If you have been reading our previous articles on the wonders of Mac keyboard shortcuts, you are no doubt in awe of how much easier they can make your virtual life. Why bother sieving through tedious menus when a few taps of your fingers can get you to your destination in an instant! It’s like magic.
While you may have already looked up our ‘Top Ten Mac Keyword Shortcuts Every Mac Users Should Know‘ and our browsed or step-by-step tutorial on ‘How to Customize Your keyboard Shortcuts on Mac’. You may not be familiar with how to create shortcuts for Mac Apps….
Did you know that your amazing Apple machine allows you to create and assign your own keyboard shortcuts to menu commands, in nearly all of your OS X Mac applications and Finder…
Learning how to create keyboard shortcuts for Mac apps, can be very useful if you are forever forgetting the current commands. Making up you own should help you to remember them. It is also particularly handy if one of the ‘global’ keyboard shortcuts (a shortcut that performs the same task in most apps) crosses over and collides with another function on another app. If you use this function in the other app a lot, you could make things simpler by assigning your own key combination.
Note: Unfortunately we can not concoct our own commands. We can only alter the Mac keyboard shortcuts for existing OS X commands.
Now lets delve into the step-by-step tutorial!
How to Create Keyboard Shortcuts for Mac Apps
If you are no stranger to creating your own Mac shortcuts, you will be an expert at the first few steps. Feel free to skip ahead to step 5, to learn about specifically customizing shortcuts for Mac apps.
1.) Click on your () Apple Menu from the left hand side of your desktop toolbar.
2.) Select the option ‘System Preferences’ from the drop down menu.
3.) A new window will open displaying a range of colorful Mac app icons. Cruise through the options until you see one marked ‘Keyboard’ (it should be in the second row). Go ahead and click on it.
4.) Near the top of the ‘Keyboard’ preference window are four tabs. Select the one in the middle named ‘Shortcuts’.
5.) There are two columns in your Keyboard preference window. From the first, smaller column highlight ‘App Shortcuts’ with a single click.
6.) Now you should notice under the second column a + and – has appeared. Click on the + button.
7.) A new mini window will pop up. You can automatically alter a menu command for all your apps if you wish by leaving Application: ‘All Applications’. Alternatively you can click on this field and select an individual Mac app from the drop down menu.
If the application you wish to assign a Mac keyboard shortcut to is not on the list, select ‘Other’. You will then be able to look for it and select if from your Mac Applications folder. Bear in mind, not all apps allow you to create and customize shortcuts.
8.) Next type the menu command you wish to add a Mac keyboard shortcut to into the blank ‘Menu Title:’ field.
Please note, in order for the Mac shortcut to successfully assign to the correct menu command i.e. Minimize or Zoom, the command must be typed exactly as it appears in the applications menus. For example if I were to type minimise or zoom instead, it would not work as I have either got the wrong spelling or missed out the capital letters. Always take note of the punctuation. Even if you see an ellipsis (…) it is vital you include it.
9.) Now we turn our attention to the creative bit. In the ‘Keyboard Shortcut:’ field, tap in the new key combination you would like to pair with the menu command above.
Tip: If you a re a little stuck on what works, you could browse other keyboard shortcuts for inspiration. Just make sure it isn’t a combo that is ‘global’ or already exists in that particular OS X app you are editing.
Note: You are not allowed to use the same key twice in the same Mac keyboard shortcut.
10.) Once you have finished designing your new shortcuts for that Mac app, click the ‘Add’ button.
11.) For the finishing touch, simply quit and restart your app. (Or apps if you are assigning a ‘global’ Mac keyboard shortcut). The next time you open up the app, your new customized Mac shortcut should spring into action.
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