It’s All About Options and Preferences

I’m not a keyboard shortcut junkie. I use cut, copy, and paste all the time but most others escape me just when I need them. Here are a few though that I’ve been using a lot lately.The commands all use the “option” key and are all known to keyboard shortcut junkies.

If you have the volume slider showing in your Mac’s menu bar try pressing the option key while clicking on the icon. A list of all available audio inputs and outputs will appear allowing you to switch among them without opening the Sound preference pane. You can open the pane from here if you wish.

Speaking of the Sound preference pane, it can be opened from the menu bar by option clicking the volume slider but there is an easier way. Try pressing “option” plus one of the sound buttons (volume up, volume down, or mute) simultaneously. You’ll be taken directly to the Sound pane.

If you find those shortcuts handy, try “option” plus screen brightness or contrast. This combination takes you directly to the Displays preference pane.

There are many other shortcuts which make use of the option key plus one or more modifier keys. Experiment a bit and find the ones most useful for you. Here’s a list to get you started.

Look for more more of Sly’s Quick Tips each week on Friday. Together we’ll make your Mac as smart as its owner.


  1. TheMacMania's Avatar
    Awesome collection! thank you!
  2. vansmith's Avatar
    I should mention, to be fair to Slydude, that this blog post is his (I only published it).

    I agree - there are some great shortcuts in there!
  3. Stretch's Avatar
    Nice Slydude!
  4. Slydude's Avatar
    Thanks for the positive feedback. Hopefully this will be a recurring column along with the occasional longer how to/tutorial as time permits.

    Suggestions for future columns are always welcome.
  5. RavingMac's Avatar
    Thanks for the tips!
  6. Slydude's Avatar
    I started this post while searching for the key commands to get fine volume adjustment using the audio keys on the keyboard. This feature was gone in Lion but its back in 10.7.4.. To see what I wanted press Shift and Option while pressing one of the volume up/down keys. Each key press seems to adjust volume about one-third or one-hals of what it does normally
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