How to Make Custom Keyboard Shortcuts on Your Mac for Any App

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Photo: GaudiLab (Shutterstock) – Make it simple to locate menu items in any software on your Mac that are hard to find. Almost every Mac software has at least one action that takes one (or three) too many clicks to complete—no one likes to browse through four menus or use the search bar to find the action they need, especially if it’s something they do frequently. You may build a fast keyboard shortcut for an activity in an app that you know you’ll use again and again but is tiresome to get to on macOS.

How to customize an app’s keyboard shortcuts

Screenshot: Pranay Parab

Let’s take a look at Safari Extensions as an example. Without a shortcut, the only way to see it is to use the menu bar to select Safari and then Safari Extensions. To get there faster, go to System Preferences and set a custom keyboard shortcut by clicking the Apple logo in the top-left corner of the screen. (While you’re at it, reorganize your System Preferences to make it simpler to discover items in the future.)

Select the Shortcuts tab at the top of the Keyboard pane. Click App Shortcuts in the left pane, then touch the Add icon and select Applications from the drop-down box. Because that’s what we’re striving towards right now, you may choose Safari from this selection.

Type Safari Extensions next to Menu Title…. (Remember to include the three dots after Extensions since the menu item’s name must be typed precisely as it appears.) Now, click the form next to Keyboard Shortcut and hold down the keys you’d like to assign to it. Let’s use Command + E in this situation. To complete the process, click Add.

Screenshot: Pranay Parab

To enter the Safari Extensions menu directly the next time you use Safari, hit Command + E.

This feature allows you to be creative and create custom keyboard shortcuts for any program you choose. I use it with Ulysses, a writing program that doesn’t have a keyboard shortcut for the Add Goal function. Assigning Command + G to that has significantly sped up my productivity, since I no longer have to click four times to get the choice.

Customizing keyboard shortcuts for all Mac programs

Screenshot: Pranay Parab

On the Mac, make sure you choose the relevant app under the Shortcuts tab in Keyboard preferences—you can alternatively select All Applications under Application to establish a global keyboard shortcut. However, because this has the ability to modify keyboard keys for a variety of programs, be sure you’re not overwriting a useful shortcut before proceeding. (As a result, rather than enabling custom shortcuts for all apps, it’s typically better to do it for specific programs.)

On a Mac, how can I remove custom keyboard shortcuts?

Screenshot: Pranay Parab

If you have an undesirable keyboard shortcut, go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > App Shortcuts, pick it from the right pane, then click the minus button (-) to delete it.