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Stop Mousing around! Shortcuts to: Dock, Menu items & Menus in Mac OSX Snow Leopard

The mouse is one of the most revolutionary devices ever invented. Did you know the first prototype was invented back in 1963? Since then it has evolved into the primary way we control our personal computers. However, as screen sizes increase the mouse is not always the most efficient way to move around the Mac. Imagine moving the mouse between the Apple Menu to the Dock to the Menu items area then back to the Dock on a 27" iMac... That's quite a long way to travel!

Chances are your keyboard is close at hand. Using key commands can really speed up your workflow and save your mouse hand from moving around a large screen. Here are some tips on how to access the Dock, Menu Bar items and the menus for any Applications using only your keyboard.

Step 1 - Quick access to the Menus

Control - F2 or
Fn - Control - F2 (on a laptop)

Use the Arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate through the menus. If you want to exit the menus press the Esc (Escape) key on your keyboard.

Step 2 - Quick access to the Menu items

Menu items are placed in the top right of the Menu Bar. You can add your own by going to the relevant System Preferences area and enabling Show xxx in menu bar. By default you should see the date and time, Network settings, and Bluetooth settings displayed there.

Control - F8 or
Fn - Control - F8 (on a laptop)

As above, use the Arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate through the menus items. To exit the menus press the Esc key on your keyboard.

Step 3 - Quick access to the Dock

The Dock is a very convenient way to quickly access your chosen applications and documents and even the Trash. Even if your Dock is hidden this command will temporarily un-hide it and allow you direct access to your applications, trash and yes, even to navigate within a stack using the arrow keys on your Mac keyboard!

Control - F3 or
Fn - Control - F3 (on a laptop)

Press the Up Arrow key on a selected application to display it's contextual (right-click) menu and use the same key to display the contents of a stack. You can exit this mode at any time by pressing the Esc key.

Want to learn more Advanced tips on Mac OSX Snow Leopard? Click here.

Rounik Sethi

Rounik Sethi | Articles by this author

Rounik is the Executive Editor for Ask.Audio & macProVideo. He's built a crack team of professional musicians and writers to create one of the most visited online resources for news, review, tutorials and interviews for modern musician and producer. As an Apple Certified Trainer for Logic Pro Rounik has taught teachers, professional musicians and hobbyists how to get the best out of Apple's creative software. He has been a visiting lecturer at Bath Spa University's Teacher training program, facilitating workshops on using music and digital media tools in the classroom. If you're looking for Rounik, you'll most likely find him (and his articles) on Ask.Audio & macProVideo.com.


Sep 29, 2010
Thanks. I've never known that one can access menu via keyboard on mac, and something I missed greatly (since moving away from Windows)
Sep 30, 2010
Hi up0,

Me too. Even though my "permanent" move from PC to Mac was many moons ago, this was one ability I missed greatly... until I found out how ;-)
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