Meta c.f. Ctrl / Shift / Alt


Windows has Ctrl, Shift, and Alt keyboard modifiers.

What does OSX have? It has some magical “Meta” key plus what? What does the “Meta” key that crops up beside Interface shortcut menu items correspond to in Windows?


There is no such thing as the meta key in OS X. The meta modifier is a construct of emacs the editor. In OS X, the emacs meta modifier often has a key map binding to the option key, though some people bind the meta modifier to the ESC key. The terminal app also has a meta modifier, but again, it’s not part of the OS X, key bindings. In OS X there are the following modifiers:
Option (aka Alt)

I truly wish Interface were not polluted with emacs terminology because it is hard enough to get key map equivalency between Windows and OS X.

Usually the equivalency bindings between windows and OS X are:

OS X        Windows

Control       Ctrl
Option        Alt
Command  Windows_Key 

Unfortunately, the semantics of these modifiers are not exactly the same between the two OSes: