Customize Keyboard Shortcuts

If I ask many of my hardcore Mac using friends whether they know they can customize the keyboard shortcut of pretty much any menu item in any application in Mac OS X, they would probably just say, "Yeah I knew that." But, honestly, how many users use this excellent built-in feature frequently? I feel that, just like Automator, this is another one of those Mac OS X features that is seamless, excellent and should be used more widely.

Let me give an example of how I recently used it to solve one of the nagging annoyances in an otherwise great piece of software. The case in point is Camino whose shortcuts for switching between tabs are Command-Option-Left Arrow and Command-Option-Right Arrow, which are different from my default browser's, i.e. Safari's, Command-Shift-[ and Command-Shift-] (Safari calls them Command-{ and Command -} in its Window menu, which I think is very idiotic). Getting used to Camino has many hurdles but definitely having a different key combination for my most used keyboard shortcut is the most annoying thing. The answer, obviously, was to just go into System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > Keyboard Shortcuts and add the requisite keyboard shortcuts myself (which override application defaults).

As you can see, I've also added a couple of system-wide keyboard shortcuts, which actually reside in the Services > ChineseTextConverter menu and which I use to convert text quickly and easily in any Services-enabled (i.e., pretty much any) application.

So, override away! Even on those applications that don't offer this feature through a preference. For example, if you just switched from Microsoft Entourage to Apple Mail, you can change Mail's Send Email shortcut to Command-Enter or make it Get Mail with Command-K. Nifty, what?

Comments (1) Posted on at  

  • » Agreed. One of the great things about the Mac is most applications follow convention for most keyboard shortcuts. Even better is this simple way to override the ones that don't! :)