At first glance, using your iMac without a mouse may sound complicated, if not impossible. However, there are some tricks to control your iMac even if the mouse suddenly dies over you. This article assumes that everything is fine with your keyboard.
Needless to say, the following hacks are simple and are mostly about using keyboard shortcuts. However, if the keyboard also fails you, it’s best to find a replacement as you won’t be able to use your iMac. Without further ado, let’s dive in fully.
Before you start
It is recommended that you make sure that “Full keyboard access” is enabled. With this, you can use the Tab key to switch between the controls in the dialog box. Otherwise, you can only switch between lists and text boxes. Much of the mouseless navigation works without this step, but it’s best to enable it anyway.
Enter on the keyboard from the system preferences. Press Cmd + Space, type keyboard, and press Enter. Go to the Shortcuts tab and press Ctrl + F7 to mark “All Controls.” (On some iMacs, it could be Fn + Ctrl + F7.) Now, you can use the Tab key to switch between options and select-pressing the space bar.
Switch through open applications
Press Cmd + Tab and you will be able to browse all the running applications. Keep pressing Tab to get to the app you want to access. You can press the Down key to reveal all open windows within a particular application. Navigate to the window you want to access with the arrow keys and press BACK to select.
If you want to switch between full window applications, hold down the Ctrl + Left or Right Arrow keys. To preview all open windows (not full screen), you must press Ctrl + Up or Down.
Navigating the Finder
Chances are you need to use Finder without the mouse. To start Finder, access Spotlight by pressing Cmd + Space, then press Finder and press Enter.
Use the arrow keys to navigate to the Go menu in the menu bar. Press the down arrow to select a specific destination, such as Recent, Downloads, iCloud Drive, and more. Press ENTER to enter and use the arrow keys for further navigation.
To access a specific folder, you must use the arrow keys again, up and down to navigate and Left and Right to open the folder. If your folders are in thumbnail preview, use Cmd + Down to open a folder and Cmd + Up to return. This also works in other types of folder preview.
reminders: use Spotlight (Cmd + Space) to access any application, file or folder without the mouse.
Again, you can open Safari via Spotlight or switch to it using window navigation tricks. To access a website from the bookmarks bar, press Cmd + Bookmark Number. For example, if the TechJunkie website is the first bookmark in your list, press Cmd + 1.
A new tab will open if you press Cmd + T and you can switch between tabs with Cmd + Shift + left / right arrow.
The Dock and the application menu bar
The application menu bar is easy to select and navigate with the arrow keys and you can choose an item by pressing Enter or Space. To go directly to the application menu, press Fn + Ctrl + F2, then advance with the arrow keys as described.
The Dock is accessed with the combination Fn + Ctrl + F3 on newer iMacs. For older models, it’s just Ctrl + F3. And again, scroll left and right with the arrow keys and select with the Enter or Space keys.
How to deal with text documents
Once you have mastered it, you may prefer to use shortcuts instead of the mouse to move through a text document. Here is a list of the most useful shortcuts.
- Cmd + Top: top of the document.
- Cmd + Left: start of a line.
- Cmd + Right: end of a line.
- Option + Above: start of a paragraph.
- Option + Left: Start of a word.
- Shift + arrow keys – text selection.
Copy and paste
- Cmd + C – copy the selection.
- Cmd + V – to paste the selection.
- Cmd + X – to cut it.
- Cmd + A – to select all.
Change text style
- Cmd + U: Underlines the selected text.
- Cmd + B: Bold the selected text.
- Cmd + I: italics the text.
Other useful shortcuts
The following list of shortcuts is system-wide and works in most applications, although there are some variations.
- Cmd +, – to access the application preferences.
- Cmd + O – to open a file.
- Cmd + W: Close a tab or window.
- Cmd + N – to open a new window (new playlist in iTunes).
- Cmd + S: save a file.
- Cmd + P – to print a file.
Long-term iMac users know that the Magic Trackpad is sometimes better than a mouse. It doesn’t take long to get used to all the navigation slips and you can customize most of the functions of the touch panel. That’s why you may want to consider getting a trackpad even if your mouse is okay.
Tom Ties Jerry
Browsing your iMac with just your keyboard takes time to get used to. But you have to be patient as shortcuts are sometimes the fastest way to get to your desired destination.
Anyway, what happened to your mouse? Do you use Apple Magic Mouse or any other model? Share your issues with the rest of the TJ community in the comments section below.