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Firstly, let me say that there's two questions on Think Different that claim to answer this question but do not:

  1. Does the MacBook Air have a Fast User Switching (Login Window) shortcut key? The answer to this question seems to "lock" the mac, but doesn't invoke the "Login Window..." command.
  2. Can I assign a keyboard shortcut to bring up the Mac OS X Login Window? The answer to this question provides a shortcut which initiates a log out, not a user fast switch.

So, is there a shortcut for this command?


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Duplicate of Is there a quick way to lock my Mac?. Personally, I use BetterTouchTool and assign a keyboard shortcut to lock the screen. – iolsmit Jan 26 '12 at 23:36
hey @iolsmit,no it's not a duplicate, as that locks it. I'm interested in fast user switching. The answer is below and seems to be "no" :-( – andy Jan 27 '12 at 0:19
See Fast User Switching/Apple Menu? on Super User. – Arjan Jan 2 '14 at 21:06
up vote 16 down vote accepted

The short answer is no. OS X Lion doesn't have a way to assign a keyboard shortcut to Fast User Switching (which is going to the Login Window without logging off the current user).

There are, however, various alternatives to achieve that. You've pointed to different workarounds (I haven't tested those), I'll name a few more:

  • What I use: Launchbar. Simply invoke it, type "log.." and you already have the option to press enter to go to the login window, can't get much faster than that (you could assign a shortcut to that if you wish).

  • Although I haven't used it in a while, the "competitor" Alfred + Powerpack had something similar, the command was "lock" as far as I can remember.

  • BetterTouchTool: recommended by other users (I've seen this app in friend's Macs but never used it myself). It will also do what you want (shortcut to go to the Login Screen). It's been also recommended in the answers you linked. I add it here for reference and because someone mentioned it in the comments by @Steven Fischer

  • Using pure Scripting like the one used here. Note however, that most of the scripts that you will find, will make you write and hardcode the account's password, which is not a good idea. But if you check there, there's an alternative that doesn't do that. I haven't tested that myself, but if that script works, assigning it to a keyboard shortcut via Automator/Service ought to be a simple task. This Super User answer better explains the process (thanks @andy)

In any case, there's no built in method by default, but as you can see, with some digging and/or third party, you can do it. Using something like Launchbar or Alfred is a good idea for other reasons anyway ;)

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Maybe this one is a better description for creating an Automator Service and assigning a keyboard shortcut. – iolsmit Jan 26 '12 at 23:47
@iolsmit yep, good catch. – Martín Marconcini Jan 26 '12 at 23:56
+1 Awesome Martin thanks! Yes, I'm using a workaround myself via Alfred. But I just wanted to know if there was a shortcut or not without an app. Thanks so much for the answer! – andy Jan 27 '12 at 0:17
You can also set up a keyboard shortcut for going to the login screen via BetterTouchTool. – Steven Fisher Jan 27 '12 at 0:50
+1 BetterTouchTool – qmmr Oct 28 '15 at 17:25

Control - Shift - Eject


Control - Shift - Power Button

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Control + Shift + Eject immediately sleeps the display on OS X 10.9; is this the behaviour you see? – Graham Miln Feb 1 '14 at 13:15
The only correct and simple answer. Strange nobody voted for this. – magikMaker May 9 '14 at 9:29
Thank you. This is essentially all I needed. Sleeps the computer and requires a password when awoken. The password part being the important bit. – Cory Danielson Aug 11 '14 at 19:36
@daniel, thx, this is it. – sabiland Oct 10 '15 at 6:14
Locked screen (screen saver, but with the displays immediately sleeping) is not the same as Login Window. Cool trick, but already addressed by the OP as not the solution they're looking for in their referenced “1. Does the MacBook Air have a Fast User Switching (Login Window) shortcut key?” – Slipp D. Thompson Apr 25 at 1:33

If you have the Alfred Powerpack, you could assign a shortcut to the Lock command (which logs out to the fast user switching screen):

Another option would be to save a shell script like this to ~/Library/Scripts/ and assign it a shortcut using FastScripts:


/System/Library/CoreServices/Menu\ Extras/ -suspend
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There is a fairly convenient, fully native way to do it, with only a small amount of setup. It's not a single keyboard shortcut, but it is a keyboard shortcut.


Put fast user switching into the menu bar, then enable a keyboard shortcut to focus it.


  1. Go to the Users & Groups pane in System Preferences, then to the Login Options section. Choose to show the fast user switching menu (in any form).

  2. Cmd-drag that new menu item as far left as possible. (This makes it the first to be selected by the keyboard shortcut, but really it can be placed anywhere.)

  3. Go to the Keyboard pane in System Preferences, then to the Keyboard Shortcuts tab. Continue to the Keyboard & Text Input category, and choose a shortcut for the "Move focus to status menus" item.


If you followed step 2, then pressing your keyboard shortcut will focus the fast user switching menu. You open the menu by pressing the down arrow, then select a choice with either enter or space.

This shortcut lets you directly select a user, so you can choose to bypass the login window or select it from the menu.

I would recommend a shortcut of control + fn + enter, as this puts your fingers on the return key, and hence just above the arrow keys. Plus, I don't know of any other shortcuts it would collide with.

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This should be the accepted answer b/c some people don't want the computer to go to sleep and others may not want to install software that does a million things just to do this done simple thing. – WattsInABox Dec 7 '15 at 18:50

There is a sleep command i Guess so. it's ctrl + shift + eject key. But you have to make sure in "Prefernces>Security & privacy> Reuiquire Password" is checked if you want password after sleep

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Not at all a need to go through so many workarounds when simply the following key combination (as rightly mentioned by @daniel answered Feb 1st, 2014) does the needful:

Ctrl + Shift + Eject

However, for some unknown reason, the same didn't work on my friend's Mac Mini. Even then, the following worked smoothly:

  • System Preferences
  • Security & Privacy
  • General
  • Require Password immediately after sleep or screen saver begins

After this, either:

Enable Screensaver after some time

or, just like I did:

Set "Start Screen Saver" as one of the screen "Hot Corners"

Now I simply use a Hot Corner before leaving my desk to lock the system.

PS: I guess, @daniel's answer should be marked/ticked as the correct one, as the current answer seems kinda redundant since new, relevant options negate the need for external tools. #JustSaying ;)

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