How to: Create a Mac keyboard shortcut to open any app
Any single app. There are many ways to launch an app — the Dock, Launchpad, Spotlight, Recent Items, Open With, etc. However, nothing beats a keyboard shortcut for pure efficiency as it keeps your hands right where they will be the most useful — on the keyboard, ready for the next task. That said, here’s how to create a Mac keyboard shortcut to open any app you want.
To get the job done, open Automator and then select File > New > Service and click “Choose” (image above). Click on the new Workflow’s title bar, select rename and give it a name — I will be creating a keyboard shortcut to launch Evernote.
Next, from the “Service receives” drop down menu, select “no input” and make sure “any application” is also selected.
Using the Automator search bar, search for “Launch Application,” drag that action into your Workflow and select “Evernote” from the drop down menu — Save this Workflow by pressing Command + S or selecting “Save” from the File menu.
And, the tricky bit
Selecting a unique keyboard shortcut key combination might require some experimentation. Apple’s Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts provides a listing of the default OS X KB combos that you should in general avoid.
However, some default keyboard shortcut combo uses are, frankly, rather esoteric and can be repurposed. For example, Apple lists Command + Option + F as being used to “Navigate to the search field in an already-open Spotlight window.”
For what it’s worth, regular Fairer Platform readers will remember using the Command + Option + F KB combo in Create a Notification Center keyboard shortcut. Other possible key combos that you might find useful are Command + Option + Control + T and Command + Option + V.
Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts and select Services from the left-hand pane. Scroll to the bottom of the list until you get to General, select “Launch Evernote” (i.e. the app you plan to launch), click “add shortcut” and press the KB combo you want to use — quit System Preferences.
Now, test your newly minted keyboard shortcut. Of course, assuming all went well (i.e. you may need to rinse and repeat to find an available KB shortcut), even if the app is already open, pressing your KB shortcut will bring the app to the front.
All good stuff.
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