Apple Mac Undo Arrow on a blue background

Whenever you make a mistake on your Mac, it’s easy to take a step back with Undo. And if you change your mind, you can Redo the last command just as easily in most apps. Here’s how to use them.

Undo: An Easy Way to Fix Mistakes

If you’ve ever make a typo in Pages, draw the wrong stroke in Photoshop, or even move a file to the wrong location in Finder, you can fix all of these mistakes—and more—using a universal command called “Undo” that is built into most Mac apps. When you perform an Undo, you’re undoing the last action and restoring something to how it was before you made the change.

Similarly, Redo allows you to repeat the last action you performed before the Undo, allowing you to change your mind and repeat your last change. Redo is almost an undo for Undo, if that makes sense.

In the Mac lineage, Undo originated software for the the Xerox Alto computer created in the 1970s—specifically, in a word processor called Bravo. Apple borrowed many interface elements from Alto software when designing the Apple Lisa (1983), and many of those traditions carried forward to the Macintosh one year later. Today, Undo and Redo are basically a universal part of computer interfaces on every major computer platform.

RELATED: Macintosh System 1: What Was Apple's Mac OS 1.0 Like?

How to Undo and Redo Using the “Edit” Menu

One of the easiest ways to perform an Undo action is by using an option in the menu bar at the top of your Mac’s screen. When you need to Undo, select “Edit” in the menu bar, then choose “Undo” in the menu that pops up.

To Undo on a Mac, select Edit > Undo in the menu bar.

Advertisement

“Undo” is almost always the very first option, and sometimes the “Undo” command will change to include the action you’re undoing, such as “Undo Move” or “Undo Typing.”

Similarly, you can also perform a Redo using the Edit menu. Click “Edit” in the menu bar, then select “Redo” in the list. It’s usually the second option in the menu.

To Redo on a Mac, select Edit > Redo in the menu bar.

If you don’t see Undo or Redo in the menu bar—or a menu bar at all, for that matter—you can usually still perform an Undo or Redo using two keyboard shortcuts, which we’ll cover below.

How to Undo and Redo Using Your Keyboard

If you’d like to use a keyboard shortcut to Undo the previous action you just performed, press Command+Z on your Mac keyboard. This is equivalent to selecting Edit > Undo in the menu bar. (It’s also similar to pressing Ctrl+Z on a Windows PC.)

To Undo on a Mac, press Command+Z on your keyboard.

After performing an Undo, you can usually also Redo the last action by pressing Shift+Command+Z on your keyboard. This is equivalent to selecting Edit > Redo in the menu bar.

To Redo on a Mac, press Shift+Command+Z on your keyboard.

Very simple. Use Undo and Redo as much as you’d like. Some apps have multiple levels of Undo, where you can go back dozens of steps, while others only have one. Good luck!

RELATED: Undo an Accidental Move or Delete With a Keyboard Shortcut in Windows Explorer

Profile Photo for Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is an Associate Editor for How-To Geek. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
Read Full Bio ยป

The above article may contain affiliate links, which help support How-To Geek.