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Change the Finder's shortcut keys Desktop
When you use the Finder's shortcuts often, you may want to change some of them to better suit your needs. For example, I did not like the shortcut for the 'back' button in a Finder window. By default it is command [, and I wanted to change this to command B' which is the current shortcut to hide or show the toolbar.

Read the rest of the article for a quick how-to on editing Finder shortcuts...

[Editor's caution: Although not overly difficult, if you're not yet comfortable with the terminal, root privileges, and UNIX file permissions, I would recommend holding off on this hint. You do not want to mess up key files used by the Finder! I have not tried this hint myself.]

The Finder shortcuts are stored in a 'Localized.rsrc' file, and that is in binary format, so you will need HexEdit or another hex editor. You can change the shortcuts in this way:
  1. Open a terminal window and become the root user by typing su. Enter your root password when asked.

  2. CD to the location of the file and make a backup for safekeeping:
    % cd /System/Library/CoreServices/
    % cd /Contents/Resources/English.lproj/
    cp Localized.rsrc Localized.bak
  3. Copy the file to another location so you can modify on the copy:
    cp Localized.rsrc ~/Desktop/
  4. Modify the permissions on the desktop copy of the file:
    chmod 777 ~/Desktop/Localized.rsrc
  5. Leave the terminal window open and then switch to the Finder and open the file in HexEdit to search (command+F) for the command you want to change.

  6. Replace the value with a key you wish to use; values will look something like this:
    New Finder Window . N
    Replace the character(s) after the shortcut name(s) with the one(s) you like.

  7. Save the file & switch back to the terminal then copy and overwrite the original while resetting the permissions:
    cp ~/Desktop/Localized.rsrc Localized.rsrc
    chmod 644 Localized.rsrc
  8. Log out or restart the machine
That's it; your Finder shortcuts have been changed. I succesfully applied this hack on a PowerBook G3 and a PowerMac G4 both running 10.1.2.
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Change the Finder's shortcut keys | 9 comments | Create New Account
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Authored by: sublinear on Mar 04, '02 03:53:21PM

This is great - now I've got the Finder back command set to command + left arrow, just like the OmniWeb and IE 'Back' shortcut. Combined with USB Overdrive, the fourth mouse button of my IntelliMouse Explorer goes 'Back' in the Finder too! Woopah!

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Authored by: osxpounder on Mar 04, '02 04:34:42PM

How'd you set the back command to "command + left arrow", please? I can't imagine what to type in the config file to make that happen....


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Authored by: lugal on Mar 04, '02 08:16:48PM

How did you get this to work? I tried changing the hex code from 5B ("[") to 1C (which, I believe, is the proper code for the left arrow), but didn't have any success. The codes for other printing characters worked fine, though.

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Authored by: DavidRavenMoon on Mar 04, '02 09:29:33PM

In IE the back shortcut *is* Command-[, and forward is Command-]. Netscape is the same way.

I was excited to see the Finder uses the same back key, because I'm so used to using Command-[ in IE.

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This is Great, can not wait to try it out!
Authored by: lostinspace on Mar 04, '02 05:32:52PM

Now if we can just find a way to pull the trash can out of the dock and put it back on the desktop!

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This is Great, can not wait to try it out!
Authored by: DavidRavenMoon on Mar 04, '02 09:33:40PM

Forget the Trash can! Just select the file and press Command-delete. You can do it with one hand too! And empty the Trash with Command-Shift-delete.

Same is true with the IE back and forward keys... pressing Command-[ is easier than the arrow keys because you can use your right hand, thumb on Command and index finger on either [ or ].

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re: This is Great, can not wait to try it out!
Authored by: ClassicUser on Mar 06, '02 03:13:03AM
Regarding the query by lostinspace:
Now if we can just find a way to pull the trash can out of the dock and put it back on the desktop!

Easy - just use the best launching application on the planet, DragThing, at

The developer has gone to lots of trouble to enable some really cool features - including placing the Trash back on the desktop, where it belongs...

Combined with customizable shortcut keys for any item in a DragThing dock, and you have a must-have utility. Check it out!

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New Folder Shortcut?
Authored by: Paul Burney on Mar 04, '02 10:15:01PM

I haven't been able to switch the commands for new folder and new finder window. When opening the file, the new finder window shortcut appears to just be an N and the new folder is a null 00.

Swapping the two doesn't work, it just gets rid of the shorcut for new finder window. :(

Any ideas? This is my number one hated thing in the OS X Finder.

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Reassign Keyboard Commands without the Terminal
Authored by: gkar on Mar 05, '02 07:43:52AM

Keyboard Maestro lets me reassign keyboard commands without worrying about making potentially fatal mistakes. What's really nice is that keyboard commands can be assigned to specific application so I can make Command N create a new folder in the Finder without worrying about what trouble that might cause in other applications. This program has so many useful features that it should be part of any OS Xer's toolbox.

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