50 of my best quick tips for Apple macOS and iOS
- How to add line breaks when posting on websites
- How to add line breaks in Excel on macOS
- How to move Mac files without dragging
- How to view more Wi-Fi info on macOS
- How to view more audio info on macOS
- How to jump between words on macOS
- How to jump to start or end of a line on macOS
- How to jump to start or end of a document on macOS
- How to insert an emoji on macOS
- How to make the mouse pointer more visible on macOS
- How to take a screenshot on a Mac
- How to take a screenshot on iPhone or iPad
- How to restart, sleep and shut down your Mac with the keyboard
- How to add a shortcut to the top of a Finder window
- How to quickly empty the trash on macOS
- How to check which typefaces are in use on a website on macOS
- How to copy filenames as text on macOS
- How to replace a folder icon with any other image on macOS
- How to maximise two windows on macOS
- How to stop your Mac going to sleep
- How to navigate Mac folders using the hidden window title menu
- How to cycle between windows in a macOS app
- How to force an application to quit on macOS
- How to switch between icon view and list view on macOS
- How to split multi-page PDFs into individual files on macOS
- How to change the sidebar icon size on macOS
- How to add hyperlinks in Word and Apple Mail on macOS
- How to duplicate a file or folder on macOS
- How to do fast completion of domain names on iOS
- How to temporarily turn off notifications on macOS
- How to Close All and Save All documents in Word 2011 on macOS
- How to check image dimensions on macOS
- How to adjust image size in Preview on macOS
- How to optimise your images on macOS
- How to view and set display options in the Finder on macOS
- How to minimise the Dock on macOS
- How to move the Dock to the side of the screen on macOS
- How to jump to any page in a Word document on macOS
- How to change the desktop background on macOS
- How to get system information on macOS
- How to minimise all windows on macOS
- How to switch between fullscreen views on macOS
- How to zoom text in the Notes app on macOS
- How to select text to the start or end of a line on macOS
- How to type the ellipsis character on macOS and iOS
- How to do split view browsing in mobile Safari on iPad
- How to close all tabs in mobile Safari on iOS
- How to re-open closed tabs in mobile Safari on iOS
- How to add a bookmark in mobile Safari on iOS
- How to request a desktop site in mobile Safari on iOS
Get more Mac tips
See #MicroMacTips on Twitter for even more goodies.
1. How to add line breaks when posting on websites
On some sites, pressing
Enter while writing in a text field will submit the text immediately instead of moving the cursor down to the next line. I can never be sure when this is going to happen, so I instead force a line break.
To add a line break, press
Bonus: this combo works on Windows, too.
2. How to add line breaks in Excel on macOS
I often find myself writing text in spreadsheets. It’s annoying that pressing
Enter moves to the next cell even when the cursor is inside the formula bar!
To add a line break in Excel, press
Bonus: on Windows, the combo for a line break in Excel is just
3. How to move Mac files without dragging
Say you have a file in one folder on your Mac and you want to move it to another folder. If dragging with the mouse doesn’t appeal, here’s another way:
- Click the file once to highlight it
- Open the destination folder
If you don’t do step 4, the original file is left untouched – ideal should you change your mind during the process.
If you just want to copy the file to the destination folder rather than move it, press
Cmd-V instead of
Cmd-Alt-V during step 4.
4. How to view more Wi-Fi info on macOS
Want to know more about your Wi-Fi connection?
Hold down the
Alt key while clicking the Wi-Fi icon in the toolbar.
5. How to view more audio info on macOS
Want to know more about your sound inputs and outputs?
Hold down the
Alt key while clicking the volume icon in the toolbar.
6. How to jump between words on macOS
I’m sure we all use the arrow keys to move the cursor around our text documents. But did you know that there’s a quick way to hop between words?
Alt-left arrow to move left by one word.
Alt-right arrow to move right by one word.
7. How to jump to start or end of a line on macOS
Use this combination to jump to the beginning or the end of a line of text.
Cmd-left arrow to move to the start of the line.
Cmd-right arrow to move to the end of the line.
8. How to jump to start or end of a document on macOS
Do you ever need ‘Home’ and ‘End’ keyboard equivalents when editing in Microsoft Word? Try these combinations to jump to the start or end of an entire document:
Fn-Cmd-left arrow to move to the start of the document (‘Home’).
Fn-Cmd-right arrow to move to the end of the document (‘End’).
Bonus tip: when browsing a website, the key combination is simpler. Press
arrow to jump to the top or bottom of the page respectively.
9. How to insert an emoji on macOS
Don’t go hunting for emojis while typing: press
Ctrl-Cmd-Space to bring up the Emoji section of the Characters panel.
Double-click the emoji you want and it will be inserted wherever the cursor is. Simple.
Bonus tip: there’s also an emoji keyboard shortcut for newer versions of Windows:
10. How to make the mouse pointer more visible on macOS
If you use macOS 10.11 (El Capitan) or newer, shake your mouse to temporarily make the pointer grow to several times its normal size.
This tip is useful if you have a large screen and sometimes can’t see the pointer after you wake the machine from sleep.
11. How to take a screenshot on a Mac
Create a snapshot image of your screen by pressing
Cmd-Shift-3. The image file will automatically be saved on your desktop with the date and time.
To capture a smaller part of the screen, press
Cmd-Shift-4 and then click the mouse and drag to indicate the portion of the screen you’d like to capture.
12. How to take a screenshot on iPhone or iPad
Create a snapshot of your iPhone or iPad screen by pressing
Sleep/Wake buttons at the same time.
All images you capture like this are stored in the Photos app.
There’s no Home button on iPhone X, so you need a different combination for that:
13. How to restart, sleep and shut down your Mac with the keyboard
You can set your Mac to restart, sleep or shut down by using the keyboard.
Ctrl-Eject to bring up the panel shown below. Then press one of the following keys:
Escto cancel and close the panel
Enterto shut down
14. How to add a shortcut to the top of a Finder window
The sidebar of each Finder window is full of links to commonly used resources. But did you know you can also add files and folders to the toolbar at the top of each Finder window?
Cmd while dragging a file or folder to the toolbar.
See Secret Mac toolbar shortcut for more information on using this feature.
Update: Thanks to Marc Lucas for pointing out that you no longer have to hold down
Cmd-Alt for this to work –
Cmd alone is now enough.
15. How to quickly empty the trash on macOS
I never like leaving my trash can full for very long, so I press
Cmd-Shift-Delete to empty it. If you see a warning asking you to confirm that you really want to empty the trash, press
16. How to check which typefaces are in use on a website on macOS
If you browse the web with Google Chrome, it’s easy to check which typefaces are in use on any website you visit. Just check out my super-quick video:
Here are the steps to see the fonts in use on any web page:
- Right-click anywhere on a web page and then click Inspect (or just press
- Click Computed.
- Look at the Rendered Fonts section.
Other browsers also show information about the typefaces the site will try to use, but only Chrome currently confirms the typefaces the site is actually using.
Bonus: this tip works on the Windows version of Chrome, too.
17. How to copy filenames as text on macOS
Imagine you want to grab a list of all the files in a folder. You could type them all out, but that’s not much fun. Try this instead:
- Select a group of files in the Finder and press
Cmd-Cto copy them.
Cmd-Vto paste the list of filenames anywhere that accepts text input – in a text file, in an email, etc.
18. How to replace a folder icon with any other image on macOS
There are plenty of times when you might want to replace a default folder icon with something more interesting. Perhaps you have client logo you’d like to add to a project folder. My video shows you how to change a folder icon in under 30 seconds.
Here are the steps to replace a folder icon with an image:
- Double-click the image you want to use as a folder icon.
Cmd-Ato select the image.
Cmd-Cto copy the image.
- Click the folder you want to edit.
Cmd-Ito bring up the info panel.
- Click the folder icon at the top of the info panel.
Cmd-Vto paste the image.
19. How to maximise two windows on macOS
In El Capitan (Mac OS 10.11), click and hold the green maximise button on a window and you’ll be able to enlarge it to take up half of a normal fullscreen view.
You can then click another window to get that to take up the other half.
This is great if you want to have two documents side by side but don’t want to fiddle with manually resizing each.
20. How to stop your Mac going to sleep
If you know your Mac’s in the middle of doing something and you don’t want it to go to sleep automatically, the easiest fix is to install Caffeine.
It’s a free app that lets you force the display to stay awake whenever you want. I’ve lost count of the number of times this has been useful over the years.
21. How to navigate Mac folders using the hidden window title menu
Ctrl-click the title of a window in the Finder and you’ll see all the folders that lead to that window. Click any folder in the list to jump to it quickly. If you’ve got 19 seconds to spare(!), this video will show you how to do it:
The same process works in lots of other apps, e.g. Acrobat, Preview and Word. So, if you have an open document in Word and want to locate the file in the Finder, just
Ctrl-click the title and click the folder below the file name. Easy peasy.
Ctrl-clicking is the same as right-clicking
If your mouse supports it (and most do), performing a right-click is easier and quicker than pressing
Ctrl and making a normal mouse click. Both actions have the same effect.
22. How to cycle between windows in a macOS app
Say you have lots of open Word documents. You can switch between them by pressing
Cmd-`. The same combination works in most apps, so this is a shortcut that’s really worth learning.
If keyboard shortcuts aren’t your thing, look for the Window menu in the toolbar at the top of the screen. Most apps will list all open windows within this menu, so you can click to select the window you want to see.
23. How to force an application to quit on macOS
When you’ve finished using an app, you can usually close it down via the Quit option in the app’s menu. The keyboard shortcut is
But sometimes this method doesn’t work, usually because the app has frozen and is unresponsive. If the usual pointer arrow is replaced by the spinning, multicoloured ‘beach ball of death’ cursor, it could be a sign that the app is stuck.
The beach ball cursor is a common sight, but it shouldn’t hang around for too long. If it does, it’s a sign that something may have gone wrong.
To force an unresponsive app to quit, do the following:
- Click the app you wish to quit
- Click Force Quit
24. How to switch between icon view and list view on macOS
I like to use list view for all my Finder windows, but there are times when I need to see an icon more clearly. This set of keyboard shortcuts lets me switch quickly between the views:
Cmd-1– icon view
Cmd-2– list view
Cmd-3– column view
Cmd-4– cover flow view
(I’m not a fan of column view or cover flow view, but perhaps one or both of them will suit you.)
25. How to split multi-page PDFs into individual files on macOS
This tip comes courtesy of a reader:
Saving multi-page PDFs as individual files
I recently needed to split a file into pages, one file for each page, and found that I couldn’t do this in the free version of Acrobat Reader DC. Then after a bit of research I found that you can do this in Mac Preview by dragging individual pages from the sidebar onto the Desktop or into a Finder window. You can do this for single pages or for a range of pages (not necessarily contiguous).
A great tip there, Karen – thanks for sharing!
26. How to change the sidebar icon size on macOS
If you find that the sidebar icons in the Finder and in Apple Mail are not well sized, you can make them smaller or larger via
System Preferences |
Sidebar icon size.
Here’s the normal Mail sidebar compared with a larger version:
27. How to add hyperlinks in Word and Apple Mail on macOS
You can add hyperlinks to text in Microsoft Word and Apple Mail by selecting the text and pressing
Cmd-K. Enter the web address, press
OK and the text will become a clickable link. This makes emails in particular much easier to read.
28. How to duplicate a file or folder on macOS
Most people know you can copy and paste text with
Cmd-V. That also works with Finder files and folders but there’s an even quicker way: click a file or folder to select it and then press
Cmd-D. This duplicates the item, labelling it as a copy of the original.
29. How to do fast completion of domain names on iOS
When you’re typing a web address on your iPhone or iPad, you can quickly complete the last part of the address (called the top-level domain name) by holding down the full stop key and then selecting the relevant option. This is much quicker than manually typing .co.uk, .com, etc.
30. How to temporarily turn off notifications on macOS
When you’re busy working, the last thing you need is the distraction of onscreen notifications.
You can temporarily turn these off by holding down the
Alt key while clicking the Notification Center icon in the top-right corner (looks like three horizontal lines).
The icon changes from black to grey when the notifications are turned off.
Should you forget to turn notifications back on, the system will automatically re-enable them the following day.
The alternative method is a bit longer:
- Click the Notification Center icon in the top-right corner
- Click the Notifications tab (it might already be selected)
- Scroll up to reveal the Do Not Disturb slider
- Set the slider to On
31. How to Close All and Save All documents in Word 2011 on macOS
Hold down the
Shift key before clicking the File menu in Word for Mac 2011 and you’ll see options to Close All and Save All documents.
For some reason, Microsoft removed this useful feature from Word for Mac 2016. Great job, guys!
32. How to check image dimensions on macOS
To find out the width and height of a photo or other image, click the file and press
Cmd-I. The dimensions are shown in the More info section.
The example below shows this photo is
3003 pixels wide and
2649 pixels high.
The dimensions are relatively big here. Note that larger files take up more disk space on your computer.
33. How to adjust image size in Preview on macOS
To change the dimensions of an image, double-click it to open the file in Preview. Then go to Tools | Adjust Size… to adjust the figures for width and height. Make a backup copy of the file first, as Preview will try to save the changes automatically.
Leave the Scale proportionally box ticked to preserve the aspect ratio of the image.
34. How to optimise your images on macOS
I’ve written a post about optimising images, which focuses on making file sizes smaller so that they would load more quickly when displayed on websites.
But you could do the same even if you never plan on sharing the images on the web. Why? Because doing so means the files will take up less space on your machine, giving you more room for other stuff.
Check out the 2-minute video in this post: Optimising web images
35. How to view and set display options in the Finder on macOS
Cmd-J in any Finder window to view and set display options for the current folder.
36. How to minimise the Dock on macOS
The Dock is the strip of icons usually found at the bottom of the screen. If you need a bit more space, you can hide the Dock when you’re not using it.
Cmd-Alt-D and the Dock will disappear. Move the pointer to the bottom of the screen and it will magically reappear and then disappear again when you move the pointer away. This is how I always have my Dock set up – I think it’s cleaner this way.
37. How to move the Dock to the side of the screen on macOS
If you don’t want the Dock to appear at the bottom of the screen, right-click the line (near the far right of the Dock) that divides the application icons from the document icons, then go to Position on Screen and select an option.
Cool people seem to push the Dock off to the left or right of the screen. Or perhaps they’re just fiddlers who won’t settle for Apple’s default settings. I try not to judge.
38. How to jump to any page in a Word document on macOS
If you’re in Word and know the page you want to go to:
- Type the page number
This feature is part of the Find and Replace dialog box, which stays open after the page jumping happens. If you’re likely to hop around a lot, you might want to leave this panel open.
39. How to change the desktop background on macOS
The System Preferences lets you change the desktop background. A quicker way to get to the relevant screen is simply to right-click the desktop and click Change Desktop Background….
You can then choose a background image or colour.
40. How to get system information on macOS
Find out more about your system by holding down the
Alt key while clicking the Apple menu, then clicking System Information….
The window that opens next will have lots of useful info about your system.
41. How to minimise all windows on macOS
Use the free Show Desktop app to minimise all windows and return to the Finder. Once installed, the app sits in the toolbar at the top of the screen. One click of the blue desktop icon and you can hide all windows. It might not sound like much, but this feature is so, so useful.
Show Desktop has an exclude list, so you can set it never to minimise a particular app or group of apps.
42. How to switch between fullscreen views on macOS
When an app is fullscreen (after pressing the green traffic light button in the top-left corner of the app’s window), you can switch to other ‘spaces’ by pressing
Ctrl and the left or right arrow key.
F3 to see a view of all spaces, and click the one you want at the top of the screen.
If all you see at the top of the screen is ‘Desktop 1’, that’s the only fullscreen space you have available. As an experiment, make your web browser go fullscreen by pressing the green maximise button, then retry this tip.
43. How to zoom text in the Notes app on macOS
It’s common to use
+ to zoom the text on a page, but this shortcut doesn’t work in the Notes app.
Shift and the full stop key together to zoom your text.
To open one note on its own, double-click it in the left-hand panel. It will appear in a separate window, allowing you to ignore or close the main Notes panel. You can always re-open the Notes panel by going to Window | Notes or by pressing
44. How to select text to the start or end of a line on macOS
If you want to highlight text from wherever the text cursor is to the start or end of the line, most people use the old click-and-drag method. That’s too fiddly and slow for me. Try this:
To select text to the start of the line, press
Shift and the left arrow key.
To select text to the end of the line, press
Shift and the right arrow key.
I find this tip most useful when I click into the address bar of a web browser and want to delete a lot of characters from the end of a URL.
45. How to type the ellipsis character on macOS and iOS
A lot of people type three full stops rather than using the proper ellipsis (…) character. Here’s how to insert the right character:
In iOS: tap and hold the full stop key, then tap
In macOS: press the
; keys together
46. How to do split view browsing in mobile Safari on iPad
Tap and hold a link, then tap Open in Split View to divide the Safari screen into two halves.
The result looks like this:
Once in Split View, tap and hold another link to see the Open on Other Side option.
47. How to close all tabs in mobile Safari on iOS
Tap and hold the tab icon, then tap Close X Tabs to close all open tabs. There’s also an option to open a new tab.
If you’re in Split View (see tip 1), tapping and holding the tab button gives you an option to merge all tabs.
48. How to re-open closed tabs in mobile Safari on iOS
Tap and hold the plus icon to see a list of recently closed tabs. Tap a tab to re-open it.
49. How to add a bookmark in mobile Safari on iOS
Tap and hold the page icon, then tap Add Bookmark to save the current page to your bookmarks.
You can also use this menu to add pages to a Reading List – useful as a holding place for content you want to read later but that you might not want to bookmark in the long term.
Tapping the page icon lets you choose to switch between Bookmarks, Reading List and Shared Links (which I never bother with).
50. How to request a desktop site in mobile Safari on iOS
Tap and hold the refresh icon, then tap Request Desktop Site to see the standard desktop version of the site. This is useful if you know that some features of the website are available only on larger screens. (Be prepared for a bit of pinching and zooming to find the feature you’re after.)
Still want more?
See #MicroMacTips on Twitter for even more goodies.
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John Espirian – the relentlessly helpful technical copywriter
I write B2B web content, blogs, user guides and case studies – all aimed at explaining how your products, services and processes work. I also offer LinkedIn profile critiquing and rewriting.
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