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Is there no keyboard shortcut for something you do regularly? That’s annoying, but here’s the good news: on your Mac you can add one easily, without the need for extra software.
There’s not much you can do with your mouse that you can’t do faster with the right keyboard shortcut, but sometimes there simply isn’t one. If there’s a shortcut-less menu item you use every day, here’s how you can assign it some keystrokes and get stuff done faster.
Creating A Keyboard Shortcut
I’ll walk you through this simple process while creating a keyboard shortcut for
that thing bloggers use to cross out text strikethrough in my favourite Markdown editor.
For this to work the item you want to trigger needs to be in the menu, but without a keyboard shortcut. Here’s what that looks like:
You can see the relevant keyboard shortcuts to the right of Strong, Emphasize and Underline – but Strikethrough is forgotten. Let’s fix that.
Head to your Mac’s System Preferences (you can find it by hitting the Apple logo at top-left, then clicking “System Preferences”), then click Keyboard:
Click the Shortcuts tab, then click App Shortcuts – the bottom option in the left pane.
This will likely be empty for you – for me it includes some shortcuts I made so my Mac can read any text. Go ahead and click the “+” button to create your keyboard shortcut.
Pick the Application you’d like this shortcut to apply to – you also can pick All Applications, if you want. Type the exact name of the menu item in the “Menu Title” field.
Finally, you need to pick your keyboard shortcut. Make sure the key combination you want isn’t already taken by opening your program and testing it out. If something happens, that shortcut is already assigned – if nothing happens and you hear a warning sound, the shortcut is available.
Click Add when you’ve got everything set the way you want it. The change will take affect immediately:
You can now use your new keyboard shortcut, so give it a spin. If it doesn’t work, check again for duplicate shortcuts. It can be tricky: in my above example, “CMD S” seemed like an obvious choice – until I remembered that’s the shortcut for saving. Duh.
Creating shortcuts is all well and good, but what could you actually use this for? Here are a few ideas.
- Your browser probably has a bookmarks menu – meaning you can create keyboard shortcuts for going straight to your favourite bookmarks. I couldn’t get this to work for Firefox, but Safari and Chrome worked perfectly.
- Create a “Turn On Shuffle” shortcut for iTunes, to trigger a mix instantly.
- Create a “Zoom” shortcut for All Applications – now you can make any window bigger, without using your mouse to click the green “+” button.
I’m sure you guys can think of many more – let us know what keyboard shortcuts you’ve added in the comments below.