how to customize keyboard shortcuts on mac

How To Create Keyboard Shortcuts On Mac

how to customize keyboard shortcuts on macOne of the many reasons Apple Macs stand head and shoulders over Microsoft, is their infinite amount of keyboard shortcuts. Why waste time trawling through endless menus and tabs, when you can instantly arrive at your chosen destination by pressing a few keys…

What’s even more impressive, whilst your Mac comp already comes fully loaded with assigned keyboard shortcuts, you can can go one step further and customize your own. WOW! You can override any of the pre-installed combos with your own. That way you will never forget a combination, as you designed it.

Unfortunately you can not define your own shortcuts for general purpose tasks, such as opening up an app or switching between programs. However you can disable, tweak or totally change most of the ‘Global’ Mac keyboard shortcuts. These are are shortcuts that perform the same task in most Mac applications. For example, taking a snap shot of your screen by tapping your ‘Command+Shift+3’ keys.

Customizing, changing or disabling a Mac keyboard shortcut may also be useful if one of your ‘global’ shortcuts is also used by a specific application for an entirely different purpose. In this scenario, you may wish to either disable the current shortcut you do not need, or get creative and assign a new homemade keyboard combination.

So do you still fancy setting your own Mac keyboard shortcuts? I thought so, lets get cracking on…


How to Customize Keyboard Shortcuts On Mac

1.) Float your cursor up and click on your  () Apple Menu on the top left of your toolbar.

2.) From the drop down menu, select ‘System Preferences’.

3.) You will be greeted by a colourful window housing lots of exciting Apple icons. From the second row, pick the icon titled ‘Keyboard’.

keyboard shortcuts on mac

4.) A separate window will pop up. At the top are four tabs – Keyboard, Text, Shortcuts and Input Sources. You’ve guessed it… click on the one marked ‘Shortcuts’.

5.) In the Mac keyboard shortcuts window are two columns. One shows a list of the Mac apps that allow you to edit their commands and the second displays the commands/function and their current assigned shortcuts.

6.) If you wish to assign some new shortcuts, just click on the check boxes next to the function. A blank box will appear on the right hand side. In the blank field, go ahead and type in your new menu command (shortcut).

Observe how the other Mac keyboard shortcuts are written and base yours on them, but do not duplicate. Bear in mind that you can not use a certain key (i.e. a letter key) more than once in your combination.

mac keyboard shortcuts

7.) If you wish to alter an existing shortcut, just double-click on the current one. Again a blank text box will appear. Now you can fill it in with your new desired key combination.

8.) Finally, before you can check if your new fancy Mac keyboard shortcut combos work, you need to restart your apps. Once they have reloaded, tap in the new combos and see is they perform.


I can’t type in the Mac Keyboard Shortcut Box?

When you attempt to fill out the blank text box with your new combination, you may notice that the letters do not easily type out. This is because your Mac is fussy. Instead of tapping in your ‘Command’, ‘Shift’ and ‘3’ key separately. You will have to press them all simultaneously, just as if you were performing the shortcut in real life. So the combo becomes ‘Command+Shift+3’.


How to Disable Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

Disabling your Mac shortcuts could not be easier. Notice the checkboxes next to the list of commands/functions in the second column. Active combination show a blue box with a tick inside. Click on these once to deselect the checkbox.


How to Restore Mac Keyboard Shortcuts to Default

Whilst in your Keyboard shortcuts window, under the second column you should see a fat button titled ‘Restore Defaults’. Click on this and all of your new homemade combinations will be wiped off and replaced by Apple’s original Mac keyboard shortcuts.

how to restore keyboard shortcuts on mac


Oops, My New Mac Keyboard Shortcut Already Exists…

If you discover you have accidentally assigned a shortcut combination that already exists and is also attached to another command, you will have to do the following….

a.)Find the menu command/function that is using your desired shortcut combo.

b.)Either alter and customize that function with a new shortcut combination or disable it using the method described above.



Author at
Hi I'm Sophie, Chief Author at I'm a self proclaimed Mac Nerd and try and make it my job to know the latest tips and tricks for my readers. So whether you are a budding Mac geek, or a full blown enthusiast, I hope my guides can get you through smoothly 🙂

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Hi I'm Sophie, Chief Author at I'm a self proclaimed Mac Nerd and try and make it my job to know the latest tips and tricks for my readers. So whether you are a budding Mac geek, or a full blown enthusiast, I hope my guides can get you through smoothly :)