Two top Command key tricks for the Apple Mac you should know

The Command key on the Apple Mac keyboard has useful functions you may not have discovered - learn all the tricks and shortcuts |

There are four special keys on the Apple Mac keyboard - Shift, Ctrl, Option and Command - and they modify certain actions and menus. Do you know how the Command key changes the way files are opened? Here are two quick tips you will find useful when trying to locate files.

Anything that makes life simpler and easier is welcome and modifying the action of certain items using the Mac's special keys can save a little time and effort. Special keys can make awkward things easy and pressing them reveals hidden menu options and functions.

Command key on the menu

Go to the Apple menu in the top left corner of the screen and let the mouse hover over Recent Items. It shows a list of applications that have been used recently and below this is a section titles Documents and it contains files that have recently been opened.

Clicking an app in the menu runs it and clicking one of the documents opens it in the app it is associated with. That is fairly obvious of course, but there is more.

Apple menu in OS X

While this menu is showing, hold down the Command key and watch everything magically change. Recent items becomes Show...

Recent Items menu on the Apple menu in OS X

Instead of it now has Show “” in Finder, and instead of a list of document filenames, it has Show “filename” in Finder.

If you now click an application or a document in this menu, it does not run it or open it. Instead it opens a Finder window to show the folder where the item is stored on the disk.

This is useful on occasions because sometimes you cannot remember where you stored a document, photo or other file. Just press Command and click instead of normal clicking and you will instantly see where it is located.

It can also be useful when you want to perform file operations, such as copying, moving, renaming or deleting, on a recently accessed file. You can instantly open a Finder window showing the file.

Spotlight Command modifier

This Command key trick works in Spotlight search results lists too. Click the Search icon in the top right corner of the screen or press Command+Space (another handy use for the Command key). Here are the results of a search for 'Finder' that has been performed. In the Documents section is the document we want, but where is it on the disk drive?

Spotlight on the Apple Mac

Press the Command key and down in the bottom right of the Spotlight window is the path to the document.

Spotlight on the Apple Mac

What’s more, you can double click the document and instead of the file opening in the associated application, a Finder window opens to show the folder that contains the document.

Knowing how to locate files on the disk can save a bit of time and effort hunting for them.

Related: Customise Spotlight and solve indexing problems in OS X



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