No matter how popular the mouse become, using a keyboard shortcut is still the fastest method to get your way around. The default installation of Mac comes with a set of hotkeys that you can use right away, like F12 to bring up the dashboard, F9 to show expose etc. But if you want to create (or customize) your own shortcut keys for a third party app, things started to become more complicated.
Luckily, there is Spark, a free software that transforms you into a keyboard ninja.
Spark is not a new software. In fact, it was featured in our 100 free software for Mac. The best thing about Spark is the power it grants you to create your own hotkeys for any applications.
1. Download and install Spark
When you open Spark for the first time, it will prompt if you want to activate Spark during login and immediately. The best option is to enable both. Next, you will arrive at the dashboard, as shown in the screenshot below.
Spark allows you to create hotkeys either for all applications or just for a specific app. For All Applications, it means that your hotkey is applicable system wide. On the other hand, creating a hotkey for a specific app means that hotkey will only work within that app.
By default, all the hotkeys you created will work for all applications. To create a hotkey for a specific application, click on the “All applications Hotkeys” button at the center top of the Spark window. A new window will slide out from the left. Click on the + button to add your application to the list. Highlight the list and proceed to create your hotkey.
Creating a hotkey
You can create a hotkey for almost everything. You can get it to launch Application, run a AppleScript, Create new document, control iTunes, access the Menu item or even perform System task (like logout, shut down). The best of all, you can even create a snippet of text and bind it to a hotkey. Whenever you press that hotkey, the snippet of text get pasted into the document.
To create a hotkey (for example, hotkey to launch TextEdit):
- Double click on the Application entry (or go to File -> New Hotkey -> Application)
- Assign a hotkey and choose the TextEdit app
- Lastly click the create button
Once created, the hotkey will appear as an entry in the dashboard.
Backup your hotkeys
What use does it have if you can’t backup your hotkeys and use it on another Mac? In Spark, you can access the File ->Export to Web page or Backup Spark Library to backup your hotkeys.
In the Preferences, this is where you can configure it to start during login, check for new update regularly etc.
Anyone who is crazy about raising productivity will definitely not give Spark a miss. Even though it is still in beta (apparently it has been in beta for years), it is fully functional and works as well as you expected it to be.
Image credit: DeclanTM
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