MASTER YOUR MAC

Get Efficient With Keyboard Shortcuts

Here’s how to make a shortcut for any command.

Button Shortcuts

Powerful and easy hotkey tool

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Command-C to copy. Command-V to paste. Or the ever-useful Command-Tab to switch among apps. Every power user has a favorite keyboard shortcut. But did you know you can create one for any menu item in your favorite apps?

You’ve got two choices here: Create an application-specific shortcut or one that works across all apps. Here’s how to do both:

Create a shortcut for an app

For this example, we’ll create a Photos app shortcut to flip an image horizontally. Normally you’d have to choose Image > Flip Horizontal, but with a few clicks you’ll be able to pull it off by pressing Command-Shift-H.

Go to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts. Select App Shortcuts on the left, then click the plus sign to add a new shortcut.

Creating your own shortcut is as easy as entering the menu-command name and choosing a key combination.

Choose Photos from the Application pop-up menu, and in the Menu Title field enter “Flip Horizontal.” (The text you enter here must match the name of the command as it appears in the menu, including any punctuation.)

Then in the Keyboard Shortcut field, enter a combo that includes a modifier key: Command, Option, Shift, or Control. It helps to pick a combo that reminds you of the action (we went with Command-Shift-H, for “horizontal”). And be sure not to pick a shortcut already used in the app.

Finally, click Add, and enjoy your new shortcut!

Create a systemwide shortcut

You can also create a shortcut that works across all apps. A great candidate is the Save as PDF command, tucked away in the PDF pop-up menu of the Print dialog.

The process here is the same as above, but you’ll choose All Applications from the Application pop-up menu. In the Menu Title field, enter “Save as PDF,” then set a keyboard shortcut.

The Print dialog’s Save as PDF command is handy but hidden. Make it easier to use with a keyboard shortcut.

We chose Command-P—and we know what you’re thinking: That’s the systemwide shortcut for Print! But because Save as PDF appears only within the Print dialog, the two shortcuts will never conflict: Just press Command-P twice—the first one brings up the Print dialog, the second launches the Save as PDF screen. How much easier could it get?

Want to do more? Check out these apps that take shortcuts to the next level:

Button Shortcuts

Forget digging through menus to find a shortcut’s keystroke! With Button Shortcuts, double-press the Command key to bring up a cheat sheet of every shortcut—built-in and custom—for the current app.

    Button Shortcuts

    Powerful and easy hotkey tool

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HotKey App

Use HotKey App to create your own systemwide shortcuts: Launch apps, open documents and folders, run AppleScripts and Automator workflows, and more.

    HotKey App

    Utilities

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