Shortcuts Week Day 1: Learn the Symbols

And so we begin.

Today will be easy. Some light “vocabulary” and a few shortcuts to learn.

Learn These Symbols

If you are going to learn new shortcuts—whether from the applications in which you’re using them or from mind-blowing blogs like this one—you must learn the modifier key symbols.

Diagram of modifier keys

It would be easier if they were printed on your actual keyboard, but for whatever reason, they’re not.

Every post in this series will include a modifier key legend, so don’t worry if you don’t memorize them all now.

⌘: Command (aka cmnd)

How to Remember: It’s next to your spacebar and is the only modifier key with it’s symbol actually printed on it.

⌥: Option (aka alt)

How To Remember: It’s a picture of someone choosing the bottom option over the top. See how someone drew a line from a dash on the left to the dash on the bottom?

⌃: Control (aka ctrl)

How to Remember: Think of the control symbol as a sitting above whatever key its next too, looming its control over the lesser character.

⇧: Shift

How to Remember: If you need to move to the UPper case, you need an UP arrow.

Learn These 4 Shortcuts

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single keyboard shortcut. You’re too busy for that, so this journey will begin with four shortcuts.

  • Save: ⌘ + S
  • Close Window: ⌘ + W
  • Copy: ⌘ + C
  • Paste: ⌘ + V

Many people are already at Level One, but I have spent a lot of time sitting next to people coaching them on coding or writing a paper and came to understand that just as many if not more don’t use any shortcuts at all.

By learning just these four beginner shortcuts you will begin your journey towards becoming a truly empowered user.


You got off easy today. But tomorrow you’re going to learn to stop swimming through (or drowning in) open windows and start taking control. That’s in Day 2: Switching Apps, Cycling Windows, Hiding Apps

<< Welcome Post | Day 2: Switching Apps, Cycling Windows, Hiding Apps >>