Ctrl alt delete keys

We Windows users have long been used to the “three-fingered salute” of Ctrl-Alt-Del when we want to close a frozen program

So what’s the equivalent for a Mac? The quick option is known as “force quitting” and the options are as follows:

To force quit a single program

  • Click on the Apple (top lefthand corner)
  • Click on Force Quit
  • Highlight the relevant program
  • Click on Force Quit

or

  • From the keyboard, use the shortcut of simultaneously pressing Cmd-Option-Esc
  • Highlight the relevant program
  • Click on Force Quit

To Force Quit several programs at once (or even all the open programs):

  • Click on the Apple (top lefthand corner)
  • Click on Force Quit
  • Depress the Cmd key and, while it is still pressed, click on all the programs to be closed
  • Click on Force Quit

or

  • From the keyboard, use the shortcut of simultaneously pressing Cmd-Option-Esc
  • Depress the Cmd key and, while it is still pressed, click on all the programs to be closed
  • Click on Force Quit

To force quit a program using the Mac’s dock:

  • Right-click on the program’s icon in the dock
  • Depress the option key (the option to “quit” will now change to “force quit”)
  • Click on “Force Quit”

And what if “right-clicking” does nothing?

I have often been surprised by Mac users being able to use their computers efficiently without having “right-click” enabled. This is probably just because I have been a dyed-in-the-wool Windows user for decades. On all Windows computers, we just take it for granted that right-clicking will bring up a “context menu”. Not surprsingly, a context menu is a menu whose contents depend on the current context. The only options that will be presented are those that make sense depending on where your cursor was when you right-clicked.

Mac - two-fingered tapOn a Mac, right-clicking (or “Secondary clicking”) might work by default and it might not. The way to access a context menu if clicking on the right button of your mouse doesn’t work (or if your mouse doesn’t even have a right button) is by depressing the “Ctrl” key at the same time as clicking the left (or only) mouse button. This has always struck me as being a bit ungainly (a bit like tapping your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time).

If you are using a trackpad instead of a mouse, then tapping with two fingers on the trackpad may conjure up a context menu. If it doesn’t, then you need to go into the “trackpad” option of System Preferences as described below. Alternatively, if you’ve ever used the right-click of a mouse to open a context menu then you may find it more intuitive to set up the trackpad to invoke a context menu when tapping on the bottom righthand corner of the trackpad instead.

Setting up a trackpad to invoke a context menu is achieved as follows (see illustration):

  • Click on the Apple (top lefthand corner)
  • Click on “System Preferences”
  • Click on “Trackpad”
  • Click on the “Point & Click” tab
  • Tick the box next to “Secondary Click”
  • Click the “v” next to the current choice for Secondary Click and click against the desired option
  • Click on the red circle to close the window

Mac - setting up a secondary click

By the way, closing a program in Windows is achieved via the “Task Manager” (invoked with Ctrl-Alt-Del). “Force quitting” is the quick way to despatch an errant program on a Mac, but Mac OS does have its own equivalent of the “Task Manager”. It’s called the “Activity Monitor”. You can get at it via Finder by going to Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor.

© 2011-2018 David Leonard
Computer Support in London
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