Question

What hotkey software do you use?

Top recommendations so far:

  • BetterTouchTool
  • Autohotkey
  • Alfred
  • Quicksilver
Mentioned
#Productivity #Alfred
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maguay's avatar
2 years ago

I use both BetterTouchTool and Alfred for hotkeys.

BetterTouchTool’s core use-cases are to make shortcuts with your touchpad, so for instance I can click the top right corner of my MacBook’s trackpad to take a screenshot, or the lower right to open Inspect Element in browsers. You can also use it to make keyboard shortcuts, though I don’t have any I’m currently using in it.

Then, Alfred workflows can be triggered by keyboard shortcuts. The two I use most often are Option+CMD+V to show clipboard history, and Option+CMD+S to open my “Scratchpad” document in iA Writer to write quick notes down.

I also set some hotkeys in macOS keyboard settings. For instance, I changed Safari’s Quit shortcut from the default CMD+Q to CMD+Alt+Q so I don’t accidentally hit it, and made CMD+K trigger the crop tools in Preview. The default keyboard shortcut options in apps and the macOS keyboard settings are worth digging into as a great quick way to start using hotkeys without installing another program.

5 points
thedatadavis's avatar
@thedatadavis (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

I think I’ll look into Alfred; now that I’ve transitioned to Mac for work, I should probably find ways to work more efficiently.

2 points
JulienDambron's avatar
2 years ago

I use Autohotkey on Windows for its ability to be fully customized via scripts.

Depending on the current activity I am able to activate or not some hotkeys, like for instance text snippets when writing an email but that do not really have meaning in another context.

On Linux I use mostly i3wm, meaning everything done with the keyboard almost out of the box and no need for a mouse.

2 points
JulienDambron's avatar
2 years ago

I recently discovered espanso and it has quickly replaced Autohotkey on Windows! Really great text expander.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @JulienDambron )
2 years ago

Neat—and it's cross-platform too! Can it run system commands like Autohotkey in addition to text edpanding?

1 point
JulienDambron's avatar
@JulienDambron (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

It is possible to run scripts and shell commands. It is limited though as it is used to output a text.

1 point
shofro's avatar
2 years ago

The software with hotkeys that I use the most is Superhuman. As someone who was used to flying around a keyboard on excel, it was incredibly frustrating to not be able to have that experience in email. Superhuman feels like excel for email to me. I just feel in flow when I’m using it and I’m constantly hitting hotkeys in gmail when it doesn’t work 😭.

“E” to make emails done
“Cmnd + Enter” to send emails
“Z” to undo
“Cmnd + Shift + I” to Bcc

Those are the ones I use the most and actually takes cognitive friction for me to remember them when I’m not at a keyboard since it’s so ingrained in only 3 months of using! Big fan since use gmail for work and personal so get a lot out of Superhuman.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @shofro )
2 years ago

Superhuman's keyboard shortcuts are great. My favorite thing is how it teaches you the hotkeys as you're using the app, and shows them in the CMD+K menu so you can memorize them over time without it being hard.

Funny thing is I now use keyboard shortcuts in Gmail.com more than I did before after using Superhuman, since the keyboard shortcuts are often the same, I just never took the time to learn them in Gmail.

3 points
shofro's avatar
@shofro (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

Hah I literally feel exactly the same way. Never took the time to learn them in gmail frankly because of the friction that exists with learning them in gmail vs Superhuman with the onboarding and constant reinforcement just drills it in. Still fact that you can't tap "e" in gmail makes it so hard to use gmail normally haha.

2 points
Livenadav's avatar
@Livenadav (replying to @shofro )
2 years ago

gr8 Feedback, @shofro

1 point
pendolino's avatar
2 years ago

It's funny but I actually use a few tools that achieve the same thing. It's kind of evolved over the years but since they don't clash (apart from crowding out the key combos) they work nicely for me.
I am a Quicksilver holdout (if anyone remembers that anymore) and use it mainly to search the web with some triggers including one's for Google's I'm Feeling Lucky to open sites directly, etc.
I've been trying out Alfred (again) recently but, beyond searches haven't done much with it worth mentioning.
BetterTouchTool has been a surprising delight in that it's actually made my use my neglected Macbook's Touchbar (to create app triggers for now) as well as keyboard combos for connecting my Airpods (two pairs separately). Very cool.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @pendolino )
2 years ago

Oh wow, never used Quicksilver regularly but know people who loved it. Do you use any of its plugins?

And you're right—BetterTouchTool is the best thing for the Touchbar. I use it to add the dock to my touchbar, which since my Dock is usually hidden, that actually is helpful and frees up screen space. I may have to see if I can get a keyboard shortcut to work to disconnect bluetooth from my headphones—that would be super useful. Repairing headphones is more annoying than it should be.

1 point
pendolino's avatar
@pendolino (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago
  • I used to use quite a few plugins with QS in the past but since the support has been declining over time I've mainly stuck with the native basic tools.
  • How do you get the dock to show on the Touchbar with BTT? I created shortcuts for each app and had to fish for the icons individually.
  • The airpods connect/disconnect toggle is surprisingly robust and a pleasant suprise.
1 point
spoon16's avatar
2 years ago

Hammerspoon Is great if you are running macOS. https://www.hammerspoon.org/

Hammerspoon is a desktop automation tool. It allows a variety of different events to be subscribed to and complex actions can be taken in response. Hot keys are a well supported event type.

It’s developer focused, configuring hot keys requires editing a Lua script, but incredibly powerful. I have hot keys setup to manage window placement and their behavior changes based on whether or not an external monitor is plugged in and which external monitor I have plugged in.

2 points
tonic4401's avatar
2 years ago

AutoHotKey on windows with great simple scripts.
Nothing on Mac, like that. Karabiner can't help me.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @tonic4401 )
2 years ago

What are some of your favorite ways to use AutoHotKey on Windows? I would think there should be something that'd be able to do most of what it does on the Mac, but not certain...

1 point
unxrlm's avatar
2 years ago

I'm not a heavy user of keyboard hotkey automation but I do have (Keyboard Maestro)[https://www.keyboardmaestro.com/main/] installed on all my Macs. It's easy to use and allows me different automation depending on the application context.

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @unxrlm )
2 years ago

What are some of the text automations you do use that are most helpful?

1 point
unxrlm's avatar
@unxrlm (replying to @maguay )
2 years ago

I don't use text automations as much as I use Macros. The set of Macros I use consistently are for Outlook. Work has me use Outlook on a Mac. It other to process mail I've implemented Outlook macros to handle like similar to how Gmail does. I have Cmd-Y to move to a folder called Archive, # deletes and Cmd-M moves to folder of my choice.

2 points
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @unxrlm )
2 years ago

Oh yeah that'd be super helpful when apps don't let you customize their keyboard shortcuts otherwise. Great idea!

1 point
siddxxvii's avatar
2 years ago

I recently started using BetterTouchTool and couldnt be happier, I mean it has made me more fast in terms of productivity and multitasking. Custom gestures and keys are just amazing. Assigning them to third party apps is great. I can keep on going on with praises about BetterTouchTool :)
Also just one example, i schedule alot of meetings and have to keep my calendar app (woven) open at ease, so with BetterTouchTool i have assigned a custom gesture to calendar app and voila ..! within 2 seconds the app is opened..

1 point
maguay's avatar
@maguay (replying to @siddxxvii )
2 years ago

Oh man, I love BetterTouchTool though I know I don’t use it nearly as much as I could. My favorite features are using it to snap windows to the side of my screen, replacing the Touch Bar with some more useful widgets, and pressing the top right corner of the trackpad to take a screenshot.

The calendar shortcut is super clever! I have a similar keyboard shortcut for my writing app, where CMD+Opt+S opens my default scratchpad document, though a gesture might make that even faster.

1 point
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