How to Customize Keyboard Shortcuts in OS X

If you want to do things faster on your Mac, using keyboard shortcuts is the best way to be more productive without cutting corners. Here’s how to customize the keyboards shortcuts in OS X.

While there’s a specific way to do something on your Mac, there’s always a way to do it faster. Keyboard shortcuts are the most popular way to get something done faster, and sometimes it’s the only way to get something done (like taking a screenshot).


You might know the basic keyboard shortcuts, like copy-and-paste, but there are a way more that every user should know.

Furthermore, you can even customize keyboard shortcuts in OS X to change them how you want. Some keyboard shortcuts are incredibly useful, but they can be really confusing since they may require three or more keys to press down, and when you want to memorize a handful of keyboard shortcuts, it can get confusing rather quickly.



Here’s how to customize keyboard shortcuts in OS X, which will hopefully make remembering keyboard shortcuts easier.


Customizing Keyboard Shortcuts

One keyboard shortcut that’s incredibly confusing is taking a screenshot. Cmd+Shift+3 will take a screenshot of your Mac and save it as a file to your desktop. Of course, this key combination isn’t incredibly difficult to remember, but it’s pretty hard to do it with one hand. Luckily, you can change this shortcut to something that’s a bit easier to execute on the keyboard.

To change a keyboard shortcut, you’ll want to head to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts. Navigate to a specific shortcut by selecting a category in the left-hand sidebar. I’ve decided to click Screen Shots and change some of those shortcuts to something easier.

When you find a shortcut that you want to change, simply click on the keyboard shortcut to the right and enter in a new keyboard shortcuts. I changed the shortcut for taking a screenshot to F12. I’ll still need to hit the Function key and then F12, but it’s still much easier than Cmd+Shift+3 in my opinion.



However, the great thing about customization is that you can change it to whatever you want to make it easier for you. You can even disable some keyboard shortcuts of your choice. For example, if you don’t use use Mission Control, you can simply just disable all of the keyboard shortcuts associated with Mission Control so that you don’t accidentally hit a shortcut and activate it.

Useful Keyboard Shortcuts You Should Know

There are a ton of keyboard shortcuts in OS X, but here are a few that are good to know and can help save you time and keep you from going insane.

Cmd+Shift+V – Pastes copied text without the formatting (like if it was bold or italicized when you copied it).

Cmd+Shift+T – Re-opens a tab that you might have accidentally closed.

Cmd+` – Switches between different windows from the same application that you have open.



Cmd+Shift+F – Instantly opens and displays the All My Files window.

Cmd+N – Opens a new Finder window.

Cmd+Opt+Esc – Opens up the Force Quit window where you can select an app to Force Quit.


Cmd+Tab – Brings up the app switcher to switch between apps.

Shift+Opt+Volume – Adjusts the volumes in quarter increments, allowing for finer volume controls.

Cmd+Space – Brings up OS X Spotlight Search.