When I press cmd-q or cmd-w on an app, sometimes I get a popup like:

enter image description here

I just want to quit the app as fast as possible, I want to select the "Revert Changes" or "Don't Save" etc. equivalents without having to move my hand to my mouse/trackpad, move the mouse cursor to the button on the screen, and click.

I don't want to have to take my hands off of the keyboard.

cmd-backspace used to work for me

But it doesn't anymore, at least not in Preview.app.

What's the new solution in Catalina?

  • Have you checked this option: Command + Shift + Option + Esc (hold for three seconds)
    – Udhy
    Dec 13, 2019 at 10:09
  • @Udhy three seconds is a long time to me, for this kind of process. I'd prefer another answer for now.
    – minseong
    Dec 13, 2019 at 14:55

3 Answers 3


Press the Spacebar.

+ Backspace works if you are trying to choose “Don’t Save” but the Spacebar is what you want to select ‘Revert’.


You could use Keyboard Maestro to check which buttons exist and then press the appropriate one. For example, I've bound cmd+shift+w to check for "don't save" and a few other options. It will then use the press button action to press "don't save" or whatever

This will work as long as you add any new dialogues to your if/else statements. I have like 3 and it deals with 90% of cases.

If you need a super generalized solution, you could just hit the appropriate number of tabs and then hit space. The problem with this is that sometimes there are a lot of extra fields in between the start and the "don't save" button

  • I always like a Keyboard Maestro solution, especially because then you can use the same keystroke and know it will have the same result.
    – TJ Luoma
    Dec 14, 2019 at 0:16
  • KM is one of the best things that ever happened to me. Everyone should use it unless they are really, really good at coding. Dec 14, 2019 at 19:14

Most Apple dialog buttons have key shortcuts. In the old days, if you held down Command, you would see what the shortcuts were in the button text.

Enter will activate the default button, which is filled in with a colour (usually Blue).
Escape activates Cancel.
Space will activate the current highlighted button, if you've got tabbing through menu items turned on. It may also select the 'non-default, non-cancel' action by default.
Command S activates "Save".

In Applications that don't use Apple's Auto-save and Versioning, Command D activates "Don't Save". Otherwise, it selects the Desktop as the file location.

Command Backspace works when you try to close an Untitled document that's been auto-saved: then the choice will be to Delete it, or Save it with a name.

  • Command+D has not been “Don’t Save” for a long time now. Command+R does not select the “Revert” option either.
    – TJ Luoma
    Dec 13, 2019 at 20:50
  • It works in apps that have a "Don't Save" button, as opposed to "Delete". I can't replicate your "Revert" button: presumably you've changed the handling of auto-save?
    – benwiggy
    Dec 14, 2019 at 9:23

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