Clear your view, move your focus to the task at hand with ⌘ H.
Command-H = Hide application
Put simply, the ⌘ H shortcut will make the current application disappear from view. It remains open and running, but invisibly in the background.
Clear your view with Command-H
This is a handy keyboard shortcut when you have many applications running and you want to hide some of them from view without actually quitting the apps. Try repeatedly tapping ⌘ H and one by one the open apps will disappear leaving you on the desktop.
Combine two Keyboard Kung Fu moves to swiftly refocus attention
The ⌘ H combination is very useful when used in conjunction with the Command-Tab action that we covered in a previous Keyboard Kung Fu lesson. Any app that is open can be selected and hidden quickly & easily, and any hidden application can be brought back into view by Command-Tabbing to it. These two actions, hiding an app and then bringing it back into view, replace the need to minimise applications to the dock and then restore them using the mouse.
In a previous Keyboard Kung Fu lesson we saw how easy it is to switch between open applications using Command-Tab. Sometimes though, an app is minimised or closed and can’t be tabbed to. That’s where this handy little manoeuvre comes in.
Command-Tab / Command-Option
Use the ⌘ tab / ⌘ ⌥ key combination to open an application that has been minimised or closed. These apps can be brought up by taking your finger off the tab key, moving it to the ⌥ key, and then removing your thumb from the ⌘ key.
Switching between open apps with the ⌘ tab, ⌘ ⌥ move.
In the image above I have already tried to switch to the Mail app but found that it is closed. So I have then used ⌘ tab to select the Mail app and then taken my middle finger off the tab key and put my index finger onto the ⌥ key. Then when I removed my thumb from the ⌘ key the Mail app popped up into the foreground.
Have you ever tried to memorise a list of keyboard shortcuts? Most of us have found a list of keyboard combinations and pinned them on the wall next to the desk in the hope that they’ll become a part of everyday keyboard use and increase productivity. I’ve done that a few times. I started using a Mac several years ago and have only recently learned more than the handful of general keyboard combos that make life easier.
So I’ve started a series called “Keyboard Kung Fu” to help make learning the useful keyboard manoeuvres much easier and more fun. For now I’ll be focusing on the Mac but may cover Windows keyboard shortcuts at a later time.
How to Memorise More Keyboard Combinations?
The problem with the list of keyboard shortcuts that you pinned next to your computer was that there is nothing memorable about two or three symbols or words printed in black on a white page. There is nothing for your brain to hook onto to make one line any different or distinctive from the rest of the items on the list.
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This is perhaps the most useful keyboard shortcut you can learn, and it’s very simple.
Command-Tab = Switch to the next application
When you want to move to another application that you have already opened, instead of moving the mouse cursor down to the app’s icon on the tool bar, just hold down the ⌘ key and tap the tab key to bring up the panel displaying all open apps. While holding down the ⌘ key keep tapping that tab key until the desired application is selected and then let go of both keys.
Switch to another open application with Command-Tab
Command-Shift-Tab = Switch to the previous application
If you accidentally go past the app that you were looking for while tapping on the tab key then hold down the shift key (while still holding the ⌘ key down) and then tap the tab key again and the selector backwards to the previous application.