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How to Undo and Redo on a Mac

Key Takeaways

  • Keyboard shortcuts are the fastest way to undo and redo actions on your Mac. The shortcuts are Cmd + Z for undo and Shift + Cmd + Z for redo.
  • You can also access the undo and redo actions through the Edit menu in most Mac apps. Simply click on Edit and select Undo or Redo.
  • If you accidentally delete a file, you can use Time Machine or iCloud to restore it. If you haven’t backed up your Mac, there are still ways to recover lost files using data recovery software.


The undo and redo actions in macOS let you quickly correct any mistakes you make while using your Mac—but there are actually a number of ways to access them.

Learn all the keyboard shortcuts and menu options at your disposal so you can quickly undo your errors, including any undo actions you do by mistake—that’s where the redo button can save you just as much time and effort as the undo button!


Mac Keyboard Shortcuts for Undo and Redo Commands

Often, the fastest way to perform an action on your Mac is to use a keyboard shortcut. The undo and redo shortcuts are among the most important Mac keyboard shortcuts. These shortcuts work in basically all Mac apps.

For undo, the keyboard shortcut is Cmd + Z. For redo, the keyboard shortcut is Shift + Cmd + Z.

It can be useful to have such similar shortcuts, as you’re more likely to remember them. But if you find them too close or prefer to use redo without an additional key, you can always remap your Mac keys to change them.

Undo and redo options visible under Edit menu in Pages on a MacBook Pro

Undo and redo aren’t only available from keyboard shortcuts on a Mac. You can also access and activate them within app menus.

About 99% of the time, you’ll find the undo and redo actions under the Edit menu of a Mac app. Simply click on Edit, and then select Undo or Redo from there to perform the action.

Undo is often listed right above redo, so you don’t have to go far to find one or the other.

In certain apps, the undo and redo menu listings may tell you what action you’ll be undoing or redoing if you select them. This might be undoing typing or redoing the movement of a file or object.

Apps like Microsoft Word also have undo and redo buttons in their main app windows. These buttons often look like arching arrows, the undo one facing left while the redo one facing right.

Undo and redo buttons visible in Word on Mac

You can use these buttons to undo and redo any actions you’ve taken on your Mac as well, like moving a file to a different folder or the Trash.

Not every app will have these exact layouts and buttons, but at least you can always check the Edit menu and use keyboard shortcuts to perform the actions too!

How to Undo File Deletions on a Mac

Time Machine local snapshot of Finder Documents folder on MacBook Pro

Sometimes, you may perform an action that’s irreversible even if you hit the undo button. This can include emptying the Trash, which permanently deletes files.

However, there’s a workaround to undo the changes you made, like deleting a file you didn’t mean to delete.

If you back up your Mac with Time Machine, you can go into your Time Machine backup disk to find previous versions of the document you deleted and click the Restore button to put the document back on your Mac.

Even if you haven’t plugged in your backup disk for a while, your Mac saves local snapshots every hour once you start using Time Machine. You can go through these snapshots and hit the Restore button there to save files as well.

If you save files to iCloud, you can recover deleted files from there too. Log into iCloud.com, click on the grid of squares icon at the top-right corner, and select Data Recovery.

Restore Files from iCloud Drive

Click on Restore Files, and find and select the file you want to bring back from the list that appears. Then click Restore to put it back on your computer.

Other backup software and cloud storage services will offer similar options to Time Machine and iCloud for file restoration. If you don’t back up your Mac, we highly recommend you start doing that right away so you have these options in the future.

But for files you’ve lost before you start backing things up, there’s still a chance of recovery. Once the Trash is emptied, the deleted files still take up some storage space until your Mac starts overwriting that space when you make and save other documents and data.

So first, don’t use your Mac for much of anything to avoid that overwriting. Next, get your hands on data recovery software to dig down into your Mac and find the file you want to get back.

Once it’s located, you should be able to add the missing file back to your computer via the data recovery software and use it again as much as you want!

Undo and Redo: Simple but Important Actions

Being able to undo and redo actions you’ve done on your Mac is a major blessing and something your Mac was designed to allow for in basically all situations.

Mistakes, even severe ones, don’t have to be permanent. So long as you know how to undo and redo and a little bit about how your computer stores data, you can correct basically any error.

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