Monday, June 8, 2009

that uber versatile command key

That command key is something else on a Mac, isn't it? Every day I'm learning new places he likes to be in command. It's the one that looks like this:

Yesterday I learned [ delete]. It's the move that allows you to delete without dragging to the trash. What a time saver. And wrist saver.

Today I learned that you can browse through folders and files in Finder with the help of our friend the key. To browse within a folder you use the arrow keys. To open a folder you press [ down] and to go back up to the parent folder you press [ up].

Of course everyone knows that the command key is for cut, copy, paste, and undo, just like on a PC.

OperationPC move
Mac move
CutCtrl+X X
CopyCtrl+C C
PasteCtrl+V V
UndoCtrl+C Z

I was very pleased when I first discovered this coincidence on Jill's Mac a few years ago. I'm not sure who invented the system first. But the letters work perfectly, making one hand operations of these these most common of shortcuts.

Also, I keep finding keyboard shortcuts pages online like this one. I usually get lost in there, though, because of the symbols they use for the keys. Here's a snippet explaining the shift keys:
(Command key) - Sometimes called "Apple key"; on Apple keyboards this key also has an Apple logo ()
(Control key)
(Option key) - "Alt" may also appear on this key
(Shift key)
(Caps Lock) - Toggles Caps Lock on or off
I have several issues with apple keyboard shortcuts:
  1. They look like some kind of space age alien alphabet.
  2. My keyboard doesn't have any alien alphabet letters on it except . This means that a lot of the pages I go to, while they may be very helpful for long time apple/mac users, are just bewildering. Should I get my pocketknife and carve the symbols into the keys?
  3. What were they smoking when they decided that would mean "option or alt"?
  4. Even though the alien letters aren't on any of the keys (which they presumably used to be) they are still used copiously in references, even within the operating system. For example, this screenshot from Finder tells me that pressing H does the move "hide others":

    finder menu
  5. I haven't developed the muscle memory for all these shortcuts yet, so until I do I will be slow on a Mac.
Anyway, that was the long way of saying the command key is very important and helpful, once you get to know him.

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