a Paperclip) on your top menu bar. Its simple user interface makes navigation super easy for anyone. Clicking on the CopyClip icon will bring up a context menu that has your most recently copied (or cut) content so you can paste it anywhere you like. The items are also labeled with shortcuts (cmd 1, cmd 2, and so on) to make pasting a specific item easier.

CopyClip adds the “bare minimum” features to help you manage your clipboard. In your preferences, you can set how many clippings at a time you want the app to remember. You can also blacklist certain apps from your clipboard so that you won’t accidentally copy or record sensitive info like your passwords.

Unclutter – Best 3-in-1 Productivity App with Clipboard History

We discussed the basics of how to copy and paste on Mac, but if you want a clipboard manager with a little bit of extra oomph in it, try Unclutter. This app is a three-in-one productivity app that offers three main features:

The middle panel, files hub, allows you to search and store files you need quick access to (it also works as temporary storage, so you don’t clutter your desktop). The right panel is your quick notes section which allows you to make, store, and even search for notes.

Finally, the panel on the left is your clipboard history. Clipboard history stores all the items you have copied so you can recall them later on. Any formatting will be removed, so you won’t have to use the paste without formatting shortcut if you paste from here. You can also edit and favorite your clippings. In the app’s preferences, you can set how many items you want Unclutter to remember (a maximum of fifty).

Unclutter does not come for free, as you have to buy it for 19.99 to use it. However, this app’s developers are based in Kyiv, Ukraine, and have said that all revenue from this app will go to helping the Ukrainian people.

Bonus: Alfred – The Ultimate Mac Productivity App

Alfred is the ultimate productivity app for your Mac, allowing you to automate processes, search and find everything you need, and basically supercharge your macOS so you can have everything at your fingertips. It has a clipboard history but also has fun features like Snippets and text expansion to allow you to save your most used text clips.

You can use Alfred for free, but to access the clipboard history and other premium issues, you’ll need to purchase a Powerpack license, starting at £34 for a single-user license.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you copy and paste on a Mac without a mouse?

If you don’t have a mouse and you are using a MacBook, you can use the trackpad to copy and paste. If you have no mouse or trackpad at all, you can follow our guide above on how to copy and paste on a Mac keyboard.

How do you copy and paste on a Mac and an iPhone?

Copying and pasting between your Apple devices is simple, as long as they are compatible with Apple’s Continuity feature. As long as your devices are compatible and are connected to the same Wi-Fi network (or have Bluetooth on) and logged into the same iCloud account, they can access your Universal Clipboard. Then, just copy from one device and paste on the other!

Where is the clipboard on Mac computers?

You can see your Mac’s clipboard by going to your Finder, clicking on Edit, and selecting Show Clipboard. Bringing this window up will display your currently copied item.


Copying and pasting on a Mac is not a complex endeavor. Remember that you can also take advantage of the universal clipboard if you need to get your content from one device to another quickly. However, it might still be a good idea to get comfortable with Airdrop or iCloud to make things even easier!

Related reading:

How the Command and Option Keys Work on a Mac

Mac keyboards have Option and Command keys where standard PC keyboards have Alt and Windows keys.

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Mac keyboards have Option and Command keys where standard PC keyboards have Alt and Windows keys. The keyboards are otherwise pretty similar, but new Mac users will need to understand these different keys.

Apple’s Mac keyboards actually do have a Control (Ctrl) key, but the Control key doesn’t function like the Control key on Windows. Keyboard shortcuts like CtrlC to copy text won’t work.

The Command Key

The Command key doesn’t do anything on its own. It’s a modifier key you can press to issue keyboard shortcuts to applications. For example, while you press CtrlC, CtrlX, and CtrlV to copy, cut, and paste on Windows, you press CommandC, CommandX, and CommandV to do the same on a Mac.

This key has the ⌘ symbol on it. This symbol appears throughout the Mac’s menus to indicate when you can press the Command key along with another key to issue a keyboard shortcut. The Command key originally had an Apple logo on it, but Steve Jobs thought displaying the Apple logo throughout the original Macintosh’s menu would be overusing the logo. A designer chose the ⌘ symbol to replace it. It’s an old symbol used in Nordic countries to indicate places of interest.- in Sweden, it’s the official sign for a tourist attraction.

In summary, on a Mac, you’ll probably be pressing the Command key to issue keyboard shortcuts. The Control (Ctrl) key is also present, but it isn’t used for as many things.

The Option Key

The Option key functions similarly to the AltGr key on many PC keyboards, which explains why it also has Alt printed on it. Holding it and pressing another key allows you to type a special character that doesn’t normally appear on the keyboard. For example, pressing Option4 with the US keyboard layout will produce ¢, the cent sign which normally doesn’t appear on your keyboard. Like other modifier keys, it’s also used as part of some keyboard shortcuts.

This key has the ⌥ symbol on it. This symbol is used throughout the Mac’s menus to indicate when you can press the Option key, the same way the Command key’s symbol is. Unlike for the Command key, we don’t have any history that indicates why this symbol was chosen.

For example, when you click the Apple menu you’ll see the keyboard shortcut assigned to Force Quit. if you’re not used to a Mac’s keyboard, these symbols may look like hieroglyphics.- but they’re really saying you should press OptionCommandEscape to open the dialog where you can force-quit applications. It’s like the Task Manager on Windows.

Modifier Key Symbols

To perform the keyboard shortcuts shown throughout Mac OS X, you’ll need to know the symbols. Aside from ⌘ representing Command and ⌥ representing Option, ^ represents Control while ⇧ represents the Shift key.

If you’d like to change which key does what, you can customize this by clicking the Apple menu, opening System Preferences, selecting the Keyboard icon, and clicking Modifier Keys. You can also set the Caps Lock key to No Action here, effectively disabling the Caps Lock key on your Mac.

Option and Command Keys in Windows

When running Windows on your Mac via Boot Camp, the keyboard mappings are changed so they make more sense in Windows. The Option key functions as Alt and the Command key functions as the Windows key.

This can be a bit confusing when going back and forth between OS X and Windows. For example, you’ll have to press CommandC to copy text in OS X, but you’ll have to press CtrlC to copy text in Windows. These keys are in different places, so it can interfere with your muscle memory. To solve this problem, you can use SharpKeys to remap the Command and Ctrl keys in Windows.

In Mac OS X, you could also use the Modifier keys dialog to swap the functions of the Ctrl and Command keys, if you like. This would make your Mac’s keyboard shortcuts work more like the keyboard shortcuts on a Windows PC.

The Command and Option keys may seem a bit foreign, but everything works fairly similarly on a Mac. The ⌘ and ⌥ symbols are printed on the keyboard so you can more easily understand the keyboard shortcuts shown throughout Mac OS X.

Chris Hoffman is the former Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. Chris has personally written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times-and that’s just here at How-To Geek.

With over a decade of writing experience in the field of technology, Chris has written for a variety of publications including The New York Times, Reader’s Digest, IDG’s PCWorld, Digital Trends, and MakeUseOf. Beyond the web, his work has appeared in the print edition of The New York Times (September 9, 2019) and in PCWorld’s print magazines, specifically in the August 2013 and July 2013 editions, where his story was on the cover. He also wrote the USA’s most-saved article of 2021, according to

Chris was a PCWorld columnist for two years. He founded PCWorld’s World Beyond Windows column, which covered the latest developments in open-source operating systems like Linux and Chrome OS. Beyond the column, he wrote about everything from Windows to tech travel tips.

The news he’s broken has been covered by outlets like the BBC, The Verge, Slate, Gizmodo, Engadget, TechCrunch, Digital Trends, ZDNet, The Next Web, and Techmeme. Instructional tutorials he’s written have been linked to by organizations like The New York Times, Wirecutter, Lifehacker, the BBC, CNET, Ars Technica, and John Gruber’s Daring Fireball. His roundups of new features in Windows 10 updates have been called the most detailed, useful Windows version previews of anyone on the web and covered by prominent Windows journalists like Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley on TWiT’s Windows Weekly. His work has even appeared on the front page of Reddit.

Articles he’s written have been used as source for everything from books like Team Human by Douglas Rushkoff, media theory professor at the City University of New York’s Queens College and CNN contributor, to university textbooks and even late-night TV shows like Comedy Central’s @midnight with Chris Hardwick.

Starting in 2015, Chris attended the Computer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas for five years running. At CES 2018, he broke the news about Kodak’s KashMiner Bitcoin mining scheme with a viral tweet. A wave of negative publicity ensued, with coverage on BuzzFeed News, CNBC, the BBC, and TechCrunch. The company’s project was later reportedly shut down by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In addition to his extensive writing experience, Chris has been interviewed as a technology expert on TV news and radio shows. He gave advice on dark web scans on Miami’s NBC 6, discussed Windows XP’s demise on WGN-TV’s Midday News in Chicago, and shared his CES experiences on WJR-AM’s Guy Gordon Show in Detroit.

Chris also ran MakeUseOf’s email newsletter for two years. Nearly 400,000 subscribers received the newsletter complete with a handwritten tip every day.

Windows Keyboard on a Mac