Upgrades… and AWESOME! OS X Keyboard Shortcuts you never knew

So I was sitting on WordPress 2.3.3 for some time, 2.5 came out, and then finally 2.6.1 came out and I figured what the hell? Why not try a one click update and so far things seem good.  One of the problems I still haven’t sorted out is that my author title doesn’t list my full name, continuing to limit my status as the #1 (number one) Mark Beattie on the internet (via search engines like “The Google” or “The Yahoo” but probably not the MSN Live Search .NET nonsense).  Basically it comes down to “Mark Reid Beattie” or “Mark Beattie” not occurring often enough in this blog.  So there, I’ve increased it a couple more times.

OK, now you want to hear about some awesome OS X keyboard shortcuts you’ve been too lazy to hunt down, right?  Have you ever minimized an application only to have it hide somewhere on that dark lower right-hand corner of your dock and wished, ‘Man there must be some keyboard shortcut I’m missing because when I press [Command+TAB] the application I want just stays minimized.’  Well you’re right there is a keyboard shortcut and as it turns out in OS X “hiding” is better than “minimizing” to the Dock.

To prevent further disambiguation especially for users more familiar with Windows keyboards the Command key on modern Macintosh keyboards is represented by either  or  and/or the word ‘Command’.  The Alt key on the Mac layout is usually referred to as ‘⌥ Option’ and the Control key is ‘⌃ Ctrl’.  Now that’s in the open one more area of disambiguation is “hiding” versus “minimizing” versus “closing” under OS X.  

I’ve had this MacBook Pro for two years now and I suppose it’s sad that it’s taken me this long to find all these keyboard shortcuts but hopefully this entry might help other switchers.  It seems Minimize [⌘ + M] was introduced with the advent of OS X and The Dock (Aqua interface *nix heritage, etc) whereas “Hiding” windows [⌘ + H] has been around since at least OS 7.  When you [⌘ + H] the application literally hides and there are two way to bring it back, click on its icon in the Dock or use [⌘ + TAB] until the application you want is highlighted.  Simple.  But when you Minimize the app (using either [⌘ + M] or clicking the Yellow Minus circle at the top left corner of the active window) a small icon’d version of the window buries itself in the dock next to the Trash Can.  So what’s the secret keyboard command?  [Command ⌘ + TAB] and then when you select the application you want from with the TAB menu hold down and release [⌥ Option].  

Now the caveat is that this seems to work only in Leopard (10.5) but not Tiger (10.4) however  [Command ⌘ + L] to open the browser location once you’ve tabbed to Firefox or Safari will restore a Minimized window.  Another option is Witch a third party Tab management “switcher” enabling full restore capability to  [Command ⌘ + TAB] also allowing you switch between multiple active windows of any given application.  A third option is the somewhat kludgy ability for  [Command ⌘ + F3] to highlight and control the dock using the arrow keys, also allowing you to activate a minimized window.  Using a laptop often requires the addition of the FN key, so [FN + Command ⌘ + F3] the use arrow keys to navigate.