Option Key Followup

Yesterday’s article on the Option Key ⌥ was super informative. I just wanted to flesh out a few of the things he mentioned and a couple I dicovered through experimentation. I have used the Option Key modifier for years, but for some reason some of this stuff just seems like an epiphany to me right now.


The Finder

Some of this info was mentioned in the previous article, but sometimes a picture is worth 1,000 words, know what I mean.

Here are some screenshots of ways to use the Option Key modifier in the Finder. Lets take the File Menu for instance:

That is a normal File Menu. But, when you press the Option Key some of the commands change, like so (changes are underlined):

You may not use these changes, but then again you may use some of them. I know for certain I will be using the “Always Open With” command. By the way, the difference between the “Duplicate Exactly” and the regular “Duplicate” command is that “Duplicate Exactly” retains the same ownership of the file, “Duplicate” does not do that. They both keep the same permissions, but if you wished to retain the exact owenership of a file you would hold down the Option Key and select “Duplicate Exactly”. A bit arcane right? But, you never know.

There is another command people may use from time to time and that is getting into their User Library accessed via the”Go” menu. Here is the typical “Go” menu:

Click on it and select where you would like to go. If you hold down the Option Key modifier it displays your User Library like so:

You can see that the Library folder is revealed here. There are other Finder commands revealed using the Option Key, but I wanted to move on to a couple of Menubar items.

The Menubar

Roll your mouse over the WiFi symbol in the menubar. If you click on it, it drops down a list of WiFi networks. I am sure you have seen this before. But, it you hold down the Option Key first, then click on it a list of some network information is provided, like so:

Even though it is grayed out you can still read it. I can tell you from experience I have needed a computer’s network IP Address, WiFi Security settings and WiFi Channel in times past. YMMV, but there is some useful info here.

One other small item is under the Time Machine backup. Of course I am assuming you are keeping these items in your Menubar. If you click on the Time Machine icon it lets you “Backup Now”, Enter Time Machine” or “Open Time Machine Preferences”. If you hold down the Option Key you are presented with this additional option:

Yeah, I know, you only have one Time Machine backup and don’t need this. But, some people do. I just talked to a friend the other day and helped him setup Time Machine backups for 3 Macs on his newly erased Time Machine drive. If you needed to browse for other Time Machine backups you can easily do so by holding down the Option Key.


I realize some of this info is a bit repetitive from Mr. Levitus’s article, but it is just my way of enouraging you to experiment with the Option Key. Not just in the Finder, but try it in all your misison critial apps. It may help streamline your workflow and save you a little bit of time. And, you can impress friends and family with your superior knowledge of the Mac OS!