New MacBook keyboard

MM Answers: how to optimize the use of the keyboard on my Mac?

Today is another day MM Answers!

The question of the day is:

How do I optimize the use of the keyboard on my Mac?


The keyboard layout and input source used by the computer in the OS X login window are the same as those selected in the Setup Wizard, during the first boot of the operating system.

New MacBook keyboard

The vast majority of Macs in Brazil that run OS X El Capitan have the “Brasil – Pro” keyboard layout and many people today still suffer from accentuation on their computers for not choosing this option.

With the “Brasileiro Pro” setting selected in System Preferences »Keyboard» Keyboard Layouts, the only job you have to use the accents on your Mac is to press the key with the respective accent before the letter in question instead of using the old “guessing technique” when the “Brazilian” keyboard layout was used.

Currently there is also a very simple and practical way to accentuate in OS X.

New way of accentuation in OS X

Thanks to an inheritance from iOS, just hold a certain key (such as “A”, for example), so that all the options for accentuating the letter in question appear.


To optimize your search for special characters and accent learning, activate the keyboard, emoji and symbol viewers in the menu bar:

System Preferences - Keyboard

  1. Open the System Preferences application.
  2. Select the “Keyboard” option.
  3. Tap the “Keyboard” tab and select the “Show Keyboard, Emoji and Symbol Viewers in the menu bar” checkbox.

Keyboard Viewer

With the viewer activated, when you access it from the menu bar, you have all the symbols and special keys that can be accessed by your keyboard.

Menu bar

Customizing the list

The list of emojis and symbols can be customized according to your needs:

  1. Open the Keyboard, Emoji and Symbol Viewers in the menu bar.
  2. Click the gear symbol (⚙) on the toolbar.
  3. Click on “Customize list …”.
  4. Select the desired checkboxes.

Customizing the list of keyboards, Emojis and more

Modifier keys

Contextual menu

The context menu of the menu bar lists the commands that can be applied in a given application (next to the command), the shortcut keys and their respective functions are presented.


To use a keyboard shortcut, hold down one or more modifier keys while pressing the last shortcut key. If you’re coming on the PC, you’re certainly used to Ctrl + C to copy text, for example. On Mac, we work with ⌘ (Command) to perform such a task. Mac menus and keyboards often use symbols for certain keys, including modifier keys:

  • Command = ⌘
  • Shift = ⇧
  • Option = ⌥
  • Control = ⌃
  • caps Lock = ⇪
  • Function = Fn

Here, another tip is worth. If you want to delete text from left to right (Delete key on PC), use Fn + Delete on Mac.

Check below a list of the most used shortcuts:

  • ⌘C = copy
  • ⌘V = paste
  • ⌘X = cut
  • ⌘A = select all
  • ⌘B = bold
  • ⌘U = underline
  • ⌘F = find
  • ⌘Z = undo
  • ⌘⇧Z = redo
  • ⌘Q = terminate application
  • ⌘T = new tab
  • ⌘W = close tab


  • Fn ↑ = Page Up (scrolls up one page)
  • Fn ↓ = Page Down (scrolls down one page)
  • Fn ← = Home (go to the beginning of a document)
  • Fn → = End (goes to the end of a document)

Apple has on its website a complete list of shortcut keys that can be found on this page.

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