5 Quick Ways to Launch Apps Using Mac Keyboard

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Got a new Mac? Want to learn the fastest ways to open any app or start a new program. Launching an app from the Dock or double-clicking the app’s icon are not the only ways to get started. There are some alternatives and quick ways to open an app without taking your fingers off the keys. In this article, we will discuss different ways to launch an app using the keyboard. 


Use Spotlight if you want to launch apps quickly from the keyboard. Press Command + Space to launch Spotlight and then type in the first few letters of the app that you want to open. For example, type in SAF to launch the Safari browser. You will find Safari at the top of the list; enter Return to open the app. 

In case the app that you wish to launch is not on the top of the list, use the down arrow key to select it. Once you find the app, tap Return to open it. Well, it’s not required that you type the first few letters of the app each time you want to launch it. Instead, you can type the initials if the app consists of two names, such as GarageBand or Microsoft Word. 

Typing GB will allow you to enlist GarageBand while entering MW will display Microsoft Word in the Spotlight. 

Applications Folder

Another easy way to launch an app is without clicking its icon in the Applications folder. Press Option + Command + Space to launch the Finder window. In the Finder, press Command + Shift + A to open the Applications folder. As with Spotlight, you can type the first few letters or initials to search for an app, but it will not hide other apps that start with the same letter. 

For example, if you enter PR to search for Preview, the app will be selected unless you have another app starting with the same letters. Press Command + Down arrow keys to select an app and press the Return key to launch the app. 


In the Launchpad, the icons display the apps in an intuitive manner on the screen. If you are using a new Apple keyboard, press F4 to invoke Launchpad. On the older keyboards, press F4 to get to the Dashboard. For Trackpad, use the pinching motion gesture with your thumb and three fingers to invoke Launchpad. 

Some of the app icons will appear with a search field on top of them. When you start typing in the alphabets, they will automatically be placed into that Search field. Similar to the Spotlight and Applications, Launchpad also selects an app based on the character set you type in. Highlight the app your wish to open using the Arrow Keys and press Return to open it. 


A launcher app will help you to open apps efficiently using the keyboard and without navigating to the Dock. The best feature of the third-party launcher apps is that they handle other computing operations seamlessly without any interruption or hard-core system requirements. 

You can go through the file system and can open, copy, delete, or move files the way you want. Apps like LaunchBar, Alfred, QuickSilver, and Butler are there to make your tasks easier and simplify computing while improving productivity. To be able to launch apps quickly, it is recommended that you keep your computer clean from clutter. 


The Dock, as we know, allows MacBook users to launch frequently used apps quickly right from the desktop. You don’t have to navigate anywhere to search for the app and open it. Press and hold down the Control + Function + F3 keys to activate the Dock. 

You may also type in the first few alphabets or initials to select the app. All the apps starting with the same characters and initials will appear. Use the arrow keys to get to the app you wish to open. Once there, press the Return key to launch the app. At last, press the Esc key to dismiss the Dock. 


So, these were some of the fastest ways to launch any app on your Mac computers without searching for it or clicking its icon. Learning potential ways to use keyboard shortcuts to launch apps efficiently and perform other operations will boost your productivity multifold. 

Well, you should optimize your storage media regularly to be able to use the productivity tips proficiently. Any performance lags can come into the way of productivity, resulting in adverse outcomes.  

You can use another set of keyboard keys designed for particular apps to simplify your work on Mac. Browse the web to learn different shortcut keys and press Command + Shift + T to return to the recently closed tabs, in case you want to revisit.


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