Switch Basics: On Windows, I used to...

You may be used to certain menus, keypresses, and behaviors tasks in Windows. This article shows you how to accomplish similar tasks on your Mac.

In Windows On a Mac
Right-click my mouse to access commands or perform actions in a shortcut menu.

You can use the right mouse button built into a mouse, or Control-click items (press and hold the Control key while you click) to access commands or perform actions from a shortcut menu.

To enable the secondary button on your mouse, choose System Preferences from the Apple menu. Click the Mouse icon, then choose your primary and secondary mouse buttons.

If you're using a trackpad, you can right-click by tapping with two fingers. You can turn this feature on or off in the Trackpad pane of System Preferences.

Press the Backspace key to delete or the Delete key to forward delete Press the Delete key on an Apple keyboard to remove text while backspacing. It's in the same place as the Backspace key on a Windows keyboard. If you have a full size Mac keyboard, you can press the   key to forward delete. On a Mac notebook keyboard, hold the Function (Fn) and press Delete key to forward delete.
Use My Computer to see and access everything on my computer.

Open a Finder window, then choose Computer from the Go menu. From here you can view and access all the files on your Mac. You can also use Spotlight to quickly and accurately locate anything on your computer.

Use the Start menu and the taskbar to access programs, folders, and files.

Use the Dock and Launchpad to access applications or your favorite items.

To add your favorite apps to the Dock, drag them from another window to the left side of the Dock. To add your favorite documents and folders, drop them onto the right side of the Dock. Drag items away from the Dock to remove them.

Use Windows Explorer to find programs, files, and folders on my computer.

Use the Finder to find applications, files, or folders on your computer. To open a new Finder window, click the Finder icon on the Dock.

Use My Computer to access content from various drives, such as a hard drive or a optical disc. You can find your connected drives and media in the Finder. Select the icon that appears in the Devices section of the Finder window, or choose Go > Computer. If you want your disks to appear on your desktop when they're connected, choose Finder > Preferences and enable the options you want in the General tab of the preferences window.
Use these keys as shortcuts:
  • Shift key
  • Control key
  • Alt key
  • Windows key
  • Backspace key
  • Delete key
Use these keys as alternatives:
  • ⇧ Shift key
  • ⌃ Control key
  • ⌥ Option key
  • ⌘ Command key
  • Delete key
  •   Forward delete key
Press Ctrl+Alt+Delete to terminate unresponsive programs. Press Command-Option-Escape (Esc) to force quit unresponsive applications. Once you press these keys, select any application from the Force Quit window and click Force Quit. You can also Force Quit an unresponsive app by clicking and holding its icon on the Dock. 
Click the close box to close windows. Click the round, red button in the upper-left corner of windows to close them.
Click the close box to exit programs. To quit an app, choose Quit from the application menu, or press Command-Q.
Click the minimize box to minimize windows to the taskbar. Click the round, yellow button in the upper-left corner of windows to minimize them. Minimized windows appear in the Dock. You can also use Command-M as a shortcut.
Click the maximize box to maximize my window. Click the round, green button in the upper-left corner of windows to expand your window. In OS X Yosemite, clicking this button takes your app full screen. 
Press a button to eject discs or disks. Drag the disc, disk, or volume icon to the Trash (it turns into an Eject icon) to eject or unmount items. Or click the Eject icon next to the name of a volume in the Finder sidebar. 
Press the Control (Ctrl) key for keyboard shortcuts (such as Ctrl+C to copy). Press the Command key for keyboard shortcuts (such as Command-C to copy).
Press the Alt key as a modifier, or to type special characters. Press the Option key as a modifier, or to type special characters (like é). You can also type accented characters by pressing and holding a related character on your keyboard. For example, press and hold the e key to see additional options like é ê é ë ē and more.
Perform various functions from window menus. Perform various functions from menus in the menu bar at the top of your screen. The contents of the menu bar changes, depending on the app you are currently using.
Access Properties to set application, folder, or file options. Use the Info window to set application, folder, or file options. To open an Info window, select an item and choose Get Info from the File menu, or press Command-I.
Move unwanted files and folders to the Recycle Bin. Drag unwanted files and folders to the Trash in the Dock. To empty the Trash, choose Empty Trash from the Finder menu, or press Shift-Command-Delete in the Finder. You can also select the file that you would like to delete and use Command-Delete as a shortcut. 
Rename documents by clicking Rename this file in the File Tasks menu. Select any file, folder, or application and press the Enter key to display the name in a text box. Rename the item as anything you like by typing over the text.
Use the Performance control panel to check system performance. Use Activity Monitor to check system performance. Activity Monitor is in the Utilities folder of the Applications folder.
Make shortcuts to an item by dragging and pressing Alt or make a copy by dragging and pressing Ctrl.

To make an alias to an item, click it once and from the File menu choose Make Alias, or press Command-L. Or drag the item while pressing the Command key and the Option key. A black arrow will appear over the icon. Drop the item to make an alias.

To make a copy of an item, select it and from the File menu choose Duplicate, or press Command-D. Or drag the item while pressing the Option key. A green Add circle will appear over the icon. Drop the item to make a copy.

Store and access files in My Documents and My Pictures folders.

Store files and content in your Documents and Pictures folders.

To access your Documents and Pictures folders, open Finder and select Documents or Pictures from the favorites list of the Finder sidebar. In Finder under the favorites list, you also have folders to store your music and movies.

Use Windows Messenger to chat with buddies. Use Messages to chat with buddies. Messages allows you to chat with anyone who has an AIM, Jabber, Yahoo, Google Talk, or iCloud address. If you don't have one, you can sign up for a free iCloud account from System Preferences.
Use Microsoft Photo Editor (or My Pictures) to view and edit pictures, Windows MovieMaker to edit my home movies, and Windows Media Player to listen to tunes. You can use iPhoto to view and edit pictures, iMovie to edit your home movies, and iTunes or QuickTime Player to listen to tunes. iTunes also allows you to burn music discs, buy music and movies from the iTunes Store, and more. You can also use GarageBand to compose your own music. If you don't see these apps on your Mac, you can download them from the Mac App Store. Choose App Store from the Apple menu, then search for the apps you want to download.
Use Print Screen or ScreenTaker to take pictures of my screen. To take a screenshot, press Command-Shift-3. You can also use Grab or Preview to take pictures of your screen.
Use the Control Panel to customize various settings. Use System Preferences to customize various settings. You can open System Preferences quickly by choosing it from the Apple Menu.
Use Network Connections to configure network settings. To quickly select a Wi-Fi network, click the Wi-Fi icon in the menu bar at the top of your screen. You can use Network preferences in System Preferences to configure additional network settings.
Use Printers & Faxes to set up my printer and fax tasks. Use Print & Scan preferences in System Preferences to set up your printer, scanner, or all-in-one device.
Use Device Manager to get information about my computer. Choose About This Mac from the Apple menu to see information about your computer. You can also use System Information to see information in more detail.

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