Take-Aways from Brett Terpstra’s 2014 MacWorld Talk

I found this gem of an article a little while ago. It’s a great talk by Brett Terpstra at MacWorld 2014 about some productivity tips that power users (and, I’d argue, beginning coders) should know.

Getting better at using your computer will only help your productivity. See if you can incorporate some of his tips in your daily habits.

Text Editing

Navigate with ⌘ or ⌥ Arrow keys

⌘→: move to end of line
⌘←: move to beginning of line
⌘↑: move to top or all text
⌘↓: move to bottom of all text

⌥→: move to end of word, then right word jumps
⌥←: move to start of word, then left word jumps

Add ⇧ to select text while navigating

Emacs / BASH shortcuts

⌃A: move to beginning of paragraph
⌃E: move to end of paragraph
⌃N/ P: next/ previous line (down/ up)
⌃F/ B: forward/back by character
⌃⌥F/ B: forward/back by word

⌃U/ K: “killls” or deletes from cursor to beginning/end of line
⌃Y: restores after ⌃U/K

Keyboard Control

Note: I tried this and did not like it. But you should check it out yourself.

System > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Full Keyboard Access = All Controls

  • Tab through dialogs
  • Enter for highlighted button
  • Space for selected button

Shortcuts & Modifier Keys

⌘ is most common
⇧ performs INCREASED actions
⌥ performs ALTERNATE actions
⌃ = ?????


⌘⇧D – Desktop
⌘⇧A – Applications
⌘1-4 – switch views
⌘⌥S/ T – toggle sidebars & menubars
⌘⌥V – move copied files
⌘⇧G – “Go To” folder navigation
– Finder will give you tab completion features for folder names!

App Recommendations From Brett

I’ve tried a bunch of these apps that Brett recommends. You can find them in the Mac App store. My picks so far:

  • Alfred (in place of Spotlight)
  • Popclip

Here’s a couple of others I have but haven’t quite worked them into my flow yet:

  • Textexpander
  • Dropzone

Some Notes of My Own

Here are some other notes I took as I was researching Brett’s recommendations. Let’s start with a great article on typing in modifier keys with Mac keyboard
* ⌃⌘Space = Special Characters (Edit > Special Characters)

  • “Preferences” (Gear) Symbol in upper left > Customize List > Technical Symbols

…and another aticle on how to hold down keys for more symbol options

or you can always use TextExpander snippets

Other Keyboard Shortcuts

Here’s another great resource for shortcuts, while we’re on the subject:


Use Them in Your Workflows Today!

Hopefully Brett Terpstra’s lengthy list of productivity tips has given you at least a few good ones to try for yourself. Let me know which ones work for you!