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The practice of point and click is so common in today’s computer world that it is hard to imagine living without the rodent. But the old timers prefer to use shortcuts. “Working with shortcuts is faster,” they claimed. “That’s why they’re called shortcuts.”

In my previous article we can see why Mac users are spoiled with their OS capability of utilizing and manipulating shortcut. Today’s article will take the shortcuts discussion one step further; we’ll make the process Spark.

Enter Spark

Meet Spark. This cute little app will add more power to Mac shortcuts. It lets you add new shortcuts to some of your favorite apps such as iTunes.

When you open Spark for the first time, you’ll see the familiar Finder-like interface. But before doing anything else, please go to the Preferences (Spark → Preferences menu or Command + Comma shortcut) and make sure the “Start Spark Daemon at login” box is checked. Otherwise you’ll have to start Spark manually whenever you want to use the shortcuts you’ve made with Spark.

Also if you wanted to be notified whenever any shortcut fails to complete its mission, check the “Display alert when shortcut execution fails” box. And to make it save, choose “No Key” from the “˜Allow “One Key” shortcut for’ options.

Creating Shortcuts with Spark

Now let us go down to business. To create a shortcut, go to File → New Hotkey menu. Here you’ll find several types of hotkey to choose for:

  • AppleScript (Command + 1)
  • Application (Command + 2)
  • Document (Command + 3)
  • iTunes (Command + 4)
  • Menu Item (Command + 5)
  • System (Command + 6)
  • Text / Keyboard (Command + 7)

Let’s choose iTunes as an example. The steps are:

  1. After pressing Command + 4, a small window will pop out with several options to choose from.
  2. Click the arrow next to the “Action” drop-down menu for the complete list of available commands.
  3. Next, click on the “Shortcut” button that says “Click To Edit” and put down your preferable key combination.
  4. Finally, click “Create”.

After finishing these steps, you can start playing songs in iTunes just by pressing the combination.

Repeat the process to create another shortcut keys. There are some slight differences but in general everything’s the same. You can also create a shortcut for AppleScript while doing the scripting directly from Spark.

Create a Shortcut Cheat Sheet

The one thing that I like most about Spark is that it allows the users to export list of shortcut as a web page so that it can be printed out as a cheat sheet.

Other useful feature is the ability to do backup of the Spark library and to revert back to the backup.

All in all, this tiny app does the job very well.

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  1. b
    May 27, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    amazing....when i have a bunch of windows up and have to go back to itunes to change the song i get annoyed, this helps a bunch!

  2. CPA Marketing
    April 30, 2009 at 12:39 am

    I never knew that, now I have something to do tonite I going to try that out on my mac see if I can use this Thank You for the information!

  3. M Norman
    April 29, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    It's a nice app but I still find quicksilver to be the most useful