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Grow Your Business Technology

How-To Guide: Switching from a PC to a Mac

business computers
It can take weeks to get used to the quirks of working on a Mac. / Credit: Shutterstock

If you're transitioning from a PC to a Mac, you should expect a slight learning curve. Some individuals find the process unintuitive and frustrating at first. However, once you've adapted to the variation between the two operating systems, you'll appreciate what Apple computers have to offer. This guide will make it a little easier for you, or your employees, to get the hang of working on a Mac after years of using a PC. 

Chances are you have a lot of data on your old machine. Transferring data from a PC to a Mac isn't complicated, but it does require using Windows Migration Assistant. These step-by-step instructions make transferring all your files simple. 

One of the most common complaints PC users have when they switch to Macs is that none of their favorite keyboard shortcuts work. The good news is Macs have many of the same shortcuts as PCs; you just access them differently. This printable chart (it's a JPEG) is handy to keep nearby when you're first making the switch. 

 

 

For a comprehensive list of more advanced Mac keyboard shortcuts, check out Apple's guide.

Mac desktops and laptops don't have a right and left button on the mouse/trackpad, but you can still do the equivalent of right-clicking on a Mac. You can hold down the Command key while clicking on the mouse to right-click. And if you're using a laptop, you can just tap the trackpad with two fingers instead of one to produce a right-click effect. 

Finder is a great way to get to know your new Mac. The Finder icon can be accessed from your main desktop dock (the bar of icons at the bottom of the screen), and it looks like this: 

 

Credit: Apple

 

You can use Finder to organize your documents, photos and files, and locate things when you misplace them. Within Finder, you can change the view of your files and move items to your iCloud Drive or to AirDrop. 

To quickly search for something on your computer without opening the Finder app, you can use the Spotlight tool in the upper right corner of your screen, it looks like this:  

Credit: Apple

All you do is type and search, just like you would if you were using Cortana or an online search engine.

Before you shell out money for Apple-compatible licenses of Microsoft Office, you may want to check out the programs that come preloaded on every Mac machine. Safari is for surfing the web. Numbers is Apple's version of Excel. Pages is Apple's version of Word, and Keynote is Apple's version of PowerPoint. 

It should be noted that power Excel users probably won't be satisfied with Numbers because it's not as robust (don't even think about doing data analysis or using it in tandem with Python or R), but if your primary Excel use is for basic budget and revenue tracking, it should suffice. All in all, switching from a PC to a Mac isn't difficult, it just takes a little time, know-how and patience. 

Mona Bushnell

Mona Bushnell is a New York City-based Staff Writer for Tom’s IT Pro and Business News Daily. She has a B.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College and has previously worked as an IT Technician, a Copywriter, a Software Administrator, a Scheduling Manager and an Editorial Writer. Mona began freelance writing full-time in 2014 and joined the Purch team in 2017.