Title says it all: how do I lock the screen using a keyboard shortcut on OS X Mountain Lion with a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000?

  • Does your keyboard have an eject button?
    – daviewales
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 22:32
  • As far as I can tell, it does not have an eject button.
    – mattvonb
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 22:44

17 Answers 17


I stand corrected, trach a man to fish:


  • This probably doesn't work for Mountain Lion, so this doesn't answer the question in a pedantic sense, but most people probably aren't using Mountain Lion anymore.
    – mattvonb
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 22:25

You do not need to use Third Party Apps to set a global short cut. You can use Automator Services,System Preferences keyboard Shortcuts and the CGSession -suspend command that switches to a login screen.

Use the Applescript :

do shell script "/System/Library/CoreServices/Menu\\ Extras/User.menu/Contents/Resources/CGSession -suspend"

in a Automator 'Service' like this with the set up as no input and all applications.

enter image description here

Save it and then go to the Keyboard System Preferences. -> Keyboard Shortcuts tab. Select Services on the right. And scroll down to the bottom on the left to 'General'. There you will see your service. Click the addShortCut. And give the service a shortcut. Clost system prefs.

enter image description here

You may need to quit some apps and re open them first for them to pick up the short cut for the first time. You can see the ones that have already picked it up..

enter image description here

Now try the shortcut from the keyboard.

  • I get really weird behavior in Mavericks with this method.
    – diimdeep
    Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 15:56
  • 4
    +1, this introduces some really useful general knowledge too! thanks! Commented Mar 20, 2014 at 21:33
  • 1
    @kermit666 yes. use: do shell script "/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/ScreenSaverEngine.app/Contents/MacOS/ScreenSaverEngine"
    – markhunte
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 17:12
  • 5
    If you want to immediately sleep your display, you can also just do a similar trick with a different shell command: pmset displaysleepnow.
    – Glyph
    Commented May 13, 2015 at 10:16
  • 1
    @Pavan - this answer explains exactly that. If you follow the instructions you will see they don't reference "power off" or "eject", just control, command, and right bracket.
    – Glyph
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 6:10

Or you can go to: Applications > Utilities > Keychain Access > Preferences > Show keychain status in menu bar.

This will put a lock in your menu bar and you can click Lock Screen to lock your screen. If you need a keyboard shortcut, you can add this in your keyboard under Settings.

Keychain Access menu

Also, here are steps to use a shortcut to put your computer in screen saver mode which locks your Mac at the same time.

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Select Security & Privacy.
  3. Select General.
  4. Be sure Require password [immediately] after sleep or screen saver begins is selected.
  5. Go to your applications folder.
  6. Open Automator.
  7. Select Services on the screen that appears.
  8. At the top of the new Service's actions, in the Service receives drop-down, select no input from the options. Make sure that any application is selected in the second drop-down.
  9. Add the Start Screensaver action (in the Utilities group of actions) to the Service by dragging it to the right.
  10. Save the Service (Automator does not ask you where to save it, just to name it Logout for example).
  11. Next, open System Preferences again and select the Keyboard preference pane. Select the Shortcuts tab at the top, then the Services group on the left.
  12. The service you created should be near the bottom of the list of Services under the General disclosure triangle.
  13. Double-click on the right side of the entry for the Service you created and assign a keyboard shortcut.
  14. I chose Command-Shift-L for my shortcut.
  15. Exit the keyboard preference pane and give it a try.

You can always use Control+Shift+Eject (if you have a mac keyboard) or Control+Shift+Power on your mac to put your computer to sleep, but I don’t want that when I can just close the mba lid. We all know about hot corners, but I’m not a big fan of it as it always interferes with other options.

I had been using the lock menu icon for the longest time found in Applications > Utilities > Keychain Access > Preferences > Show keychain status in menu bar but it just takes too long sometimes to click that small icon when I’m in a rush since the target is so small.

  • Over a year late, but I added short cut details as requested.
    – Evan
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 13:22
  • What is "Utilities Folder" and where is it located?
    – Petr
    Commented Dec 10, 2015 at 12:44
  • Go to Applications folder > there you'll see a new folder called Utilities. Open that and you're all set
    – Evan
    Commented Dec 19, 2015 at 12:58
  • When in Finder, my machine was ignoring Control+Shift+L and Command+Shift+L was opening the Library, so I mapped to Command+Shift+Pause/Break and that worked. Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 22:08

UPDATE - 2021 answer is - ctrl-win-q

legacy below I used KeyRemap4Macbook to remap the pause/break key to eject. KeyRemap4Macbook is free, and it shows up in System Preferences after installing.

shift+ctrl+pause/break does the trick now.

screenshot from keyRemap4macbook

For newer versions of the OS (Sierras, El Cap) there is the new Karabiner-Elements with a slightly different interface:

screenshot from Karabiner-Elements

**Please note that KeyRemap4Macbook is now called Karabiner with the same functionality.

**update for Sierra - Karabiner ** new karabiner edit

  • I downloaded this and it came with a lot of malware.
    – mac10688
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 14:47
  • 1
    Can you list specific malware? I have been using karabiner for three years, installing all updates, and have never had anything extra come along. Here is the official: pqrs.org/osx/karabiner Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 16:03
  • The creator, Takayama Fumihiko, has this to say: "Unfortunately, I don't have enough reputation to comments. If you can, please tell to mac10688 that he/she must download binary from official site. pqrs.org And Karabiner is an open source project and designed with security in mind. github.com/tekezo/Karabiner " Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 17:13

Assuming your keyboard has an eject button, you need to go to System Preferences, and click on "Security & Privacy", then click on the "General" tab, then select the checkbox that says "Require password immediately after sleep or screensaver begins". Now you can lock your computer by pressing Control-Shift-Eject. This puts the computer to sleep, but because we've told it to lock on sleep, it also locks it.

If your computer doesn't have an eject button, you will need to create your own custom shortcut. Unfortunately, you can only create shortcuts for menu items and services. Fortunately you can create a service to put the display to sleep (and thus lock the screen), and you can assign a shortcut to the service. For instructions on how to do this, see this Macworld page.

  • 1
    There is no eject button on the keyboard. (Or if there is, I cannot find it.) Also, I do not want the computer to sleep, only to be locked.
    – mattvonb
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 22:43
  • You can replace the Eject button with the Power button. (If the keyboard has a power button...)
    – daviewales
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 22:46
  • 1
    The keyboard also does not have a power button.
    – mattvonb
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 22:48
  • There is an article here which shows you how to create your own custom shortcut. hints.macworld.com/article.php?story=20090831093941225
    – daviewales
    Commented Dec 5, 2012 at 23:09

Open System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts -> App Shortcuts. Click on +. Select All Application for Application, enter Sleep for Menu Title, press the desired shortcut in the Keyboard Shortcut field. Click on Add. See the Apple menu (an apple icon in the top left corner). The Sleep entry should show the shortcut you have defined. The shortcut should work right away.


Note that Finder and possibly some other applications would only react to the shortcut after the reboot.

  • Very straightforward on El Capitan. There is no restart required for this to work even for finder.
    – Luke Exton
    Commented Dec 19, 2016 at 21:12
  • This is by far the most simple solution, thank you. Commented Jun 6, 2017 at 13:22

You can easily add the padlock icon to your menu bar:

open /Applications/Utilities/Keychain\ Access.app/Contents/Resources/Keychain.menu

You can also add it through Keychain Access prefs. ;)


Control+Shift+Eject is the keystroke for Macs with an Eject key, and for external keyboards Control+Shift+Power is the keystroke for Macs without the eject key, like the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Retina


  • 1
    Where is the eject key on the Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000?
    – mattvonb
    Commented Sep 19, 2013 at 16:20

By default, you can use Ctrl+Command+Q.

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    – fsb
    Commented Sep 14, 2018 at 20:56
  • upvoting here as this is standard in the latest MacOSs - Catalina, at the time of this comment. Thank goodness Apple added an easy shortcut. Commented Nov 15, 2019 at 14:13

You can also log out to the fast user switching screen, but it doesn't turn off displays. Just assign a shortcut to this shell command:

/System/Library/CoreServices/Menu\ Extras/user.menu/Contents/Resources/CGSession -suspend

If you have the Alfred Powerpack, you can give the lock action a shortcut in the hotkeys tab:

  • there are 100 articles pointing to a workaround. This is actually the answer I was looking for because I don't freaking want to set the "require password" to "immediately". +100 points Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 9:09
  • It's a good solution, but unfortunately, it makes the iTunes halt the currently playing track, in contrast to the Keychain "Lock Screen" method.
    – Elad Nava
    Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 21:30

Note that there's also an alternative method which frees you of remembering obscure key combinations and uses English (or other) words instead: with Alfred or possibly Quicksilver (not sure tho), you can invoke actions such as locking the screen, all via a single hotkey and a bunch of commands in plain language. OSX's Spotlight is moving in the same direction — but I'm not sure if it's quite there yet; though you probably can run AppleScript files with it.


You can install the tiny, free SleepDisplay application, and assign it to any key in the Microsoft Keyboard section of System Preferences.


@markhunte's answer is good, but it falls short when you're in an app that doesn't have a "Services" menu (e.g., Calculator).

Instead of using System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts to assign the shortcut, I use Apptivate: it's a free, lightweight utility whose only purpose is to run a command when you press a hotkey sequence.

Once you've created a "Lock Screen" service in Automator (as described by @markhunte's answer), you simply add it to Apptivate:

Empty Apptivate menu

When the "Open" dialog is displayed, press CMD+SHIFT+G (Go to Folder) and enter ~/Library/Services:

Go to Folder dialog

Then select the Automator service you created earlier:

Select Automator service

Finally, assign a keyboard shortcut to the service:

Apptivate keyboard shortcut menu

And that's it! Now you have a "Lock Screen" keyboard shortcut that can be used in any application.


My system version is Yosemite 10.10.5. And the method posted by markhunte is still working except that you need input username everytime after you suspend the system. It's a little annoying to me. So changed the script from:

do shell script "/System/Library/CoreServices/Menu\\ Extras/User.menu/Contents/Resources/CGSession -suspend"


tell application "System Events" to sleep

This script just simulates that you click the sleep menu item of system menu.

  • 1
    This sleeps the entire computer, it doesn't just lock the screen (and keep it running).
    – Elad Nava
    Commented Jan 2, 2016 at 21:31

If you use the new MacBook Pro or a Windows / external keyboard, use a program like Karabiner Elements to map from a key you choose to "Eject", so that the good old CTRL-SHIFT-EJECT works.

For example:

Karabiner Elements


There's a little app which does the trick — http://keylock.io



Using an original iMac orange keyboard on a 2011 MacBook Pro.

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