Alt Key on Mac, Where Is Alt Key on Mac [Shortcuts Guide]

Dany updated on May 04, 2023 | Home > Knowledge Center

Where Is Alt Key on Mac

Users of Windows may be confused when they use Mac's keyboard for the first time because many functional keys they usually use in the workflow may disappear, such as the Ctrl and Alt keys on Windows. Instead, the keyboard on Mac has keys such as Cmd and Option, which can't be found on Windows keyboards.

This article will introduce the Alt key on Mac, including where is the Alt key on Mac's Keyboard and how to use it. To start with, the Alt key on Windows can sometimes be considered the "Option (or Alt) ⌥" key on Mac.

Alt key on Mac's keyboard

Referring to the picture of a keyboard on a Mac, you can see the Option key beside the blank space key; they are the Alt key on Mac. Similar to the keyboard of Windows, there are two Alt keys on Mac.

Why two Alt keys on a keyboard? Because the Alt key is one of the most beneficial key combinations for users, and some users like to use their left hand to type, while others use the right hand. Considering to be convenient for each group of users, the Mac keyboard has two Alt keys on each side of the blank space key.

Alt Key on Mac: Main Functions You Should Know

Alt keys are the short name for Alternate keys, and pressing a single Alt key will not execute any command. Alt keys often combine with other keys to access assignments and special characters. Here are two main functions of the Alt key on Mac:

  • Using in combination with other keys
  • Modifying menu options

Alt key on Windows VS. Mac

Two "Option (or Alt) ⌥" keys on a Mac keyboard are the equivalent of two Alt keys on a Windows keyboard, which perform the same functions. For example, by pressing "Option (or Alt) ⌥" when you boot your Mac, you can select which macOS to run on your Mac.

Here is a table you can refer to check out some popular equivalent Windows key combinations on Mac:

Windows Mac Function
Alt + F4

Command + W

Closing a window
Control + Alt + Delete Control + Command + Eject Restarting
Control + Option + Command + Eject Shutting down
Shift + Command + Q Logging out
Alt + Tab Command + tab Switch between open apps

The Alt keys on Mac are also used to activate programs or system shortcuts by pressing alongside other keys. Whether Mac users are using the Finder or other programs, they could be using different commands and functions by the Alt key combinations. For example, when you press the Alt key(also the Option key) and operate your mouse:

  • 🪟Option key while double-clicking: Open a new window, and close the original one.
  • 📋Option key while dragging: Copy the dragged item.
  • 📝Option + Command while dragging: Make an alias of the dragged item.

Alt Key Shortcut on Mac: How to Use

If you were a Windows user before and now use a Mac, knowing the Alt key shortcuts on your computer, like MacBook Pro, will help you be more efficient in your work. Here are some of the most popular Alt key shortcuts on Mac:

  • Option + Command + H

    When you only want to view the front app without being distracted by the other apps, you can press "Option + Comand + H" to hide them.

  • Option + Command + V

    When you need to cut a piece of text or move images to another location, you can press "Option + Command + V" to transfer the files from the original location to the clipboard and move them to a new location.

  • Option + Command + W

    When you hurry up to go out, it's time-wasting to close all windows one by one. Press "Option + Command + W" to close all app windows at once.

  • Option + Shift + Command + Delete

    If you delete files on Mac, you know it doesn't mean erasing the deleted files' data, and the deleted files will move to Trash. Press "Option + Shift + Command + Delete" to empty Mac Trash to free up space. But note that this shortcut won't show the confirmation dialog.

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How to Alt + F4 on Mac

When users want to click the "X" button in the top left corner, they can press "Alt + F4" on Windows/Linux. The shortcut Alt + F4 is used for quitting the current app on Windows. Command + Q is the equivalent of quitting the currently + focused program or opening windows on macOS.

However, Command + W will close the current tab instead of the current window in any tabbed application such as Google Chrome. And "Command + Q" could close the application but not the current window. In some cases, "Shift + Command + W" can close the current window just in Safari and Google Chrome.

Option + Command + W

If you close a window by pressing "Option + Command + W" without saving the lasted version of your documents, or you accidentally deleted Trash files by pressing "Option + Shift + Command + Delete", don't worry! Even if you don't have a backup in your Time Machine, an effective data recovery software EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac, can help you restore your lost data.

EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard

  • Restore Mac Trash data, including documents, photos, audio, music, emails, messages, etc.
  • Support Mac hard drive recovery, memory card recovery on Mac, external hard drives recovery on Mac, etc.
  • Support data recovery for sudden deletion, formatting, and hard drive corruption under different situations.

Conclusion

The Alt key, called the "Option (or Alt) ⌥" key on Mac keyboards, is the equivalent of two Alt keys on Windows keyboards, which perform the same functions. Alt keys are the short name for Alternate keys, and pressing Alt itself will not execute any command.

We introduce many shortcuts of the Alt key on Mac which Mac users most likely use in their workflow, including pressing "Option + Command + D" to Show or hide the Dock, pressing "Option + Command + P" to Hide or show the path bar in Finder windows, etc.

Alt Key on Mac FAQs

Here are some questions people also ask when they search for the Alt key on Mac, and you can read them to know more about the Alt key on Mac.

1. How to Alt F8 on Mac?

Press and hold your keyboard's "Fn" key to make the F1 through F12 appear in the Touch Bar. Or, choose "Apple menu > System Preferences", then click the keyboard.

2. How to Alt F11 on a Mac?

You can press "Opt + F11" or "Fn + Opt + F11" on Mac to do the same thing Alt + F11 does.

3. Where is the Alt key on Mac?

The Alt key on the Mac, also called the Option key, sits next to the Command key beside the blank space key.

4. Is there an Alt + Tab for Excel on Windows?

Try opening a new window under the View tab, which produces a duplicate of the file you are working on, and then you can Alt-Tab between the two sheets. The file name in the new window will add a "2" in its file name.

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech lives easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. In her spare time, she loves sharing things about her favorite singer - Taylor Swift on her Facebook or Twitter.

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Written by Dany

Dany is an editor of EaseUS who lives and works in Chengdu, China. She focuses on writing articles about data recovery on Mac devices and PCs. She is devoted to improving her writing skills and enriching her professional knowledge. Dany also enjoys reading detective novels in her spare time.

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