Stop reaching for the mouse! Use the CheatSheet app to learn new Mac shortcuts and to keep your fingers on the keyboard.
If you're tired of constantly moving your hand from your mouse or trackpad to the keyboard to start or quit an application, pause iTunes playback, or copy and paste text, it is probably time to learn how to use Mac keyboard shortcuts.
For the Mac, there's a free application on the App Store called CheatSheet that gives you an easy way to see a list of keyboard shortcuts for the current application you're working in, including the Finder.
How it works
CheatSheet is very easy to use. Just hold that Command line -Key for a few seconds and a list of all keyboard shortcuts for the current application is displayed.
CheatSheet organizes keyboard shortcuts according to the contents of the main menu of each application.
Of course, you probably can't memorize every keyboard shortcut, but every time you commit to using the keyboard instead of going to the same item in the menu bar, you'll be sticking that keyboard shortcut into memory.
And this is where CheatSheet comes in. Yes, CheatSheet is a bit of a hassle, but the more you use it, the less you'll need.
Download CheatSheet (free) from the developer's website.
Extract the downloaded file. It only contains that CheatSheet.app File.
Open the file. It offers to move itself to the Applications folder when you run it for the first time.
You will need to enable keyboard access in System Preferences the first time you run CheatSheet. Go to System Settings> Security & Privacy> Privacy in order to do this.
CheatSheet also adds itself to your login items, which means it will start automatically whenever you turn on your Mac.
After installing CheatSheet, just hold the Command line Key while using another app to display a popup with all available keyboard shortcuts.
Add CheatSheet as desktop background
If you want to master the keyboard shortcuts for a specific application that you use frequently, you can make the CheatSheet list for that application a temporary part of your desktop background.
To do this, you can use your Mac's built-in screenshot function to take a timed screenshot for your selected application.
After you've taken the screenshot, you can open it in the preview application and use the annotation tool to highlight several of the keyboard shortcuts you want to learn.
Save the annotated screenshot and use it on your Mac desktop background, where you can regularly check out the keyboard shortcuts you want to master.
Adjust the CheatSheet settings
CheatSheet is a very compact app with one main function. The only setting it offers is the delay time. This controls how long it takes for the sheet to appear after holding down the Cmd key. You can access this setting and some other options through the the settings Icon in the lower right corner of the CheatSheet window.
Since CheatSheet uses the command key, you can tell that it is interrupting other activity. For example, if you use Cmd + Tab to switch between applications, CheatSheet may appear while you are doing this.
Setting the delay to a longer period of time can potentially fix it if it gets in your way.
Use CheatSheet to learn shortcuts and reduce mouse usage
Apps usually provide keyboard shortcuts for their most useful menu items. However, to discover these shortcuts you need to open the menu. At this point, you are already using the mouse, which defeats the purpose of using a keyboard shortcut in the first place.
CheatSheet helps you keep your fingers on the keyboard and still discover key combinations. In addition, you can view all of an app's shortcuts at once without having to poke around individual menus.
If you find that using keyboard shortcuts is a faster way to navigate your Mac, then you should check out other keyboard-related apps like Keyboard Maestro and Shortcuts for creating keyboard shortcuts to open applications, files, AppleScripts, and more.
The Finder Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet for Mac
Our Finder keyboard shortcuts cheat sheet will help you change the way you manage files, folders, and apps on your Mac desktop.
About the author
(565 published articles)
Bakari is a freelance writer and photographer. He's a longtime Mac user, jazz music fan, and family man.
From Bakari Chavanu
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