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Keyboard Shortcut to Open an Application in OS X

by pswiderski / March 16, 2005 7:50 AM PST

Does anyone know if you can assign a keyboard shortcut to open a particular application in OS X?

I know, in Windows XP, you can add a number to the beginning of an application that is pinned to the Start menu and then open that application by using the window button + the number (or letter if you prefer).

Is there any comparable way to do this in OS X?

Thanks from someone who hates using a mouse.

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No can do
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / March 16, 2005 8:35 AM PST

I'm sure you saw this snippet of information when you typed "Keyboard Shortcuts" into the Help Menu.
Note: You can only create keyboard shortcuts for existing menu commands. You cannot define keyboard shortcuts for general purpose tasks such as opening an application or switching between applications.
Amazing what you can find when you read the Help file

Hope this helps


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Thanks for the Quote
by pswiderski / March 16, 2005 10:03 PM PST
In reply to: No can do

After looking through Help for quite some time, I failed to see this quote.
Thanks for pulling it up for me.

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Keyboard Shortcuts
by taboma. / March 18, 2005 10:18 AM PST

I used to work some years ago with an executive secretary that was a whizz at keyboard shortcuts on a PC. When her new Macintosh was set up at her work station and had to use a mouse, she was really disinchanted with the mouse. Took her about six months to really use the mouse and to learn all the short-cut keys for the Mac. She loved the Mac with all the short-cut keys she found.
Today it is the same way, there are short-cut keys to open and to do just about everything. Learning curve I am sure for you, yet you will get used to it and be better off for it.
You were smart enough to learn Windoze keys and you will learn the Mac keys also.

How do you like the Doc in Mac X?

Have you figured out how to open up recent applications under the Apple menu? Same as a short-cut key in-time with the mouse.
Go to the Apple menu/to recent items/to your latest applications that you had been running before, and you will be in that application as quick as you can say??QUICK KEYS!? You would have had to open other applications before the application showed up on your recent items menu. Applies to recently opened documents also.
Hope this is a new hot key for you!
Trying to help.


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by MaestroMurcielago / March 24, 2005 10:27 AM PST
In reply to: Keyboard Shortcuts

Um, if I'm not mistaken-and I know I'm not- (or misreading your post, haha) Command-O will open anything.

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by taboma. / March 24, 2005 12:56 PM PST
In reply to: Command-O

Yes it will. Yet, the original poster did not want to go through that process. Just wants to hit a quick-key like in Windoze. I thought that there was a software program called QUICK-KEYS. Is that still around?


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by taboma. / March 27, 2005 12:04 PM PST

Suggestion for you opening an App in Mac as a shortcut.
Drag your Apps to the DOCK. The DOCK will make an alias of the app. When you want to open an App, just go the the Doc and open it with a click. You will still have to use a mouse to do this. Quick and easy. What could be simpler? Sorry you hate to use a mouse. Get used to it!


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Yes you can, with a Mighty Mouse
by Gursu Altunkaya / February 10, 2009 11:51 PM PST

You can open any application with one click.

If you have a Mighty Mouse, of course.

Just set the track wheel to ?Other?, which lets you select any application to be opened when you press the track wheel button.

Obviously this is helpful if you want to quickly access just one application you use frequently (in my case I have set the button to launch Safari).

For accessing --any-- application I can't think of anything else than dragging it into the Dock.

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by kevanatkins / February 13, 2009 12:34 PM PST

Ahh. I know the feeling. But the solution is simple through an application called Quicksilver. It's a fine piece of software, perfect for the productivity nerds. It completely free. Once you get it, you don't know what you did without it.

You can download Quicksilver from:

1. Download Quicksilver

2. Install it (drag it from the disk image to the applications folder)

3. Open Quicksilver

4. For the least intrusive operation of Quicksilver, go to preferences, then un-check everything except 'Start at login' and 'Show icon in menu bar', though you can set it how you like.

5. Enter the triggers section of the settings window by clicking the icon labeled 'triggers' along the top of the window. Here is where you set your shortcuts for the application.

6. To create a new trigger, click the button with the + symbol on it located at the bottom of the window and select the 'hotkey' option.

7. Double click the new hotkey trigger item that has been created and start typing the application or file you want to access in the box labeled 'select an item'. Suggestions will begin show up on the right side and you can select from there. Then Hit Enter.

8. Click the icon on your new hotkey that looks like a keyboard key. A drawer will slide out showing you your options. Click the box that's labeled 'Hot Key:' and simple press the key command you want to assign to your application. Your best bet is to have your key command start with the control key and then whatever else, as it is less likely to be occupied by any particular application you may have active.

9. You're done, you can close the window.

If you have any troubles or queries with the software, I'd be happy to help. Though I think you should be pretty fine with it. Best of luck!

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Add keyboard hotkeys with Quicksilver
by midget2000x / July 6, 2009 4:36 AM PDT
In reply to: Quicksilver
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by jeremyj803 / September 11, 2011 11:45 PM PDT

I too hate using the mouse on my macbook, I added a copy of the apps I use on a regular basis to my desktop and then added a keyboard shortcut under the finder application that pointed to the name of the app exactly as it pretty good. Sometimes you may have to use command-tab to switch to your finder application first, then you type your shortcut keystroke. Hope this helps, I know the post is old.

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by jeremyj803 / September 12, 2011 2:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Yes

This only works once you've opened and viewed the application under Apple Menu 'Recent Items'

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Use Alfred App to open applications with keyboard shortcuts
by realchaseadams / December 4, 2011 10:55 PM PST

I know this thread is SUPER old, but I figured I'd throw this out there for anyone who finds it:

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