WRITTEN BY Tess Fournier


As Jeff mentioned in his blog post Top Ten Secret Pro Tools Shortcuts, learning Pro Tools shortcuts is a must for new sound editors if they want to be able to compete in our industry. Similarly, knowing the shortcuts to navigate through your OS quickly and efficiently is also really important. This is especially helpful to new editors trying to land their first sound job, as most of us come in at an assistant level, where a big part of the job is organizing files and multi-tasking among several projects. Learning basic navigational and organizational functions is a simple way to speed up your workflow and impress potential employers and clients. Here are several Mac OS shortcuts that I use on a daily basis:

New Finder Window: Cmd+N

Views: Cmd+1, Cmd+2, Cmd+3, Cmd+4
There are four views you can choose from within your finder window. The first and fourth don’t seem to hold much use for our purposes, but 2 and 3 are good options. I personally use the Cmd+2 view.

Move Up/Down within a window: UP/DOWN ARROWS
Snap to the Top of the List: Opt+UP ARROW
Snap to the Bottom of the List: Opt+DOWN ARROW
Quickly Navigate to a specific item Within the List: Press the letter key similar to the first letter of the item name

Enter Folder/Select Item: Cmd+DOWN ARROW
Move UP in the Hierarchy Of Folders: Cmd+UP ARROW

Go to COMPUTER window/the top of the Hierarchy: Shift+Cmd+C
Go to DESKTOP Window: Shift+Cmd+D
Go to DOWNLOADS Window: Opt+Cmd+L

Create New Folder: Shift+Cmd+N

Copy:  Cmd+C
Paste: Cmd+V
Duplicate: Cmd+D
Move the files in the Clipboard from their original location to the current location: Opt+Cmd+V
The above shortcuts are fairly simple and most of them are similar across several platforms, so they are most likely familiar. It’s important to note that they’ll work within Finder too! They’re really handy when it comes to basic organization. For instance, if you need the same file structure across several projects, you can create the structure and save an empty version of it to copy/paste to each new project as it comes, rather than having to re-create the structure each time.

Highlight/Select name of Item: Return
Show Info: Cmd+i
I use the two above in conjunction whenever uploading new materials to our servers. I first quickly hit Return, Cmd+C, Return to copy the name of the item and paste it to our messaging system, and then hit Cmd+i to show the file path so I can quickly copy/paste it into the same message. This takes a lot less time than typing each of those out, and then everyone working on the project can easily see what has been uploaded and where they can find it.

Toggle Among Applications: Cmd+Tab
Toggle Among Windows of the Same Application: Cmd+Tilde (~)

Hide Selected Application: Cmd+H
This is a great alternative to minimizing windows. Instead of having to select the minimized windows with your mouse to reopen them, you can simply Cmd+Tab to the application you’ve previously hidden. This can prove to be much faster, especially if your menu bar is set to hide when your mouse is not hovered over it.

Close Selected Window: Cmd+W
Close All Windows: Opt+Cmd+W

You can find a complete list of Mac Keyboard Shortcuts here.

What are your favorite shortcuts and hotkeys? Let us know in the comments!