Option key on Mac: features and description

The keyboard on Apple-made computers is somewhat different from the standard Windows users are used to. First of all, there is no key with the “windows” logo on it; the Command key takes its place. The familiar Alt is also missing, its place is occupied by the Option key in Mac OS. We will tell you about the opportunities that it opens up for users of Apple computers in this material.

Keyboard on the "Macs"

Apple is also a manufacturer of computers of its own brand and supplier of software for them. No company in the world does this. This explains the differences between the standard keyboard and the one used on Mac computers.option keys on Mac

The number and letter series are not significant differences. The layout used is almost entirely QWERTY, with a few exceptions. The letter "e" on them is located in another place. Only the top row with the control keys and the bottom one with the space bar are significantly different.

To the left of the spacebar are located in sequence Command, Option, Control, Fn. To the right of her is the Command, Option, and a turnout block. Thus, the bottom row of keys contains all the specific set that only the Apple keyboard uses. The Option key on a Mac is indicated by a “” sign and an “alt” sign. Modern models of keyboards with a butterfly-type mechanism are distinguished by a larger area of ​​keys and, instead of an icon, they contain the inscriptions “Option” and “alt”.

Option Features

Now you know what the Option key on a Mac looks like and where it is located. It's time to move on to exploring its capabilities, which can help the user in a variety of situations, from downloading to expanding the capabilities of the control menu in various programs.
where is the option key on mac

Option, sandwiched during the initial boot of your Mac, allows you to enter the boot menu. Thus, this single key gives you the opportunity to choose a disk from which the operating system will boot. When working with Windows using the built-in BootCamp manager by the second system, this key is simply indispensable. A combination of Option + Command + R will help to fully restore the OS if necessary.

Using keyboard shortcuts has always opened up more opportunities for users than working only with a graphical interface. In the next few sections, we’ll explain in more detail where the Option key on a Mac can significantly add functionality or enhance existing features.

Fine tuning

The necessary buttons for quickly changing some system parameters, window management and multimedia are displayed on the top line of the keyboard of computers running Mac OS X. We master the Option button for changes in the brightness and volume settings. By default, these values ​​change from zero to a maximum of 16 positions. For example, if you remove the brightness, then at zero position the screen will be absolutely black.
mac os option key

When using the Shift + Option combination, pressing the brightness or volume change button allows you to fine tune these system parameters. Each position of sixteen will be divided by four. Thus, instead of the 16 divisions, you immediately get 64. If the system has default values ​​for you, you can always use this keyboard combination and adjust these values ​​more precisely.

Application selection

Another useful feature that the Option key on a Mac has is the ability to quickly set an application in which the selected file will open by default. Usually, to make such a choice, users use the File Inspector. It provides full information about the file in one window, allows you to configure a number of parameters for it: quickly change access rights, change the name or extension, and, of course, specify the application with which it will be associated.
what does the option key look like on mac

In most cases it is convenient. In one place are collected all the characteristics of the file with which you can work. But there are situations when file associations need to be changed “on the fly”. In this case, the application helps out. If you hold it down, as in the application selection menu for opening a file, the item “Open in program” will change to “Always open in program”.

Extra screen space

A feature of the Mac interface, thanks to which you can’t confuse it with anything, is the Dock panel located at the bottom of the screen. It is constantly in sight, and the windows of opened applications do not overlap it, opening only up to its upper boundary.That the user is not distracted from work, Mac provides the ability to transfer applications in full screen mode. In this case, the workspace occupies the entire monitor. The top status bar and the bottom Dock are not displayed unless you specifically bring the cursor to them.
mac os x master option button

In the system settings, you can enable the option in which the bottom panel will automatically hide and appear. All these changes are permanent. In other words, you specify values ​​for the OS that it will use invariably. Setting the parameters of the system "by itself" is usually done only once. And this time we will come to the aid of the Option key.

On a Mac, using the Option + Command + D keyboard shortcut, you can hide and bring up the Dock without changing the system settings. We need more space on the screen - the panel was removed, there is a need to work with the programs placed on it - called with the help of a keyboard shortcut. At the same time in the settings you do not change anything.

Extended menu

The simplest function that the Option key on a Mac performs is expanding the menu. For example, if you click the Wi-Fi connection icon in the usual way, only information about available networks will open.Using Option, the same icon will give you full information about the existing connection. You can view the network security settings, your IP address, router address, connection speed, and more. In the same way, the volume icon menu allows you to select a sound playback or recording device and go to advanced settings.
apple keyboard option key on mac

Almost any system menu with the Option button pressed is changing the view, opening additional functions. By clicking it in the Finder's navigation pane, you can open the “Libraries” folder, which by default is hidden from the user. The context menu invoked for the Finder in the Dock panel will allow you to restart it forcibly without having to call up the general list of applications running on the system.

The options for using this great button on Mac OS are plenty. Anyone wishing to study in detail all the available keyboard shortcuts, can view their list on the Apple technical support page and choose the necessary and convenient ones to work with.


From our material you have learned only some of the features that the Option key gives. On a Mac, it is simply irreplaceable, and some believe that it is the study of its properties that makes it a simple user of a real Macovod.Having learned more about the capabilities of the operating system you are using, you have already become one foot on the path that at the end will turn you into a confident user who can cope with any computer task.

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