Visual Studio for Mac for Windows users

Migrating from one operating system to another can be daunting. There are often subtle differences in cross-platform applications, from the user interface to the categorization of menu items. Users will also have the learning curve of acclimatizing to the new operating system's user interface. Here you'll learn the most common differences between Visual Studio for Mac and Visual Studio for Windows. You'll also learn a few different conventions between macOS and Windows.

Keyboard shortcuts

As developers, many of you will be accustomed to using the keyboard for your tasks and navigation. Some keys on the keyboard are common between Macs and Windows PCs. You could be forgiven for thinking that keyboard actions such as copy and paste use the same key combinations. This is not always the case. Fortunately, you can change your key bindings in Visual Studio for Mac to closely match those of Visual Studio in Windows.

The first time you run Visual Studio for Mac you'll see the keyboard shortcuts selection window: Key bindings window

If you want to change the key bindings later, you can find the setting in the preferences: Key bindings preferences

It's important to note that macOS uses different system-wide shortcuts to Windows. Changing the key binding preferences will allow you to use familiar Windows shortcuts in Visual Studio for Mac. However, in other areas of macOS you'll need to be familiar with macOS shortcuts.

The macOS Command (⌘) modifier key can commonly replace the Control key in Windows. Here are some examples, and other commonly used shortcuts:

Task Windows Shortcut macOS Shortcut
Copy Ctrl + C ⌘ + C
Paste Ctrl + V ⌘ + V
Cut Ctrl + X ⌘ + X
Undo Ctrl + Z ⌘ + Z
Redo Ctrl + Shift + Z ⌘ + Shift + Z
Delete right of cursor Delete fn + Backspace
Delete word Ctrl + Delete fn + ⌥ + Backspace

Tip

You can find a comprehensive list of macOS shortcuts on the Apple Support website.

Menus in macOS are organized differently than menus in Windows. Visual Studio for Mac is no exception. You can find some of the most common menu options here:

Task Visual Studio (Windows) Visual Studio for Mac
Preferences (Options) Tools > Options... Visual Studio > Preferences...
Extensions Extensions > Manage Extensions Visual Studio > Extensions...
Layouts Window > Apply Window Layout > [Select layout] View > [Select layout]
Updates Help > Check for Updates Visual Studio > Check for Updates...
NuGet Package Manager Tools > NuGet Package Manager > Manage NuGet Packages or Solution... Project > Manage NuGet Packages...
Pads / Windows View > [Select Pad / window] View > Pads > [Select pad / window]
Find tools Edit > Find and Replace > [Select tool] Search > [Select tool]
About Visual Studio Help > About Microsoft Visual Studio Visual Studio > About Visual Studio

Note

You can find an overview of most common features in Visual Studio for Mac in the IDE Tour