I’m a self confessed keyboard-junkie and avoid using the mouse to do most things. Being new to a mac environment, it’s not necessarily clear how to get some of the usual things done. Inspired by the tip that Thomas wrote here, I figured it’d be worth sharing how I’m navigating my way around. Please leave a comment sharing your favourites!
Enable tabbing to all fields in webforms
The mac apparently wants to make it difficult by default to enter in web forms using a keyboard. Turn on the Full keyboard access option to All Controls. Use the dialog following System Preferences => Keyboard & Mouse => Keyboard Shortcuts page.
Equivalent of accelerator or access keys
Most windows applications provide underlined characters so you can access them with the ALT+<letter> key. In this manner, you can access all items without having to click the mouse.
Mac equivalent: The most effective way I’ve found so far is to use the Help (CMD+SHIFT+?) and then type in the label of the menu item. Use the up and down arrows and enter to select. Note that this isn’t guaranteed to work in all applications (like Firefox opening a help page instead)
Fortunately the CTRL-W option that would close applications maps directly to CMD+W although unlike windows, closing the last windows doesn’t automatically shutdown the application. CMD+Q will do the trick instead.
On windows, I’d use the Windows+E button to open up a new version of windows explorer to look at files. There seems to be a few ways to do this. If you have quicksilver installed, open quicksilver and then start typing Finder. If you’re using spotlight, start typing a file you know exists and then hit CMD+R (reveal in finder).
Unlike windows explorer, finder won’t necessarily always start from the root directory. Use the keyboard shortcuts CMD+SHIFT+H to start from home context or CMD+SHIFT+C to start from the computer context (useful if navigating to network drives).
Scrolling through windows of the same application
Use the CMD+` (backquote) to do so. Use CMD+~ (tilde) to go the other way (or CMD+SHIFT+`)
On windows, I would use the WIN+M to minimise all windows. On the mac, you can use F5 if you don’t map those keys to normal functions (such as volume control) or if you turn on Expose, you can use F11 to hide all.