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Chapter 1. ✓ Start Here > The Mac's Keyboard

The Mac's Keyboard

Understanding how the Mac keyboard is laid out, and what its special keys do, is a crucial part of understanding how the Mac works. If you're new to the Mac, the special keys at the bottom of the keyboard might seem weird or esoteric; however, there is a method to their apparent madness.

Modifier Keys

First of all, the Mac has three special modifier keys, found at the bottom of the keyboard. These keys are Control (sometimes spelled Ctrl), Option, and Command (also known as the Apple key and represented as ). These keys, like the Ctrl and Alt keys on Windows keyboards, are used in combination with other keys on the keyboard to accomplish certain common functions in the operating system as well as in most applications. However, unlike the modifier keys in Windows, the Mac's modifier keys each have their own specific meanings, which are usually carefully observed by application developers. The keys are also each expressed by their own special symbols, as shown in the following chart.


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