13 tips for a first time MacBook user

I’ve been a PC user for 20 years and until recently rarely used a Mac. For the last two months I’ve been using a Mac almost exclusively and in that time I’ve picked up a few tips.

1# Getting started

Hopefully you have managed to switch on your MacBook. If you haven’t just hit the power icon.

MacBook power on / off button

The first thing you should do is click the Apple logo in the top left of the screen. Next select ‘system preferences’ and ‘trackpad’. You can then watch a few useful videos showing you how to use the trackpad and configure it to how you want.


2# Scroll up and down

The scroll bar on a Mac is hidden until activated so it only shows when you scroll using a mouse or the trackpad. Place two fingers on your Macbook’s trackpad and move them up or down to scroll through your current web page or document. You can change how this works in the ‘system preferences’ under ‘trackpad’ or if you want the scroll bar to permanently appear go to ‘system preferences’, then ‘General’ and select show scroll bars ‘always’.

3# How to right click

You can right click on a MacBook just like a PC but how you do it isn’t that obvious. Here are a few ways to right click (or in the Mac world it is called secondary click).

  1. To right click you can hold down control (ctrl) and tap the trackpad
  2. On the trackpad use two fingers when you click instead of one (this is the default option but you can change this in system preferences’ under ‘trackpad’.)
  3. Or just buy a mouse with a right click

4# Cmd is just Ctrl

On a PC when you press the Ctrl key in conjunction with another key it will perform a special action. For example if you highlight some text and press Ctrl and C you can copy the text. You could then paste that copy into something like an email using Ctrl V.

On a Mac the Cmd key does exactly the same job 99% of the time as Ctrl.

5# Switching between applications

To quickly switch between open applications (eg Chrome or iTunes) you have to hold down the Cmd key and press tab to change the highlighted application.

cmd + tab to switch applications

You can also press Q when you have an application highlighted to quit / close down the application.

6# How do you use # and € key

The MacBook keyboard is smaller than the average PC. To use the characters above the number keys you hold down shift plus the relevant number eg shift and 5 gives you ‘%’ – just like a PC.

However above the numbers 2 and 3 there are two characters instead of one.

To use # hold alt and 3

Press Alt and 3 for #

To use € hold alt and 2

Alt and 2 to create €

7# There is no delete button

Mac’s have a backspace button but they don’t have a delete button. The backspace key allows you to delete backwards. To delete forwards you need to press function (fn) and backspace.


8# Refresh the web browser

Sometimes you want to refresh the web browser. On a PC you press F5. On a Mac press cmd + r

Cmd + R

9# How to find anything

You can search your Mac to find anything from an image to an application such as Chrome or iTunes. To search press Cmd and space or click the search icon on the top right of your screen.



10# Saving files

Saving a file in a sub folder isn’t as straight forward as a PC. For example if you want to save a file in your iCloud Drive in a sub folder called ‘keynote’ you have to press the arrow pointing down (highlighted in red below). You now have a lot more options to save the file in the specific location you want.



11# How to take a screenshot

Mac’s don’t have a print screen button so to take a screenshot press Command (Cmd) + shift + 3

Take a screenshot press cmd + shift + 3

To take a screenshot of part of the screen press Command (Cmd) + shift + 4. You can then select which part of the screen you want.

All the screenshot are saved to your desktop as a .png. If you want to change the screenshot file format on your Mac you can but it gets a bit more complicated.

12# Show desktop

To show the desktop just press F11 or on old machines this can be Function (fn) + F11.

13# How to switch off your Mac

Click the Apple logo in the top left and select ‘shutdown your machine’.

If that doesn’t because an application won’t close properly you can force close the app. On a PC you would press Control-Alt-Delete but on a Mac you press Command (cmd) + Alt + Esc.

Hope my simple tips help.  

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