macOS User Guide

  • What’s in the menu bar?
  • Work on the desktop
  • Search with Spotlight
  • Quickly change settings
  • Get notifications
  • Open apps from the Dock
  • Organize your files in the Finder
  • Connect to the internet
  • Browse the web
  • Preview a file
  • Take a screenshot
  • Change your display’s brightness
  • Adjust the volume
  • Use trackpad and mouse gestures
  • Use Touch ID
  • Print documents
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • View built-in apps
  • Work with app windows
  • Use apps in full screen
  • Use apps in Split View
  • Use Stage Manager
  • Get apps from the App Store
  • Install and reinstall apps from the App Store
  • Install and uninstall other apps
  • Create and work with documents
  • Open documents
  • Mark up files
  • Combine files into a PDF
  • Organize your desktop
  • Organize files with folders
  • Tag files and folders
  • Back up files
  • Restore files
  • Change System Settings
  • Choose your desktop picture
  • Use a screen saver
  • Add your email and other accounts
  • Automate tasks with Shortcuts
  • Create Memoji
  • Change people’s profile pictures
  • Change the system language
  • Make it easier to see what’s on the screen
  • Set up a Focus to stay on task
  • Set up Screen Time for yourself
  • Use Dictation
  • Send emails
  • Send text messages
  • Make a FaceTime call
  • Edit photos and videos
  • Use Live Text to interact with text in a photo
  • Start a Quick Note
  • Get directions
  • Work across devices using Continuity
  • Use iPhone as a webcam
  • Use iPhone with Desk View
  • Stream audio and video with AirPlay
  • Use one keyboard and mouse to control Mac and iPad
  • Hand off between devices
  • Unlock your Mac with Apple Watch
  • Make and receive phone calls on your Mac
  • Sync music, books, and more between devices
  • Manage Apple ID settings
  • Set your Apple ID picture
  • What is iCloud?
  • What is iCloud+?
  • Store files in iCloud Drive
  • Share and collaborate on files and folders
  • Manage iCloud storage
  • Use iCloud Photos
  • What is Family Sharing?
  • Set up Family Sharing
  • Add a user or group
  • Set up Screen Time for a child
  • Share purchases with your family
  • Watch and listen together with SharePlay
  • Share a Photo Library
  • Collaborate on projects
  • Find content shared with you
  • Find your family and friends
  • Play games with your friends
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Watch TV shows and movies
  • Read and listen to books
  • Read the news
  • Track stocks and the market
  • Apple Music
  • Apple Arcade
  • Apple News+
  • Podcast shows and channels
  • Manage subscriptions in the App Store
  • View Apple family subscriptions
  • Guard your privacy
  • Use Mail Privacy Protection
  • Control access to your camera
  • Use Sign in with Apple for apps and websites
  • Set up your Mac to be secure
  • Keep your data safe
  • Create a passkey
  • Understand passwords
  • Reset your Mac login password
  • Keep your Apple ID secure
  • Find a missing device
  • Get started with accessibility features
  • Connect an external display
  • Use the built-in camera
  • Connect a wireless accessory
  • Use AirPods with your Mac
  • Optimize your Mac battery life
  • Optimize storage space
  • Burn CDs and DVDs
  • Control accessories in your home
  • Run Windows on your Mac
  • Resources for your Mac
  • Resources for your Apple devices

assign keyboard shortcuts on macos

Use macOS keyboard shortcuts

You can use keystroke combinations, called keyboard shortcuts , to perform tasks more quickly on your Mac. Keyboard shortcuts include one or more modifier keys (such as Caps Lock or Control) and a final key, pressed at the same time. For example, instead of moving the pointer to the menu bar to choose File > New Window, you can press the Command and N keys.

You can change or disable keyboard shortcuts to make them easier to use.

Note: Keyboard shortcuts in apps may vary depending on the language and keyboard layout you’re using on your Mac. If the shortcuts below don’t work as you expect, look in the app menus in the menu bar to see the correct shortcuts. You can also use the Keyboard Viewer to see your current keyboard layout, known as an input source .

Explore macOS keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts appear next to menu items in macOS apps. Many keyboard shortcuts are standard across apps.

The Edit menu is open in the Finder; keyboard shortcuts appear next to menu items.

The user guides for many macOS apps include a list of the app’s most frequently used keyboard shortcuts. For example, see:

Safari keyboard shortcuts and gestures

Mail keyboard shortcuts

Photos keyboard shortcuts and gestures

Disk Utility keyboard shortcuts

Preview keyboard shortcuts

Tip: You can also find many keyboard shortcuts in the Apple Support article Mac keyboard shortcuts .

Perform tasks using keyboard shortcuts

Press and hold one or more modifier keys (such as Caps Lock, Command, or Control), then press the last key of the shortcut.

For example, to use the Command-V keyboard shortcut to paste copied text, press and hold the Command key at the same time as the V key, then release both keys.

Customize keyboard shortcuts

You can customize some keyboard shortcuts by changing the key combinations.

assign keyboard shortcuts on macos

Open Keyboard settings for me

In the list on the left, select a category, such as Mission Control or Spotlight.

In the list on the right, select the checkbox next to the shortcut that you want to change.

Double-click the current key combination, then press the new key combination you want to use.

You can’t use each type of key (for example, a letter key) more than once in a key combination.

Quit and reopen any apps you’re using for the new keyboard shortcut to take effect.

If you assign a keyboard shortcut that already exists for another command or app, your new shortcut won’t work. Find the menu command that’s using it, then reassign the keyboard shortcut for that item.

If you want to return all the shortcuts to their original keystroke combinations, go to Keyboard settings, click Keyboard Shortcuts, then click Restore Defaults in the lower-left corner.

Disable a keyboard shortcut

Sometimes an app’s keyboard shortcut conflicts with a macOS keyboard shortcut. If this happens, you can disable the macOS keyboard shortcut.

In the list on the right, deselect the checkbox next to the shortcut that you want to disable.

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How to Customize Your OS X Keyboard and Add Shortcuts

Matt Klein has nearly two decades of technical writing experience. He's covered Windows, Android, macOS, Microsoft Office, and everything in between. He's even written a book, The How-To Geek Guide to Windows 8 . Read more...

assign keyboard shortcuts on macos

Mac users know keyboard shortcuts are the way to go in OS X. Using the keyboard to perform routine and repetitive tasks is a great timesaver and really ups your skill level, but did you know you can add or even customize keyboard shortcuts?

Controlling your Mac with the keyboard is no small part of OS X’s (and earlier versions as well) DNA. When you use a Mac, you’re almost obligated to use keyboard shortcuts to do things other computer users might default to the mouse for.

For example, while you can always use an app’s menu to quit it, it’s just faster and easier to use “Command + Q”.

Similarly, there’s an icon that you can click to access Spotlight, if you really want to always go to the upper-right corner and do so, or alternatively, you can just use “Command + Space”.

So the point here is, keyboard shortcuts are great on OS X and the more you know the better. Having command of keyboard shortcuts is a fantastic way to up your OS X skills and achieve the ranks of true power user.

The Keyboard Settings

Before we dig into the shortcuts, let’s take a look at OS X’s keyboard settings, because there’s some interesting things you can do that have nothing to do with combinations and bindings. The first tab is dedicated to keyboard behavior, so if you want to adjust how fast keys repeat or whether functions keys use special features or act as standard function keys, you can do that here.

Of special note are the controls to adjust your keyboard’s backlight (such as on Macbooks). By default, in low light, your keyboard’s backlight will turn on whereas in bright light, it will turn off. If you just want to control that aspect of your computer yourself, you can uncheck this box.

On that note, the backlight’s timeout can be adjusted from five seconds to never. Setting the timeout is especially useful if you use your computer to watch movies in the dark. You can make volume adjustments and so forth, then the backlight will automatically turn off so it doesn’t distract you.

At the bottom of the Keyboard tab, the “Change Keyboard Type…” button will open a wizard that will ask you to press certain keys so it can identify it for you. This way, adding external keyboards is a breeze.

Of greater interest perhaps, is the option to adjust your modifier keys.

This is going to be useful if you’re using a non-Apple keyboard, such as the off-the-shelf standard 102-key variety, where the key layouts are different from Apple’s.

The Keyboard settings also have a “Text” tab, which is great if you use shorthand for certain oft-used phrases. In the following screenshot, you can see our custom replacements, which will automatically change when you use an applications like TextEdit or Messages, where shorthand might come in handy.

You can also turn off autocorrect, which doesn’t always appeal to everybody, choose your spelling dictionary, and enable or disable smart quotes and dashes. For anyone wondering how to adjust OS X’s text correction capabilities, this is it.

Finally, there’s Input Sources, wherein you’re able to add alternate keyboard languages and layouts. In the screenshot, we see how this looks when we select the Dvorak layout. It still uses the Latin alphabet but the nearly universal QWERTY layout has been transformed into something altogether different.

That’s all for these three Keyboard settings panels. Just remember, if you want to change your keyboard’s behavior, text and autocorrection, or your keyboard’s language or layout, this is where you do that.

Finding Your Inner Mac Keyboard Ninja with Shortcuts

Now it’s time to up your keyboard game. If you’re new to OS X or just have never learned any of its myriad combinations, here’s a good article to start with . Take some time also to familiarize yourself with the shortcuts you see on menus and throughout the system.

Mac shortcuts are a little different than on other systems. Macs use a series of symbols to denote modifiers. This takes a little getting used to because its not the same as seeing CTRL or ALT or SHIFT, but with a little patience and practice, you’ll have them mastered in short order.

A Quick Mac Keyboard Primer

With that said, why don’t we just go ahead and cover what all those little symbols mean?

Command is easy enough to figure out because that’s the so-called Apple Key, but what’s up with all those other funky modifier symbols?

Keys on a Mac keyboard have names, such as the aforementioned Command key, and then there’s the usual suspects like Option (Alt), Control, Escape, and so forth. Unfortunately, to write all these into the system would require way too much screen real estate. Menus would have to be super-wide to accommodate Command + Shift + Option and so forth, so Apple has incorporated a unique set of symbols to represent each.

Old school Mac users will likely know them all by heart, but new converts or casual keyboardists will probably find some of them head-scratching. In all practicality, you only really need to remember Control and Option.

Command and it’s associated symbol are usually printed right on the keyboard (or substituted as the Windows key on other keyboards). Shift is easy enough to figure out, Caps Lock is rarely used, and Function is pretty obvious.

The Shortcuts Tab

We’re going to wind up this article by finally talking about those keyboard shortcuts we’ve been alluding to throughout. The “Shortcuts” tab in the Keyboard preferences is your gateway to ultimate keyboard control on your OS X.

The Shortcuts settings have all the different aspects on OS X you can affect in the left pane, and the right pane breaks each one down into individual actions.

At the bottom of the settings there’s an option to control full keyboard access. What this means is that when you’re interacting with a window or dialog, you can select whether Tab will move keyboard focus between text boxes and lists only, or all controls.

In other words, tabbing through a dialog means that you’ll either move between a few elements or every element. Here’s how this will typically work.

When you add or modify a shortcut, first select the type of shortcut you want to change. For example, let’s change how we take screenshots. By default when you take a screenshot you use the keyboard combination “Command + Shift + 3” and this will take a picture of your screen and save it to your desktop.

We double-click this shortcut’s key combo until it is selected, hold down the modifiers and then the new key. In the following example we’ve changed the “Save picture of screen as a file” to “Command + Shift + 1”.

If your change(s) result in a conflict, then an exclamation point in a yellow triangle will appear next to it, such as here where the Input Sources shortcuts conflict with Spotlight’s. In this case, the conflict is negligible but in other’s it might cause headaches so do your best to use a shortcut that isn’t already used, or change the shortcut with which it conflicts.

By default, the system already has a lot of shortcuts built into it. Many of these are universal and can’t be changed, but you can adjust them per application. For example, as detailed in this article, you can change the Quit shortcut for Google Chrome (or any other application) , but you can’t change Quit system-wide.

The reason for this is very simple, you need to use the exact wording of the menu shortcut. Quit is different depending upon which application you’re using so it will be printed on the menu as “Quit Google Chrome” or “Quit iTunes,” and so forth.

You can, however, change other common application menu items such as “Window -> Minimize” because it is the same on every application.

Thus, the shortcut to minimize Windows will now be “Option + Command + M” instead of “Command + M” and this will be a system-wide change.

You can do this with other generic shortcuts like “Preferences…”, “Print”, and so on. You just need to make sure the menu text matches exactly regardless of whether it’s for all applications or you’re changing something that is application-specific.

As we mentioned, there’s quite a few shortcuts programmed into the system already, and there are many that aren’t.

Also, if at any time you decide you want to revert to the default shortcuts, or you’ve made a mess of things, you can click “Restore Defaults” and roll everything back.

That’s about it for all things OS X keyboard-related. It’s fairly easy to see why longtime Mac users are such enthusiastically emphatic keyboardists. Being able to not only use a keyboard shortcut to control system functions and application features, but also to add new shortcuts or change existing ones, are great powers to have.

RELATED: How to Change the Cmd+Q Shortcut Key in OS X (to Stop Accidentally Closing Apps)

We want to know about how you use shortcuts. Do you defer to the mouse for most or all your computing? What are some of your favorite or most useful shortcuts? Our discussion forum is open, we encourage your feedback.

assign keyboard shortcuts on macos

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Master your Mac with custom keyboard shortcuts

Push the right buttons.

By David Nield | Published Nov 23, 2020 1:00 PM EST

Person on laptop

Perhaps you too have frowned whenever you think about those seemingly wasted seconds spent moving your hands from your keyboard to your mouse and back again, over and over and over. Time is money. That’s why learning the right shortcuts can be such an advantage, as they allow you to whizz around your system faster and more comfortably.

All operating systems have presets you can work with , but if macOS doesn’t have the shortcuts you need, you can easily create your own. These custom key presses can help you get stuff done much more quickly, from launching your favorite apps and menus, to manipulating files and performing repetitive tasks such as closing programs at the end of the day.

This is exciting, but before you dive in and make your own macOS shortcuts, we’d recommend familiarizing yourself with the ones already available . It’ll save you from duplicating existing combos, as what you need may already exist by default .

Use the built-in macOS tool

The good news is that there is an option to create custom keyboard shortcuts built right into macOS. The bad news is that it doesn’t give you a great deal of flexibility, and you might also need to use a third-party program depending on what you want to do. To get started, open up System Preferences from the Apple menu, then choose Keyboard and Shortcuts .

There, you’ll see a list with the shortcuts already enabled on the system. They cover a host of actions—from taking a screenshot to opening the Launchpad interface. Any of them can be enabled and disabled using the check boxes in the dialog.

To assign a new shortcut to an action that doesn’t already have one, click its entry in the list and choose Add Shortcut . To edit an existing shortcut, click the action, then the shortcut. To delete it, select it and hit Delete .

If you try to assign a keyboard shortcut that’s already in use, macOS will warn you with a message on the screen. You’ll still be able to carry on, though, as when you type in a shortcut, the system will launch all the actions linked to it. This, however, may result in your computer slowing down or even crashing, depending on what programs or actions the shortcuts trigger, so it’s better to keep combinations unique.

Click App Shortcuts , then the plus button down at the bottom to create new shortcuts for your installed apps. You’ll get to pick the app and then the menu item inside the app that you want to access. If the action you want isn’t listed on a menu, you can’t create a shortcut to it. Not with this tool, anyway.

Get some help from third-party programs


If the macOS shortcut tool doesn’t cover everything you need, there are plenty of third-party programs around to help you out.

One of our favorites is Alfred , which will be familiar to macOS power users. It acts as a supercharged system search tool and launcher that also supports customized keyboard shortcuts. You can use it to set key presses for a host of actions including opening apps and files and searching the web.

To customize your shortcuts, open Alfred from the menu bar and pick Preferences . There, you’ll see the General tab, where you can set the main hotkey to enable Alfred, and the Features tab, where you can set shortcuts for particular actions related to files and apps. For more complex keyboard shortcuts (including those controlling media and the clipboard), you can upgrade to a Powerpack version for £29 (about $40).

Another alternative is Keyboard Maestro . It’s $36, but it’s a very comprehensive tool, and you can try it for free. The program can create more sophisticated shortcuts than Alfred, with the option to tie several actions together, and support for everything—from entering text to controlling system settings.

Click the plus button down at the bottom of the interface. First you’ll need to assign the keyboard shortcut, then you can tell the program what you want it to do in response. Keyboard Maestro is slightly more complicated in terms of building actions, so if you don’t find it as intuitive as Alfred, you can get more information on how the app works by clicking on Tutorial from the Help menu.

Create keyboard shortcuts from inside your applications


We’ve got no idea which programs you have on your system, but chances are that at least some support customized keyboard shortcuts. If you have applications like this, you’ll need to manage your key combos inside each app rather than across macOS as a whole.

Microsoft Word for macOS is one program with customized keyboard shortcut support. To find the feature inside Word, you’ll need to choose Tools , then Customize keyboard . You’ll see a new dialog box with all the commands and menu options you can assign shortcuts to—select one and press your chosen shortcut to link them. Make sure to use unique combinations, as any new ones you create will override the old ones. Don’t worry, though—you’ll be warned if your chosen shortcut is already in use.

Finally, use the drop-down menu at the bottom of the dialog box to choose whether the shortcuts apply to all Word documents (the Normal.dotm template) or just the current one (Document1 or whatever the currently opened file is called).

If you have Adobe Photoshop on your Mac, you can set up customized shortcuts to get to your favorite tools more quickly. Just press Option+Shift+Cmd+K , or select Keyboard Shortcuts inside the Edit menu to start assigning.

Your selected shortcuts can launch menu items, interface panels (like Layers or History), and specific tools—select an entry in the list on the screen, click Add Shortcut , and then press your chosen combination of keys. As in Word, if your chosen shortcut is already in use, Photoshop will warn you, and if you continue, the new action will overwrite the old one.

David Nield

David Nield is a freelance contributor at Popular Science, producing how to guides and explainers for the DIY section on everything from improving your smartphone photos to boosting the security of your laptop. He doesn't get much spare time, but when he does he spends it watching obscure movies and taking long walks in the countryside.

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How to Create Custom Keyboard Shortcuts on Mac

macOS is a wonderful operation system. Unlike iOS, Apple allows all the customization options on the macOS. You can change the default browser and Mail app and make other changes to your preference. Among them, the ability to create custom keyboard shortcuts for macOS’s most-used actions is my favorite addition.

Mac OS keyboard shortcuts

By default, macOS comes with most-essential keyboard shortcuts to improve your productivity. But there can be times when you want to access certain menus or functions such as Notification Centre or Do Not Disturb mode repeatedly and miss the absence of those swift keyboard shortcuts. Thankfully, you can always assign custom keyboard shortcuts for them.

The functionality doesn’t end here. You can also create keyboard shortcuts for third-party apps like Firefox, Pixelmator, and more.

In this post, we are going to talk about how to create custom keyboard shortcuts on Mac. I will explain how you can simplify your workflow by setting up custom keyboard shortcuts for macOS menu, functions, and third-party apps. Let’s get started.

Create Keyboard Shortcuts for Frequently Used Words and Phrases

This one is similar to iOS. You can create keyboard shortcuts for frequently used words and phrases. I can’t emphasize enough how much time it has saved me over the years.

You can set keyboard shortcuts for email ID, home address, and other phrases that you use frequently. Follow the steps below to set them up.

Step 1: Tap on the Apple logo at the upper left corner and open System Preferences.

Step 2: Navigate to Keyboard > Text.

Macos keyboard

Step 3: Tap on the ‘+’ icon at the bottom left corner and add the shortcut for the phrase. For example, you can type ‘email’ in it and replace the phrase with your actual email ID.

Replace keys

You can create as many keyboard shortcuts that you like in the macOS. I have created keyboard shortcuts for special characters including degree, rupee, and added a couple of my email addresses. I can simply type ‘degree’ and macOS will replace it with the degree symbol.

Note: You can create a custom keyboard shortcut for email but don’t try to do the same for the password. Anyone using your Mac can access the Keyboard menu without any authentication. So, it’s not wise to create custom keyboard shortcuts for passwords.

Assign Keyboard Shortcuts for macOS Menu

As mentioned earlier, macOS comes with a ton of keyboard shortcuts to improve your productivity. But it doesn’t support all the menus and functions on the Mac. That’s where Mac keyboard customization options come in. You can look at default keyboard shortcuts in Mac, remove them, and even assign new keyboard shortcuts for other macOS menus.

Go through the steps below to set them up.

Step 1: Open Spotlight Search (use Command + Space keyboard shortcut) and type System Preferences in it.

Step 2: Go to Keyboard > Shortcuts.

Step 3: You will see a bunch of options on the left side. You can take a look at assigned keyboard shortcuts. You can disable the keyboard shortcut for it and even double tap on it and assign a new keyboard shortcut.

In some options, you will see ‘none’ written on the sides. That means the system hasn’t assigned any keyboard shortcut to it, but you can add one based on your preference.

For example, you can go to Mission Control and assign keyboard shortcuts for Show/Hide Notification Center and Turn on/off Do Not Disturb mode.

Macos menu

macOS also allows you to add keyboard shortcuts for other services such as Pictures, Messaging, Files and Folder, Searching, Text, and Internet. For instance, I use Pixelmator to edit images. Instead of selecting images and then opening them from the context menu, I can assign a keyboard shortcut for it.

Macos services

Go to Services > Pictures > Open with Pixelmator Pro and assign a keyboard shortcut for it. Next time, just select the pictures that you want to edit in the app and use the keyboard shortcut to open them in the app and start editing.

Note: Don’t assign a keyboard shortcut that’s already enabled in the macOS. Try to use a unique combination of keys that don’t interfere with other keyboard shortcuts on Mac.

Create App Keyboard Shortcuts

Most Mac apps do come with keyboard shortcuts support out of the box. But it might not be enough for you as they don’t support keyboard shortcuts for every menu or function. In such cases, you can always create custom app keyboard shortcuts.

Step 2: Navigate to Keyboard > Shortcuts > App Shortcuts and tap on the ‘+’ icon at the bottom left corner.

App shortcuts

Step 3: You can either create a universal keyboard shortcut for all applications or go to a specific app.

Macos app shortcuts

Step 4: Now, you need to enter the exact name of the menu command you want to add. Add menu title and keyboard shortcut for it.

That’s it. You can now use the assigned keyboard shortcut in the app to access the relevant menu. Let me remind you again, be aware of setting a keyboard shortcut that may duplicate one that is already in use by another system function or app if they conflict with each other or fail to perform an action at all.

The last thing you want is to go to the trouble of setting up a key combination that ultimately fails to perform the action.

Quickly Move Through Menus and Options on Mac

macOS offers the flexibility to customize and assign a keyboard shortcut to every menu and option on the OS. Go through the tricks above and customize the keyboard shortcuts you like and experience your productivity going through the roof. Are there any specific custom shortcuts you’ve created and would like to share them others? Mention them in the comments below.

Next up: Are you looking to improve your productivity on Mac? Read the post below to find the seven best Mac apps to stay organized.

Last updated on 02 February, 2022

The above article may contain affiliate links which help support Guiding Tech. However, it does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains unbiased and authentic.

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How to assign a keyboard shortcut to an application on Mac OS X?

I want to start an application, e.g. the Google Chrome browser, via a keyboard shortcut. How do I assign a keyboard shortcut to an application?

Additional information

I know there are other ways to launch an application such as

Both are cool ways, but I want it even faster -- just a keyboard shortcut, accessible no matter what application has currently the focus.

What's the easiest way to accomplish that? I tried to fiddle in Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse under Keyboard Shortcuts, but failed.

I found a couple of resources on the web suggesting to create an Apple Script. But I don't know how that would work and I can't imagine that it would be so complicated to achieve such a simple goal.

Lernkurve's user avatar

5 Answers 5

If you do have QuickSilver loaded, you can create a keyboard trigger that will work anywhere. Create the command in the Trigger panel of the QuickSilver preference screen, then double click the line under the "Trigger" column to set the hotkey.

Note, if you are using Snow Leopard, you'll need the forked version in order to get it to work.

Peter Murray's user avatar

Fastest, easiest, cheapest method:

Open Script editor, Applescript:

Save. Use Fastscripts to assign a shortcut. (Fastscripts is free for up to 10 shortcuts)

There are other methods not requiring Fastscripts. On Snow Leopard, you can make a service that runs the applescript, and Services can be assigned keyboard shortcuts in the System Preferences…

You could also use an application like Keyboard Maestro .

Dragthing has been around for years and also can assign keyboard shortcuts to applications, I believe.

ghoppe's user avatar

I find Spotlight, Quicksilver, or Alfred to be very quick (and Alfred learns from your habits, so Chrome should pop to the top when you hit "c").

If you're typically using your mac in one location regularly (e.g. an office), you can get an external keyboard with lots of extra fancy keys. I have a Microsoft wireless keyboard and mouse plugged into my MacBook Pro. Using the drivers provided by Microsoft, I have the web browser button mapped to Chrome and I can get to it quickly with that one button push.

Doug Harris's user avatar

There is a nice clean open source app for this called Thor. It enabled you to assign global shortcuts to applications.

enter image description here

Download the binary from the App Store here . The project page is here .

mipmip's user avatar

I am using a software called Karabiner-elements to create hotkeys and shortcuts.

Before using a macOS for professional reasons, I was like 6 years in the Linux world (ubuntu and nixOS). I was impressed by the APIs on the macOS! Pretty powerful and well-designed.

Also, I went beyond just launching apps. I did some tweaks on some keybindings. In particular, to create a "Emacs everywhere" UX on my environment. You can see my config here.

Pedro Delfino's user avatar

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How to Set a Keyboard Shortcut to Open Mac Apps

Last Updated: April 27, 2021

This article was co-authored by wikiHow Staff . Our trained team of editors and researchers validate articles for accuracy and comprehensiveness. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article is backed by trusted research and meets our high quality standards. This article has been viewed 54,661 times. Learn more...

This wikiHow teaches you how to set a keyboard shortcut to open apps on your Mac. To do this, you'll need to use the Automator app, which is already on your Mac.

Setting up an Automator Service

Image titled Set a Keyboard Shortcut to Open Mac Apps Step 1

Adding the Launch Application Action to an App

Image titled Set a Keyboard Shortcut to Open Mac Apps Step 9

Assigning the Keyboard Shortcut

Image titled Set a Keyboard Shortcut to Open Mac Apps Step 21

Image titled Set a Keyboard Shortcut to Open Mac Apps Step 30

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  1. 5 Keyboard Shortcuts for macOS You Should Know

    assign keyboard shortcuts on macos

  2. Assign Keyboard Shortcuts to Open macOS Apps

    assign keyboard shortcuts on macos

  3. How to Use and Assign Keyboard Shortcuts on Mac?

    assign keyboard shortcuts on macos

  4. KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS for macOS that you must know! Part 2

    assign keyboard shortcuts on macos

  5. Essential Keyboard Shortcuts for MacOS You Must know

    assign keyboard shortcuts on macos

  6. MacOS Hacks...keyboard shortcuts and tips..and maybe some things you didn't know

    assign keyboard shortcuts on macos


  1. Assign Keyboard Shortcuts To Styles

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  3. How To Configure Your Own Kdenlive Shortcuts

  4. Duik Ángela Tutorial: Keyboard Shortcuts and the Duik API

  5. Basic Mac Keyboard Shortcuts you didn't know 😱 #shorts #vgyan #apple #mac #macbook

  6. 3 methods to assign keyboard shortcut key to a macro


  1. Create keyboard shortcuts for apps on Mac - Apple Support

    On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Settings, click Keyboard in the sidebar (you may need to scroll down), then click Keyboard Shortcuts on the right. Select App Shortcuts on the left, click the Add button , click the Application pop-up menu, then choose a specific app or All Applications.

  2. How to Create Custom Keyboard Shortcuts for Any Mac App

    First, click the Apple icon in the upper-left corner, and then select “System Preferences.” In “System Preferences,” click “Keyboard,” and then click the “Shortcuts” tab. Click “App Shortcuts” in the sidebar. Click the plus sign (+) to add a new shortcut. A new window containing a drop-down menu and two text fields will appear.

  3. Use macOS keyboard shortcuts - Apple Support

    On your Mac, choose Apple menu > System Settings, click Keyboard in the sidebar (you may need to scroll down), then click Keyboard Shortcuts on the right. In the list on the left, select a category, such as Mission Control or Spotlight. In the list on the right, select the checkbox next to the shortcut that you want to change.

  4. How to Customize Your OS X Keyboard and Add Shortcuts

    Keys on a Mac keyboard have names, such as the aforementioned Command key, and then there’s the usual suspects like Option (Alt), Control, Escape, and so forth. Unfortunately, to write all these into the system would require way too much screen real estate.

  5. Master your Mac with custom keyboard shortcuts | Popular Science

    To assign a new shortcut to an action that doesn’t already have one, click its entry in the list and choose Add Shortcut. To edit an existing shortcut, click the action, then the shortcut. To ...

  6. How to Create Custom Keyboard Shortcuts on Mac - Guiding Tech

    Step 1: Open Spotlight Search (use Command + Space keyboard shortcut) and type System Preferences in it. Step 2: Go to Keyboard > Shortcuts. Step 3: You will see a bunch of options on the...

  7. macos - How to assign a keyboard shortcut to an application ...

    How do I assign a keyboard shortcut to an application? Additional information I know there are other ways to launch an application such as opening Spotlight via Cmd+Space and typing "Chrome" followed by the enter key or installing Quicksilver and use it as the application launcher.

  8. How to Set a Keyboard Shortcut to Open Mac Apps - wikiHow

    Assigning the Keyboard Shortcut 1 Click the Apple icon. It's at the top left corner of the menu bar. 2 Click System Preferences. 3 Click the "Keyboard" icon. 4 Click Shortcuts. 5 Click Services. It's on the menu on the left pane of the Shortcuts window. 6 Scroll to find your newly created service.