Keyboard Shortcuts on MacOS

How do you:

  • Know what keyboard shortcuts already exist (especially global ones)?
  • Deciding on keyboard shortcuts when you need new ones?
  • Keeping track of what you’ve created?

I keep on adding new shortcuts and sometimes it feels like a Franken-Keyboard. Shortcuts randomly placed everywhere and nowhere.

(Someone will mention the caps lock/hyper key trick - I can’t for the life of me get Karabiner to work at all with my Logitech Keyboard.)

Example recently I defined a macro in KM → “CMD + Shift + L” - gets the Page Title + URL from the current browser - it pops up text box to clean title and then places an html hyperlink on the keyboard.

CMD + Shift + L - is a global hotkey used by LastPass to search the vault. (I know the cool kids are using 1password)

How do you avoid this?

When creating shortcuts how do you design them to be memorable? I used “L” for links and CMD + Shift as I can’t imagine anything else using it MacOS. (Already proven wrong).

Any clever tricks on keeping track? Currently I just have an ever growing Obsidian note.


You could try the KeyCue app.


I use CheatSheet.

Remembering and assigning them is a problem.
Apps like Emacs use leader keys and keys that make sense mnemonically. For instance, space b k to kill a buffer, space f f to find a file, etc.

You can sort of do this with Keyboard Maestro and its conflict palette.
Basically, you assign multiple macros to the same key (e.g. F10), the palette pops up showing the choices, and you can choose the one you want.


Thanks - interesting idea - which lead me to discover: alfred-cheat: manage your own cheat sheets - alfred-cheat: manage your own cheat sheets - Share your Workflows - Alfred App Community Forum

The world is full of shiny gems. At the rate I’m going I will need to buy a 32GB M2 MBP this fall just to keep up with the utilities apps I have running (KM, StreamDeck, Alfred, Hazel, Backblaze, Pathfinder, the Antivirus my insurance says I must run, …)


A hardware solution is the Stream Deck.

I no longer rely on twisting my hand toes into pretzels for infrequent shortcuts. It used to feel like I was a fumbling sorceror, trying to remember which ancient eldritch shape would invoke the “Add comment” spell in ill-used apps. Now I just add KM macros to Stream Deck profiles for those apps. (“Invoke via URL scheme” in KM and “Website” actions on the Stream Deck defeat every other method, I’ve found.)

I am very grateful for it.


I use Streamdeck, and this gets me of the problem to remember all the Shortcuts I assign.
Also I use certain pattern for certain apps.
All my TextExpander Snippets are called up with a shortcut with an “x” as the first letter.
All my KM-Shortcuts, I used while I did it without Streamdeck, had the Caps-Lock as the Trigger, which gets the Shift-Ctrl-OPT-CMD assigned onto it.
As no other App is using those combinations, I had no conflicts at all about it.

@ryanjamurphy and @Ulli I do have StreamDeck.

I haven’t made good use of it yet. I do use the KM invoke from URL method.

My icons are awful; At least one my macros only works intermittently when triggered from the StreamDeck - yet it always works when run from KM.

I highly recommend Button Creator for Stream Deck. This app makes it quick and easy to generate good-looking Stream Deck icons. Among other things, you can use emojis and SF Symbols for button graphics.

For example, I used Button Creator to create most of the icons for my “home” profile:

At least one my macros only works intermittently when triggered from the StreamDeck - yet it always works when run from KM.

I use Keyboard Maestro with my Stream Deck and haven’t run into any issues. I’ve found the KMLink plug-in works best for my use cases.


I stopped making custom keyboard shortcuts for everything for the same reason I stopped (mostly) using Vim. Too many shortcuts. I know exactly how you feel, but in my case I just stopped using KM. I’ve got one or two custom shortcuts defined in system preferences, but other than that, I’ve just learned the default macOS shortcuts for everything.

I need to concentrate on getting things done, not shaving a half second off a copy/paste operation.


FWIW while I’m glad the various button creator apps exist, I inevitably dislike their aesthetic.

I go to, search for keywords, and drag and drop into the Stream Deck app. Takes 15s (unless you get very choosey, which happens on occassion) and the look is stellar.

I’d take a close look at the triggers and conditions for the macros in question. When I’ve had this happen, it’s been because the macro is in a group with a scope (e.g., “only function when [Some App] is open”).

KM Link is worth a shot but it crashes on me (too many macros, I suspect).

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Flaticon - I tried and hit an Adobe Paywall pretty quickly.

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SF Symbols provides a nice range of Icons.

Also you can use every App-Icon by just searching for them within Finder.
Image2Icon converts Images into Icons

I have a StreamDeck too. It sits idle waiting for me to find a use for it.
Ergonomically, it’s better for me to stay on home row, rather than reaching around for things.

Weird. All I can say is that I’ve used it for months without such a paywall. They’re explicit about resources being free for personal use:

They do advertise for Adobe. Maybe you hit a modal or popup you could’ve dismissed?

Edit: Screenshot’s not very useful. Here’s a quote:

Flaticon License

Free for personal and commercial purpose with attribution.

My StreamDeck just stopped working. It appears every so often I need to plug and unplug the cable. Who knows why.

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I figured it out. The top two rows of results are an adobe ad :slight_smile:

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I agree, however I put most of my stuff in KM on palettes and find that works well. It really is a neglected feature of KM it seems, it is at the center of my strategy. I even now have some snippets on them.


I am on Monterey and this workflow does not seem to work with Monterey. Just wondering how did you manage to get it to work?


I haven’t quite got to the stage of trying things yet. So you’re a step ahead of me. I do note the workflow creator did respond to questions in 2020, so asking on the Alfred forum might score a win.

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Ah, ok. I’ll try that. Thanks.