How to Create Custom Keyboard Shortcut in macOS?

People who like to use keyboard may be disappointed when they do not find a menu item does not have a keyboard shortcut. It will also become unproductive to repeatedly use menu items instead of using shortcut keys. For example, when you are creating a document in Pages how many times you undo things from the menu option “Edit > Undo”? Obviously you tend to use “Command + Z” though you are not an expert in using keyboard shortcut keys.

Related: Alt code shortcuts for Mac.

Fortunately Apple’s macOS provides an option to create a shortcut for any menu items of an application which does not have default shortcut keys. In this article we will discuss how to create custom keyboard shortcut in macOS. Check out our article on complete list of macOS Keyboard shortcuts.

Create Custom Shortcuts for Menu Items

The process has the four steps:

  • Access preferences.
  • Create app shortcuts.
  • Choosing app and menu.
  • Using the shortcut in app.

Let us explain each of the step in detail.

Step1 – Open Keyboard Preferences

Click on the “Apple” icon located on top left corner of your Mac and choose “System Preferences…” menu. Click on “Keyboard” option.

Open Keyboard Preferences in macOS
Open Keyboard Preferences in macOS

Step2 – Creating App Shortcuts

Select “App Shortcuts” from the left panel available under “Shortcuts” tab then click on the “+” button.

Add Keyboard Shortcuts in Mac
Add Keyboard Shortcuts in Mac

Step3 – Choosing App and Menu

You will see a fly out screen showing the option to select / type “Application”, Menu Title” and “Keyboard Shortcut”. Assume you want to create a shortcut key for “Pages” app for the menu “View > Show Word Count”. This is a useful option to show word count figure down the document when typing and does not have a default shortcut.

Example of Creating Keyboard Shortcut in Pages
Example of Creating Keyboard Shortcut in Pages

In the fly out screen, select / type the following details:

  • Application – choose “Pages” from the dropdown.
  • Menu Title – type the menu item “Show Word Count”.
  • Keyboard Shortcut – enter the shortcut key you want, for example we enter F10 here.
Adding Details to Create a Keyboard Shortcut in macOS
Adding Details to Create a Keyboard Shortcut in macOS

Important Point When Choosing Shortcuts

  • Ensure to select the menu title as exactly shown in the application menu.
  • You can select shortcut keys as a combination, function keys or a single key. Examples: F10, , ⌘⌃, ⌥⌘B.
  • After creating the shortcut, you can edit anytime just by clicking on it in the “App Shortcuts” preferences.

Step4 – Using Shortcut in the App

Now open the Pages and check the “View” menu and you will see the shortcut you created “F10” will be showing next to the menu “Show Word Count” as shown below.

View Created Shortcut in Pages
View Created Shortcut in Pages

Pressing F10 will show the word count down the page. Select key combination which is already not existing for another menu item. Choosing duplicate shortcuts will do both the actions when used. For example, in the above example, if you have selected ⌘Z as shortcut keys then both “Undo” and “Show Word Count” function will work in the Pages app.

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