6 Replies Latest reply: Jan 22, 2013 8:13 AM by macjack
Curlygee Level 1 (10 points)

Can someone help me with a really basic question about using Finder? I don't understand the keyboard shortcut shown in the File menu for 'Open' (or, maybe I understand but there is a problem). To me the keyboard shortcut shown for Open looks like an arrow that starts going right and then returns to the left. I had thought this to be a symbol for the 'return', a.k.a 'enter', key. However, when I use the return key it puts the name of the selected file into edit mode, rather than opening the file.

If I use the file menu and select the Open command the selected file opens as normal. If I go to help and search for help, it directs attention to the File/Open command and opens the selected file as normal.

By the way, I understand that there have been alternatives for opening files in OSX over the years including Command-O and Command-downarrow. These shortcuts are not as short, or as intuitive to me, as using the return key. So the return key shortcut would be much preferred.

MacBook Pro, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.1)
  • macjack Level 9 (50,735 points)

    The Open command is command-o

  • macjack Level 9 (50,735 points)

    From Apple Help...


    Use global keyboard shortcuts


    You can use keyboard shortcuts to quickly perform tasks on your computer by pressing keys on your keyboard. You can disable or change many of the computer’s “global” keyboard shortcuts, which are shortcuts that work the same in most apps (for example, taking a picture of the screen by pressing Command-Shift-3).

    Changing or disabling a shortcut may be useful if, for example, one of the global shortcuts is used by a specific app for a different purpose. In this case, you can either disable the shortcut that you do not need, or assign it a different key combination.

    Note: You can create keyboard shortcuts only for existing menu commands. You cannot define keyboard shortcuts for general purpose tasks such as opening an app or switching between apps.


    1. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, and then click Keyboard.
    2. Click Keyboard Shortcuts.
    3. Select the action in the Description list that you want to change.
    4. Double-click the characters in the Shortcut column, and press the new key combination that you want to use.You cannot use each type of key (for example, a letter key) more than once in a key combination.
    5. Quit and restart any apps you’re using for the new keyboard shortcut to take effect.

    To disable a shortcut, deselect the checkbox next to its description in the list.

    If you want to return all the shortcuts to their original key combinations, click Restore Defaults.

  • Curlygee Level 1 (10 points)

    Perhaps I was hallucinating (wishful thinking?), but after I tried to set up 'Return' (not a valid shortcut) and Command-Return (still just puts in edit mode) as keyboard shortcuts and then got rid of these attempts, the default short cut of Command-O returned to the File Menu/Open.  idk,maybe at some point in the past I managed  to make 'return' a shortcut and this damaged the Command-O default.

    So, even if I create an alternative shortcut for 'Open', then 'Open' no longer opens the file, but instead puts the selection in name edit mode.

    I'm back to resigning myself to the fact that Finder does not and will not work like I want it to.  I wish Finder would be more consistent with Mail or bookmarks or, heck, Menus!: Return opens the selection.

    Thanks anyway for taking the time to respond.

  • macjack Level 9 (50,735 points)

    Perhaps a funky preference...


    Go to your Finder "Go" menu hold the option key and choose Library. Then go to Preferences folder and trash this file:



    Then, restart, or log out and in again.

    (You may have to reset a few finder prefs the way you like them.)

  • Curlygee Level 1 (10 points)

    Tried trashing the finder.plist, but same results.  Stuck with Command-O as the shortcut.

    Is there a place to enter a suggestion to Apple like a software modification request?


    Message was edited by: Curlygee

  • macjack Level 9 (50,735 points)

    You can file feedback here.