Power-up key­board short­cuts

Speed up work­ing on your Mac by learn­ing and cre­at­ing key­board short­cuts

Mac Format - - IMPROVE | MAC APPS -

When the orig­i­nal Mac op­er­at­ing sys­tem ar­rived, the use of win­dows, icons, menus and a pointer – some­times re­ferred to as a WIMP sys­tem – freed peo­ple from hav­ing to mem­o­rise and deal with ar­cane com­mand-line in­struc­tions. To open a doc­u­ment, you wouldn’t have to re­mem­ber and type in its path – you’d just dou­ble-click its con­tain­ing folder and then the file it­self.

In that re­spect, WIMP sys­tems haven’t changed much, and OS X – Mac OS’s mod­ern-day suc­ces­sor – re­mains sim­i­larly in­tu­itive. How­ever, it can be slow if you rely solely on the mouse to ac­cess and con­firm ev­ery com­mand. This is why key­board short­cuts to many tasks ex­isted in the Mac’s op­er­at­ing sys­tem from the start, and the most popular are prob­a­bly burned deep into your mus­cle mem­ory. For ex­am­ple, you may in­stinc­tively head to ç+Z for undo or ç+C for copy.

Even beyond such well-known ex­am­ples, it’s almost al­ways faster to press some keys – es­pe­cially when you’re al­ready typ­ing – than grab the mouse or use a track­pad to go hunt­ing through menus. How­ever, learn­ing short­cuts can take time and be bur­den­some; it’s also frus­trat­ing when short­cuts don’t feel mem­o­rable, or if an of­ten-used com­mand doesn’t ac­tu­ally have a short­cut. For­tu­nately, all of th­ese things can eas­ily be dealt with.

When it comes to learn­ing short­cuts, it’s un­likely you’ll be able to com­mit ev­ery one to mem­ory just by glanc­ing at open menus once or twice, but apps can aid you. EVE (hotkey-eve.com, share­ware/£2.50 to reg­is­ter) gives you a no­ti­fi­ca­tion ev­ery time you use a menu com­mand that has a key­board short­cut, urg­ing you to re­mem­ber it in the fu­ture. Cheat­Sheet (cheat­shee­tapp.com/ Cheat­Sheet, free) will bring up all of the cur­rent app’s short­cuts if you hold ç for a sec­ond or so. (Use its pref­er­ences to ad­just the de­lay.) KeyCue (er­go­nis. com/prod­ucts/keycue, €19.99) works sim­i­larly to Cheat­Sheet but has ex­tra

It’s usu­ally faster to press two keys than grab the mouse or use a track­pad to find and click the menus

fea­tures, such as a search and ac­cess to ‘hid­den’ short­cuts.

All th­ese apps re­quire per­mis­sions to be granted in Sys­tem Pref­er­ences > Se­cu­rity & Pri­vacy > Pri­vacy, if you’re us­ing OS X Mav­er­icks; se­lect Ac­ces­si­bil­ity from the left-hand pane, un­lock the pad­lock with your user­name/ pass­word, and check the rel­e­vant apps to al­low them to con­trol your Mac.

Stick­ing with Sys­tem Pref­er­ences, Key­board > Short­cuts can be used to ad­just ex­ist­ing short­cuts or to cre­ate new ones. Se­lect a cat­e­gory from the left-hand pane and dou­ble-click on a short­cut (or ‘none’) to start edit­ing.

If the cho­sen short­cut clashes with an ex­ist­ing one, the pane should alert you with warn­ing icons. At that point, make sure you make the short­cuts dis­tinct, or one will fail.

To cre­ate an en­tirely new short­cut, se­lect App Short­cuts, then click the + but­ton. Choose an ap­pli­ca­tion, type the ex­act name of the com­mand (in­clud­ing cap­i­tals or an el­lip­sis), click inside the Key­board Short­cut field, and type your short­cut. Take care to not use an ex­ist­ing short­cut (or your new one will dis­able it). If you want a short­cut to work across sev­eral apps that have the same menu item (such as ‘Bring All to Front’), or for sys­tem-wide menus such as the Ap­ple menu and Ser­vices, choose ‘All Ap­pli­ca­tions’ from the Ap­pli­ca­tions menu. For ex­am­ple, you could use ‘All Ap­pli­ca­tions’, ‘Sys­tem Pref­er­ences…’ and ç+å+, to launch Sys­tem Pref­er­ences at any point.

It’s also pos­si­ble to cre­ate key­board short­cuts to launch any app or file, and to trig­ger any short­cuts us­ing track­pad ges­tures in­stead of keys com­bi­na­tions. This func­tion­al­ity is en­abled us­ing Bet­terTouchTool (boastr.net, free) and is the sub­ject of our walk­through. Craig Gran­nell

Cheat­Sheet gives you a pop-up list of an app’s key­board short­cuts – great for jog­ging your mem­ory!

In the main win­dow you can see newly added short­cuts. In the top-right cor­ner: EVE, ‘train­ing’ the user!

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