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January 19, 2012

Bitesize Mac Tutorial – Keyboard Shortcuts #1

by Colin Jones

Today I wanted to share a few Macintosh keyboard shortcuts with you all. I hear your collective sighs, what a boring subject! But bear with me here!

I must admit that I have always struggled to remember or not had the inclination to learn shortcuts up until recently. However I am now hooked as they make you feel you know your machine a little better, enhance the user experience and of course increase your productivity.

Below are some of my favourite Safari shortcuts, which will enable you to use Apple’s browser more effectively.

Are you tired of pointing your mouse towards the website address field and having to click? This shortcut will save you the trouble. Pressing cmd and L will highlight in blue what is currently in the address bar. To get to another site, there is no need to delete the highlighted text, just start typing the url of the new site you want to jump to. Now how tidy is that shortcut? I told you it would be worth your while to stick with me on this!

In Safari, there is a search field, where you can use your search engine of choice, whether that be Google, Yahoo or Bing. Do you want to jump to this field easily, try this nifty little shortcut: press alt, cmd and F and as if my magic, your cursor will appear in the search field.

Want an easy way of checking your browsing history? Then you want to jump onto this sweet shortcut: alt, cmd and 2.

This next one is often overlooked, want to scroll down a webpage? Forget all that pointing and dragging the slider nonsense, simply hold the space-bar and get scrolling in the fast lane. Do you want to scroll back-up the page? No problem, the bad-boy keys you require are shift and the space-bar.

If you are like me, then you will have loads of tabs open in Safari, rest your tired little mouse and flick through them using these keystrokes: shift, cmd and right arrow, to get back to a previous tab, just modify the keystroke by substituting the right arrow with the left.

The last thing I want to share with you today is a tasty little app called Alfred, available in the Mac App Store for free. Do you find it a chore looking for apps on your mac? I know I do! Well save your fingers and let this little fella do the work for you.

Once you have downloaded Alfred, choose a keystroke (I use alt and space), start typing the app you are looking for and watch how Alfred immediately finds it for you – often you only need the first letter of the app’s name. If you want to launch the app, just hit the return button.

I hear you all saying, Spotlight does the same, so why bother with the app with a bowler-hat? Well Alfred is much faster, lightening fast and remembers the applications you frequently launch.

Well that’s the tutorial over people, hope you have enjoyed it and get use out of the shortcuts I have shared with you.

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