Switching from Windows to Mac

— 4 minute read

MacBook stock image, because, why not?

About a year ago I changed jobs and went from a Windows machine to a MacBook Pro. Here are some of the issues I struggled with at first.​

Keyboard & Mouse

How on earth do I right click? permalink

Click with two fingers on the trackpad. Okay, that was easy.

Using the magic mouse you can either control + click or enable right-clicking:

  1. Select Command + space bar.
  2. Type mouse and hit enter.
  3. Enable Secondary click.

Where the hell is the Delete key? permalink

There is no delete key on the MacBook keyboard (seriously). Use fn + backspace instead.

Command + tab to switch between windows permalink

If you use command + tab to switch between windows, it will not work for minimised windows. Instead of minimising windows you can hide them using command + h. Command + tab works for hidden windows.

Minimising works differently than on Windows and eventually I got used to this and I actually like it now.

Lock screen permalink

The default command to lock your screen is Command + Control + Q (seriously). You can remap this to Command + L if desired:

  1. Select Command + space bar.
  2. Type keyboard and hit enter.
  3. Go to Shortcuts tab.
  4. Select App Shortcuts.
  5. Click +.
  6. SelectAll Applications, type in Lock Screen as Menu Title and enter your shortcut.

Open finder shortcut permalink

Use Option + Command + Space to open a Finder window, opened to Spotlight. I originally remapped the shortcut to Command + E but that was causing conflicts with other software so I ditched that.

Zoom permalink

Using trackpad:

  1. Hold down the control key.
  2. Take two fingers and swipe upwards on the trackpad area to zoom in, then use your two fingers to swipe downwards to zoom out.

Using magic mouse:

  1. Hold down the control key.
  2. Slide your finger to the top or bottom of the mouse.
  3. You can also enable Smart zoom on the mouse so double-tapping with one finger also works.

Shift lock does not work for numbers on AZERTY keyboard permalink

If you have a MacBook with a Belgian AZERTY layout, using Shift lock to be able to enter numbers does not work. Use French - Numerical instead.

  1. Select Command + space bar.
  2. Type keyboard and hit enter.
  3. Select Input sources.
  4. Use the + sign to add French - Numerical.
  5. Use the - sign to remove Belgian.

This does not change anything else for the keyboard layout (also, I really should've chosen QWERTY).

Magic mouse scrolling causes Google Calendar in Chrome to change months permalink

When scrolling down the page while in Google Calendar, Chrome interprets the scrolling with the mouse roller or laptop mouse pad by scrolling through the months, catapulting you into the distant future or past.

Install this plugin to disable this behaviour in Chrome.


Installing and removing software permalink

First try the App store to see if the app is there (command + spacebar > App store). Not all apps are available here.

Otherwise, download the app from the vendor's website. In case of *.dmg files, double-click the *.dmg file and drag the application’s icon to your Applications folder. Other apps are packaged in zip files. Unzip them and then drag the application’s icon to your Applications folder. Unmount the .dmg file after installation.

To remove applications, quit the app and drag the app from the Applications folder to the Trash (located at the end of the Dock), then choose Finder > Empty Trash.

Finder permalink

By default the search in Finder searches your complete Mac (again, seriously). To change this to the current folder:

  1. Pull down the Finder menu and choose Preference.
  2. Click on the Advanced tab.
  3. Pull down the menu under When performing a search:.
  4. Selecting Search the Current Folder from the pulldown menu.

Move one level up permalink

You can move one level up by pressing Command + Up arrow.

Zipping permalink

MacOS natively supports (un)zipping. For RAR files you need an external app like theunarchiver.com.

Screenshots permalink

MacOS 10.14 Mojave now supports native annotation on screenshots. You can also use Evernote's Skitch to edit screenshots like SnagIt on Windows.

Text Editor permalink

Nothing compares to the powerful text editor beast that is EditPad Pro on Windows (ignore the retro looks, the programme works beautifully). Visual Studio Code comes close but you have to install a gazillion plugins to even come near EditPad Pro. Especially support for regular expression enabled find and replace is still lacking.