Windows to Mac keystroke mapping – a quick guide

In the nearly three months I’ve been blogging about switching to Mac I’ve had countless times that readers have made comments about my posts, recommending specific techniques, tricks or applications that have helped me improve my Mac experience. Yesterday it was n45800’s turn as he pointed me in the direction of a list of the default key bindings for OS X. This little gem was exactly what I needed to get past some of the keyboard issues I’ve been trying to adjust to.

As a touch typist I’ve really struggled at times to use the Mac keyboard; not necessarily the keyboard itself but the navigation shortcuts while editing text in a text editing surface. Here is a list of the most commonly used keystrokes on Windows XP for text editing and navigation and their Mac OS X equivalents:


Purpose Windows Mac OS X
Clipboard Commands
Copy Ctrl+C Command+C
Cut Ctrl+X Command+X
Paste Ctrl+V Command+V
Selection Commands
Select All Ctrl+A Command+A
Undo Ctrl+Z Command+Z
Redo Ctrl+Y Command+Y
Text Navigation Commands
Beginning of current line Home Command+Left Arrow
End of current line End Command+Right Arrow
Top of editing area Ctrl+Home Command+Up Arrow
End of editing area Ctrl+End Command+Down Arrow
Next word right Ctrl+Right Arrow Option+Right Arrow
Previous word left Ctrl+Left Arrow Option+Left Arrow
Beginning of next paragraph Ctrl+Down Arrow Option+Down Arrow
Beginning of previous paragraph Ctrl+Up Arrow Option+Up Arrow
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means but if you are new to Macs and coming from Windows you should consider bookmarking this post or printing it out as a reference because it will save you lots of time. These key stroke combinations should work for most Cocoa based applications that include a text area to type in, including Safari, Mail, TextEdit, etc.
Notice that the Ctrl key is the only modifier used by Windows while OS X uses Command, Control and Option modifiers. Now I know why I’ve been struggling so much.
Want more keys?
Here are a couple of links to pages I’ve found that have more complete lists:
If you are making your way to Mac from Windows it’s a really good idea to immerse yourself into the keyboard shortcuts because they really will save you some time and improve your experience. Make an effort to use them and commit them to your "muscle memory"- it will really help you be more productive.