Mac OS X Keyboard Shortcuts

IT IS EASY to see why people really love their MacBooks. These computers are sleek and run a cool operating system. I also really love my MacBook that I bought at TheCamp 2007, just from the fact that its killing me!

Where feasible I prefer to use keyboard shortcuts instead of mouse navigation, but on Mac OS X there are annoying hurdles.

On a Danish PC keyboard some the often used programming characters are accessed via the AltGr key, e.g. ‘{‘ = AltGr+7, ‘[‘ = AltGr+8, ‘]’ = AltGr+9, ‘}’ = AltGr+0. This is fine as they can all be accessible one handed.

On my MacBook I am running an English Mac OS X with a Danish keyboard and keyboard layout. The PC keyboard and MacBook keyboard differs, so it was no surprise when I could not find those characters. Tried a few combinations, then referred to the manual – no help. The Apple support forum wasn’t really that helpful either (seems that every other link is a sales or marketing page), but did find a poor swede that had some of the same problems that I had. The comments luckily mentioned that the Mac OS X shortcut for ‘[‘ is Command+shift+8.

Going from a one hand operated shortcut to a two handed is not a change for the better, but at least I could now do some programming :-)

Having found the ‘[‘ I was a happy camper as Command+[ is the shortcut for Safari 3 and Finder to do history back actions. No more grapping the mouse for doing trivial back actions I thought… but nooo. It seems that neither Safari nor Finder recognizes the key combination – aaarrgh! I speculate that this is because the true shortcut is Command+[ and what I am pressing is actually Command+shift+[. One could suspect that those programs switch on the actual keys pressed, instead of receiving characters thats been outputted from a localizing filter?

Btw. how do I enter a directory in Finder? Pressing Enter just enables me to rename the directory! WTF! This is surely a sane default action; I’ll much rather rename a directory than look whats inside – NOOOT.

Well, I’ve finally “solved” my Safari and Finder problems. A long time Mac owning friend of mine, told me that back history in Safari could also be done with Command+left-arrow. ZOMG! A secret solution?! Argh, kiss my ass Safari, I’ve installed Firefox. This new shourtcut didn’t work in Finder of course, so I installed Xfolders and then Finder could go fuck it self.

Btw. every time a dialog pops up for an action (e.g. Accept/Cancel) – how the hell do I select the desired action using the keyboard? And why do I even have to ask this question in the first place?

I would characterize the Mac OS X shortcuts as being either, very long, very non-English unfriendly or both. Wouldn’t be surprised if Mac OS X were written in Emacs by non-non-Englishmen ;-)

All this is making just me really Charles Bronson angry of how stupid Mac OS X is. Not just different, but stupid! Arrrrgh. So the lesson is short: “Apple and others – Don’t use special characters for keyboard shortcuts! It’s fubar.”

Add a comment »4 comments to this article

  1. Mozilla Firefox 3.0.7 Windows XP

    Wikipedia on Culture Shock:

    One may long for food the way it is prepared in one’s native country, may find the pace of life too fast or slow, may find the people’s habits annoying, disgusting, and irritating etc. This phase is often marked by mood swings caused by minor issues or without apparent reason. Depression is not uncommon.

    Things going any better now?

    BTW, Command + down arrow opens stuff in the Finder. I hate how different that is than Windows Explorer’s keyboard shortcut. And most of the time, dialog buttons are addressable with a bare key, like ‘S’ for save or whatever.

    Thanks for your wp-syntax article too!

    • Debian IceWeasel 3.0.6 Debian GNU/Linux

      Well, things are better now.

      I tried really hard to adapt to the secret Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts and the weird keyboard layout. Eventually I didn’t want to invest more frustrated hours in that thing, and concluded that “I’m just not Mac compatible”. So I sold it :-/

  2. Internet Explorer 6.0 Windows Server 2003

    Hi, cool post. I have been wondering about this topic,so thanks for writing.

  3. Mozilla Firefox 3.5 Mac OS X 10

    Hi,
    I am struggeling with similar stuff,too.
    With Ukelele you can at least make your keyboard alittle more… sane. as for hotkeys I come to the same conclusion as you do they suck – hard. my hands are hurting after one day of working and I get less stuff done… iTerm helps a little with that since it replaces the more or less useless terminal app. But in the end I am wondering if I will simply replace all spps likly by X11 driven ones. When this is the case I will install Linux and be done with it. WHat good are shadows and nice slidy action when you cannot work??

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