Modifier key order

I’ve learned a lot about the Mac from following Dr. Drang’s blog. A lot of what he talks about is over my head but some I’m able to pick up on and use in my daily workflow.

Did you know that there’s a proper order for stating the modifier keys in a keyboard shortcut? I didn’t. But I do now.

Dr. Drang explains the the proper modifier key order in stating a keyboard shortcut:

Control (⌃), Option (⌥), and Command (⌘) always go in that order. The oddball is the Shift(⇧) key, which sneaks in just in front of Command.

If you write about Mac keyboard shortcuts, as I did yesterday, you should know how to do it right. Just as there’s a proper order for adjectives in English, there’s a proper order for listing the modifier keys in a shortcut.

The order is similar to how you see them down at the bottom left of your keyboard.

The last bit of standard syntax is that the letter key in the shortcut (if there is a letter) is always presented as a capital, even when the Shift key isn’t used.

​When entering a keyboard shortcut, you’re not typing a letter, you’re pressing a set of physical keys on the keyboard in front of you. The symbols on the letter keys are capitals, so that’s the appropriate way to identify those keys.