Which keys can I press to bring up the locked screen save while I walk away for a few minutes?
I have an external keyboard (MS Comfort Curve 2000) thru a multi pc switcher box so I have ctrl-cmd-alt keys but no option key and everything I've tried so far doesn't work.

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    There's no default shortcut for it (unless you count ⌃⇧⏏ and ⌥⌘⏏ when requiring a password after sleep is enabled), but see Is there a quick way to lock my Mac?. One option would be assign a custom shortcut to /System/Library/CoreServices/Menu\ Extras/User.menu/Contents/Resources/CGSession -suspend. – Lri Jul 30 '12 at 13:18
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    FWIW, Alt and Option are the same key. – Daniel Jul 30 '12 at 13:46

You can use Control + Shift + Eject to put your display to sleep but also to lock your screen. If you don't have an Eject key, you need to use an Automator based workaround to assign your own shortcut. Alternatively, you can set a Hot Corner for the screensaver to start in System Preferences.

For the locking to work, you have to tell OS X to require a password immediately after sleep in System Preferences > Security & Privacy:

When this is set, the above key combo will lock your screen and a password is required to unlock it.

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    this assumes the user has an Eject key; from his post it sounds like he is not using an Apple external keyboard as he doesn't have an Option key. – Stu Wilson Jul 30 '12 at 13:17
  • indeed, thanks. Updated the answer with the easiest workaround I could find by just using the Start Screensaver action – kremalicious Jul 30 '12 at 13:32

Open System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts -> App Shortcuts. Then click on the plus sign under the white box that has the different options in there. Name it 'Sleep' and give it the ⌘⌥F12 command (cmd + opt + F12). You can set it to whatever you like but most keyboards already map F12 to the eject key so if you get a different keyboard it may work already by default. Remember to also change your settings to require your password after a set time after going to sleep. Hope this helps, I searched for awhile to find out how to do this and couldn't find any good answers.enter image description here

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    This worked for me, so thanks for this. I had to close out of System Preferences before it would work--it doesn't seem to apply immediately. – Jason Wheeler Apr 10 '17 at 20:23
  • Glad that worked for you. Drove me insane trying to figure it out – Richi Jeffery Jun 20 '17 at 6:33
  • It does NOT work in certain apps even after defining ⌘⌥F12 shortcut - e.g. Google Chrome. Also - it works only with ⌘⌥F12 for me. – kosiara - Bartosz Kosarzycki Jan 24 '18 at 12:07

If you're up for using an external program, Karabiner-elements makes this super simple.

I've installed it and imported PC-Style Shortcuts, which maps it to Win+L.

Big benefit of Karabiner is that it's flexible enough that you can enable/disable this on a per-keyboard basis (I keep the defaults for my Mac keyboard, and use PC style on my external "Windows" keyboard). Also, you can enable-disable individual rules, or create your own shortcut.

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A bit out of the box but this could work:

If you have an iPhone or iPad you could set up iCloud and find my mac, iPhone, iPad. boot up the find my iPhone app on your iDevice and lock your mac from there while you walk away.

Or if your not afraid for some apple scripting and you have a bluetooth enabled mac you could use this script to lock your mac upon bluetooth disconnection. ( which also should work with an non apple phone ) more info about the scripting can be found here: Lock and unlock a Mac using Bluetooth detection

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