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I'd like to press a key combo to get my computer to the lock screen. In Windows the shortcut was Windows key + L. On Mac I press CMD+ALT+Power which turns the laptop off and puts it into sleep. I want to just have it go to the lock screen with the monitor staying on.

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I think this question might help. –  Ashley Jul 8 '13 at 0:33

5 Answers 5

You can add the Lock Screen to your Menubar.

  • In Spotlight (Command + Space) search for Keychain Access
  • Open Preferences (Command + Comma)
  • Check Show Status in Menu Bar This will show a lock in your Menu Bar with an option Lock Screen


  • System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts
  • In the Application Shortcuts add a new item for All Applications with the Menu Title of Lock Screen and a Keyboard shortcut that you like. enter image description here

This way you dont have to change your Screensaver timeout and you can lock your machine much like you do in windows.

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First, you should enable requiring the password when the screen saver or display sleep begins.

To do that go to

screenshot of Security & Privacy > General

Now, when you press the key combination control+shift+power (control+shift+ on some systems) to put the screen to sleep, it will also lock the screen.

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Yeah, I don't want it blacking my screen and keyboard out. I thought I made that clear in the OP. –  eveo Jul 9 '13 at 15:00

Quoting myself from https://github.com/tjluoma/lockscreen:

  1. Download and install FastScripts (which is free for up to 10 keyboard shortcuts)

  2. Download and install LockScreen.scpt and save it to ~/Library/Scripts/ (you may have to create that folder if you haven't used it before.

  3. Assign the keyboard shortcut of your choice to LockScreen.scpt within FastScripts preferences:

FastScripts preferences screenshot

Note: while the OP did not want to sleep the screen display, that can easily be done too. Just download Sleep Display and install it to /Applications/ and use SleepAndLockScreen.scpt instead of LockScreen.scpt.

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I use BetterTouchTool to do just this. Once downloaded and running:

  • Click the "Keyboard" tab and select "Global" in the left-hand "Select Application" pane
  • Click "+ Add new keyboard shortcut" at the bottom of the shortcut list
  • Click the "Keyboard shortcut" recording field and hold down the keys you wish to use for the shortcut, I use + L (which feels most like the Windows key + L on Windows systems)
  • Click the "Trigger predefined action" dropdown and select "Open application/file/script..."
  • Navigate to /System/Library/Frameworks/Screensaver.framework/Versions/A/Resources and select "ScreenSaverEngine.app" and click "Open"

Now hitting + L will trigger the screensaver (and lock the computer, provided you followed the advice in the answer from @Buscar 웃 above to require the password when the screen saver or display sleep begins). You can also set BetterTouchTool to launch when the computer starts so your hotkey always works.

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Logging out to the fast user switching screen:

  • Add a shell alias or a keyboard shortcut for /System/Library/CoreServices/Menu\ Extras/User.menu/Contents/Resources/CGSession -suspend.
  • Enable the fast user switching menu from the Users & Groups preference pane, and then select Login Window… from the menu.
  • Use the lock action in Alfred.

Locking the screen:

  • Check "Require password immediately after sleep or screen saver begins" in the Security & Privacy preference pane. You can then lock the computer manually by pressing control-shift-eject to turn off displays, by pressing option-command-eject to go to sleep, or by running open -a ScreenSaverEngine.
  • Enable the Keychain menu extra in the preferences of Keychain Access, and then select Lock Screen from the menu.
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