Add Keyboard Shortcuts For Any Menu Item on Your Mac

When a Menu Lacks a Keyboard Shortcut, Add Your Own

Create Keyboard Shortcuts
Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

Keyboard shortcuts are handy, letting you quickly access commands or features of an application directly from your keyboard, without having to mouse around the application's menus. But some menu items in your favorite applications may not have keyboard shortcuts associated with them, which means you have stop typing, grab the mouse, and fiddle with the menus.

If there's a menu command you use often that doesn't have a keyboard shortcut, you can create your own using Apple's Keyboard preference pane.

Adding Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts

Adding a keyboard shortcut to a menu item is a simple task thanks to Apple's Keyboard preference pane. I'm going to show you how to add a keyboard shortcut in OS X 10.10.x (Yosemite), but the process is the same in earlier versions of OS X, with just a few minor differences in names.

  1. Launch System Preferences by clicking the System Preferences icon in the Dock, or selecting System Preferences from the Apple menu.
  2. Select the Keyboard preference pane (Leopard and later), or the Keyboard & Mouse preference pane (Tiger and earlier).
  3. In the preference pane's window, click the Keyboard Shortcuts tab.
  4. Select the App Shortcuts item in the left hand pane.
  5. Click the plus (+) button near the bottom center of the window.
  6. Use the dropdown menu to choose an application you want to add a keyboard shortcut to. For this example, I'll add a new keyboard shortcut to the Finder.
  7. In the Menu Title field, type in the exact menu name as it appears in the application. I'm going to add a keyboard shortcut to the Finder for the New Burn Folder, so I'll type New Burn Folder.
  1. Click once in the Keyboard Shortcut field to highlight it.
  2. Add the keyboard shortcut you wish to use by typing it. I'm going to use control + shift + b (that's the control key, plus the shift key, plus the letter b key).
  3. Click the Add button.
  4. Close the preference pane.

Now whenever I need a new Burn Folder, I can use my new keyboard shortcut to create it.

Published: 7/11/2010

Updated: 6/15/2015