Use Two Obscure Keyboard Shortcuts for Big Results [OS X Tips]

Use Two Obscure Keyboard Shortcuts for Big Results [OS X Tips]

Can’t find that file you just downloaded?
Keyboard shortcuts are for power users, right? Well, not ONLY them. Even relative newcomers to OS X tend to know about Command-C (Copy), Command-X (Cut), and Command-V (Paste). They might even know how to open the Applications Folder (Command-Shift-A) or the Utilities Folder (Command-Shift-U). But This one was new, even to me, a relatively seasoned user of Mac OS X. Popping open the Downloads folder from the Finder is simple, with a Command-Option-L. Be sure to thank us later. (Update: Or thank the ever vigilant folks in the comments for their good catch – we’re nothing if not responsive.)

Need to move a file, not just copy it?
Drag and drop is a fantastic way to move files around; with the Option key held down, you can copy it to a new location. With the Command-C and Command-V keyboard shortcuts, you can copy and paste files to your heart’s content, replicating that mouse action. But what if you just want to move afile from one place to the other, without leaving the original copy in the old folder? Add the option into the mix, and you’ve got it covered. Command-C like before, copying the file, but then use Option-Command-V to paste it. The file will move to the new location, leaving no trace. Now that’s a power user tip!

  • Tim Meesseman

    Open Application is Command-Shift-A and Open Utilities is Command-Shift-U. Might want to correct that.

  • Joe Streno

    Sorry … but Command-A has always been Select All. You may have meant to write Shift-Command-A. As is the same case with opening the Utilities folder is Shift-Command-U not Command-U. Just look at the Go menu in the Finder and you can see all the keyboard shortcuts for Finder folders. 

  • Jono Thorne

    Cool, would be nice to have a list of more complicated ones us experienced users may have missed though.

  • Dan Knight

    Do you actually test this before you post? Cmd-A is Select All. Cmd-Opt-L doesn’t do a thing in OS X 10.4, 10.5, or 10.6.

  • Hugh Williamson

    Cmd-Opt-L does however work in Lion

  • angus Shangus

    +1

    Open Application is Command-Shift-A and Open Utilities is Command-Shift-U. Might want to correct that.

  • Ron Clement DeLelles

    Cmd-Opt-L works in Lion when in the FINDER menu…(worth noting for newbies)

  • Frank Lowney

    Cmd-Opt-L in Safari opens the Safari downloads sheet.  In the Finder, it opens the Downloads folder in the user’s folder (~/Downloads) but NOT a different downloads folder defined in Safari prefs.  I’d call this a bug in the UI.

  • Starman_Andromeda

    I know that from the early days of Windows the PC fanboi or converts’ rap against the Mac OS was not having the easy ability to copy and paste files in the Finder.  But I never understood it–and still don’t!  :-)   It’s so much easier–and less risky–to use the mouse and click and drag the file (or folder) from one location to another!

    Like the other various keyboard shortcuts–I’ve been using the Mac since 1985 and didn’t know about them… not sure I’ll ever use them, but I might!  The flexibility and options (mouse or keyboard can be good).  As to the download shortcut, I always download to the desktop, so that it’ll catch my attention and be easier to get to.

    Thanks for the article!

  • Michael Richards

    The last tip about moving folders and documents. Since Mac OS 6 (and possibly earlier) if you COMMAND drag a folder/document it will move the item(s) – equivalent of a Cut/Paste.

  • carlbutler

    Command-Option-L does not open my downloads folder.. OSX 10.6.8Command-Option-D hides/unhides my Dock

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Culture Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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