Mac keyboard shortcut symbols, explained

Updated June 10th, 2019.

Or, “Secret decoder ring for Mac keyboard shortcuts.”

Many Mac app menu items have keyboard shortcuts, and most of them are listed to the right of the menu item itself, as seen below.

keyboard shortcuts example
Representative menu with keyboard shortcuts showing along right-hand side

Keyboard shortcuts are always listed along the right-hand side of the menus, if they’re listed at all. Some shortcuts you just have to learn– they aren’t shown in a menu at all.

Some of those symbols aren’t so easy to decipher. That’s why I’m giving you this cheat-sheet, explaining what the codes mean. Armed with this cheat-sheet you can figure out that Close All Windows in the menu above is Option-Shift-Command-W. For example.

Keyboard shortcut decoder ring
Keyboard shortcut symbols– Command key, Control key, Option key, Shift key, Caps Lock, and Function key

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