Sunday, May 23, 2010

Converting to Mac

The Windows Users Guide to Getting Started on the Mac.

With the surge in Mac sales year over year for the last several years and over a third of those being Windows users who are switching to the Mac because of the success and ease of use of the iPhone and now the iPad. I thought I would put together a short guide for those starting out in the wonderful world of Macintosh.

The beauty of the Mac is it is very easy to do basic things but it is also very customizable and with BSD Unix under the hood it is also very powerful. So it is a great choice from novice users like Grandma to serious geeks who like to customize everything like myself.

First we will start with a list of Windows keyboard shortcuts and their Mac equivalents. Thanks to for compiling the list.

System Shortcuts




Backwards Delete



Capture Entire Screen to Clipboard

Print Screen

Command + Control + Shift + 3

Capture Frontmost Window

Alt + Print Screen

Command + Shift + 3

Close Current Window

Control + W

Command + W

Copy a File/Folder

Control + drag icon

Option + drag icon

Copy to Clipboard

Control + C

Command + C

Create an alias or shortcut

Right mouse click and select Create Shortcut

Command + L

Cut to Clipboard

Control + X

Command + X

Exit a dialog box without changes




Control + F

Command + F

Force quit a frozen application

Control + Alt + Delete

Command + Option + Escape

Forward Delete


Delete (For Mac notebooks, press the Function (fn) and Delete key)

Get item info or properties

Alt + Enter

Command + I

Logout Current User

Windows + L

Command + Shift + Q

Maximize Window

Control + F10


Minimize Windows

Windows + M

Command + M

New Folder

Control + N

Command + Shift + N

Open File

Control + O

Command + O

Paste Clipboard

Control + V

Command + V


Control + P

Command + P

Quit/Close a program

Alt + F4

Command + Q

Rename a file/folder

Select item + F2

Select item + Enter

Save File

Control + S

Command + S

Select all items

Control + A

Command + A

Select more than one item in a list (non contiguous)

Control + click on each item

Command + click on each item

Send items to Trash/Recycle Bin


Command + Delete

Send/Receive Email

Control + K

Command + K

Shut Down

Windows + U + U

Command + Option + Control + Eject

Switch to Next Window

Control + F6

Command + ~ (tilde)

Switch to Previous Window

Control + Shift + F6

Command + Shift + ~ (tilde)

Toggle through open applications

Alt + Tab

Command + Tab

Type special characters

Alt + key

Option + key





MS Office / iWork




All Caps

Control + Shift + A

Command + Shift + A


Control + B

Command + B

Extend selection word left

Control + Shift + Left

Option + Shift + Left

Extend selection word right

Control + Shift + Right

Option + Shift + Right

Font Menu

Control + D

Command + D (Office); Command + T (iWork)


Control + I

Command + I

Move to the beginning of current or previous word

Control + Left

Option + Left

Move to the end of current or next word

Control + Right

Option + Right

Move to the end of the current line

Control + End

Option + End

New Document, Email, Etc.

Control + N

Command + N


Control + U

Command + U


Internet Explorer / Safari Shortcuts





Alt + Left OR Backspace

Command + Left OR Delete

Find A Word/Phrase on a page

Control + F

Command + F


Alt + Right OR Shift + Backspace

Command + Right OR Shift + Delete

Go To Home Page

Alt + Home

Command + Shift + H

Open a new browser window

Control + N

Command + N

Open New Tab

Control + T

Command + T

Print Page

Control + P

Command + P

Refresh A Web Page

Control + R

Command + R

Switch to Next Tab

Control + Tab

Command + }

Switch to Previous Tab

Control + Shift + Tab

Command + {

Toggle Full Screen



Enlarge Text Size

Control + + (plus)

Command + + (plus)

Reduce Text Size

Control + - (minus)

Command + - (minus)

You can find these shortcuts in the menus of any app you are using to the right of the command.

Also for those just starting out on the Mac Apple has several resources available to ease the transition.

One of the most useful pages of Switch 101 is where they discuss what you did in WIndows and how to do it on the Mac.

For those who don’t have a lot of time or are visual learners Apple also has a video section with short clips ranging from 60 seconds to a few minutes that provide some quick over view demos of OS X and other Apple apps. You can find the Apple video tutorials here I can’t stress enough the value of a Windows to Mac switcher to watch PC to Mac: The Basics.

iTunes U also has a few classes relating to Mac technology and the podcast section of iTunes is loaded with Mac Tips and tricks podcasts and the ever popular Don McAllister Series where Don walks you through a variety of programs and tips to make your Mac more user friendly.

Many cities also have Mac users groups where people of varying ages and technical backgrounds meet to talk about their Macs and to help other Mac users solve problems and learn more about the platform. In Las Vegas we have LVMug and we meet at the College of Southern Nevada West Charleston Campus at 10:00 AM the second saturday of every month. Apple hosts a web page to help you find Mac User Groups in your area

Last but not least all of the Apple Stores across the country offer One on One training sessions. For a fee you get a 1 hour block of time with an Apple Trainer to teach you about the Mac and Apple software. There are a host of training options available for people who are new to the Mac or just want some training on specific software.

Also the help menu can be very useful on the Mac. If you forget where a menu item is located. Say Cut under the edit menu. If you go to help and type the word Cut, the Mac will pull down the edit menu, highlight cut, and place a big blue floating arrow pointing at Cut to show you where it is for the next time you need it. Also Mac help can give you step by step directions for many common tasks.

There is a bit of learning curve when switching from Windows to Mac. In my experience most users adjust well and enjoy being on the Mac and never look back. A few had a hard time adjusting to the differences between the Mac and Windows. Just keep an open mind ask questions of any Mac Geeks out there we are always ready and willing to help out.

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