Simon Willison’s Weblog


OS X Tip: Remapping keyboard shortcuts

8th June 2004

On my Mac, Apple+W is the shortcut for closing a window (or tab in a tabbed application such as Safari or Firefox) while Apple+Q quits the application completely. These keys are right next to each other on the keyboard. Today, for the final time, I hit the wrong key and accidentally sent a couple of days accumulation of useful browser windows straight in to the abyss. I say for the last time because my intended IRC rant about the stupidity of setting those two keys right next to each other was cut off by Richard Soderberg, who showed me how to remap keyboard shortcuts for any application in OS X.

  1. Bring up the Keyboard & Mouse preference pane.
  2. Hit the Keyboard Shortcuts tab.
  3. Click the + icon.
  4. Select Firefox from the Application menu.
  5. In the Menu Title box, enter the exact text “Quit Firefox”.
  6. In the Keyboard Shortcut box, enter a new shortcut (crysflame suggested Option-Apple-Q).
  7. Click Add.

You’ll need to restart Firefox to see the change, but sure enough the old keyboard shortcut has been replaced—and the menu has even been updated to reflect the change! Magic. I’d be interested to know what happens when you try this in apps that have more than one menu item with the same name. Right now I’m going through all my other multi-window apps (SubEthaEdit, Safari etc.) and remapping their quit keys as well.

This is OS X Tip: Remapping keyboard shortcuts by Simon Willison, posted on 8th June 2004.

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