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Make Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts

TMO Quick Tip - Make Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts

by , 7:30 AM EST, March 8th, 2006

Using a mouse or other pointing device to perform actions by selecting menu items may be easy, but it isn't always the most efficient way to get something done. Take printing, for example: You can slide your mouse pointer up to the menu bar and choose File > Print, or you can use the keyboard shortcut Command-P. Either way opens the print dialog, but the keyboard shortcut saves time since you don't have to take your hand off the keyboard to use your mouse.

If Apple left out a keyboard shortcut for an action you perform all the time, you can create your own in the Keyboard & Mouse Preference Pane. As an example, lets make a keyboard shortcut for burning a CD or DVD in the Finder.

    - Launch System Preferences. You can find under Apple Menu > System Preferences.
    - Click the Keyboard & Mouse icon.
    - Click the Keyboard Shortcuts tab.
    - Click the plus button at the bottom of the shortcut list to add a new keyboard shortcut.

    Click the plus button to add a new keyboard shortcut.
    - Choose Finder from the Application pop-up menu
    - Enter the exact name of the menu item you want to add a shortcut to. In this case, the menu item name is "Burn Disc..." - without the quotes.
    - Type the key combination you want to use in the Keyboard Shortcut field. If you enter something that's already in use, you'll get a warning telling you to try a different combination. I used Command-Option-Control-Shift-B because the keys are close together, and I know the key combination isn't in use by another application on my Mac.
    - Click the Add button.


Entering your shortcut's key combination.

To use your new keyboard shortcut, insert a blank CD or DVD into your Mac, and copy files to it. When you are ready to burn and eject your disc, type your keyboard shortcut instead of dragging the disc to the burn symbol in the Dock.

You can also use the Keyboard Shortcuts tab to reassign your Mac's default shortcuts to different keyboard combinations. This is handy if you use an application that has shortcuts that conflict with Mac OS X. In Tiger, for example, Spotlight's Command-Space shortcut interferes with some design applications. Either give Spotlight a different keyboard combination, or uncheck it to disable it completely.

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