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Use FreeHotKeys to ease application switching Apps
In my opinion, one of the biggest drawbacks of OS X is the lack of a working global hotkey system. I usually have several applications up, some of them hidden, some of them minimized to the dock. I want a quick way to be able to bring all the windows of a given application to the foreground with a single key sequence. None of the solutions on macosxhints seemed to work 100% correctly. Some didn't work at all (e.g., using AppleScript plus hotkeys). Others required lengthy configuration screens. One, when improperly configured, caused OS X to launch every single application in the /Applications folder (ouch)! And worst of all, most of them wanted to charge money for a service that really should be a free part of an OS; even Microsoft Windows has it for free.

Then I found FreeHotKeys. This application is free, not "try-before-you-buy." And best of all, it requires no configuration at all. Just run it. Then, to bring up an application, type option-command + the first letter of the application. Want Mozilla? option-command-M. Want X11? option-command-X. Now, If you are skeptical and saying to yourself, "Gee, that doesn't work for me, I want to be able to change the hotkeys," my advice to you is to try it anyway, because that is exactly the same thing I thought at the beginning. Now I'm addicted to the option-command system.

Get it here: http://batista.org/freehotkeys.html

By the way, you can also assign function keys to AppleScripts and this time it works. Also, this is an application switcher, not launcher. You will have to launch applications manually for yourself---which is fine by me because I usually only do it once per day.

Another note: if your application's windows are minimized (located beside the trash on the Dock) rather than hidden (completely out of view), then no application switcher I've found will bring them to the foreground. As far as I know, FreeHotKeys and others bring up only "Hidden" windows, not "Minimized" ones.
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Use FreeHotKeys to ease application switching | 21 comments | Create New Account
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Drop Drawers also does a superb job at this
Authored by: hamarkus on Nov 27, '03 03:35:55PM

Though you have to pay for it, Drop Drawers offers freely configurable hotkeys for applications, folders, servers, text clips etc., essentially everything you can create an alias to or put on the clipboard. The program has to reside in the Dock but you can hide the individual drawers.

The hotkeys override everything, even Mac OS shortcuts, so one has to be careful when choosing the combinations.



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Use FreeHotKeys to ease application switching
Authored by: nevyn on Nov 27, '03 03:59:05PM

My favourite Global-hotkey-app is KeyXing. It's great. I use it to map iTunes controles to F10, F11 and F12. Superb. ( http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/11465 )

---
?



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Use FreeHotKeys to ease application switching
Authored by: brw3sbc on Nov 27, '03 06:24:15PM

Perhaps I am missing something. While COMMAND-TAB then mouse click on the appropriate icon may not be a single step, it is a well coordinated step with the keyboard at the left hand and the mouse in the right. The sequence described above brings all the selected-application windows to the front for me.



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Use FreeHotKeys to ease application switching
Authored by: Voorburg on Nov 28, '03 06:46:07AM

You don't even have to click. Just pointing at the application will do.



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Or...
Authored by: fiddler on Nov 28, '03 06:53:58AM

You could just click on the dock icon. ;)



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Use FreeHotKeys to ease application switching
Authored by: Pausanias on Dec 05, '03 05:22:24PM

Umm, the whole point is that we're looking for a keyboard shortcut, not a mouse+keyboard shortcut. Many of us want to minimize our mouse mileage.



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Check out Launchbar
Authored by: erikheerlein on Nov 27, '03 07:21:07PM
Launchbar is an application launcher and it also works as an applicatioin switcher, pulling up apps that are hidden. http://www.obdev.at/products/launchbar/index.html

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Check out Launchbar
Authored by: DavidTO on Nov 27, '03 10:34:39PM

Two great things about LaunchBar:

It searches your address book, so you can type in an abbreviation for anyone in your address book, and then it opens a new mail message to that person.

It also searches your bookmarks, so you can use it to load any of your bookmarked webpages.



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Check out Launchbar
Authored by: dogboy on Nov 28, '03 07:02:07AM

The latest version will also display the phone number of anyone in your address book.
And it learns what abbreviations you use for accessing all these items.



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No, use fruitmenu for only $9. Its ok to pay for useful software.
Authored by: onno on Nov 27, '03 09:32:07PM

I've been an avid user of Quickeys since it came out in the early 1990s, mostly for the purpose of quickly switching from program to program, but recently, after paying another $100 to CE Software for yet another incremental upgrade to a program that is but a ghost of what it once was, discovered that fruitmenu {http://www.unsanity.com/haxies/fruitmenu/}, which I had purchased a long time ago before the quick key functionality was added to the program, performs key-switching flawlessly, it is a breeze to implement, much easier than Quickeys and it will launch and switch programs. I much prefer it to Apple's implementation in OSX.3. It is only $9 for a lifetime of upgrades. I am waiting for Unsanity to get the new version together for OSX.3. While not free, I have no qualms paying for a product, but CE Software seems out of place with the $300 or so that I have spent over the years on upgrades to Quickeys. Fruitmenu adds lots of other wonderful functionality that you do not get with Quickeys, so I have been recommending it to others.



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No, use fruitmenu for only $9. Its ok to pay for useful software.
Authored by: Bigc on Nov 27, '03 11:12:42PM

There is a Beta of Fruit Menu for Panther at unsanity.org. I think it is in the October Archives or November



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No, use fruitmenu for only $9. Its ok to pay for useful software.
Authored by: onno on Nov 28, '03 10:26:13AM

thanks



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Consider MaxMenus
Authored by: dkulp on Nov 28, '03 12:22:38AM
I'm a big fan of MaxMenus from Proteron. It is only $20 -- a reasonable amount to pay, IMO, for a very well done, but simple utility. Besides providing completely configurable, unobtrusive menus to everything, you can assign a global hotkey to any menu item. As you navigate through the menus, simply press the hot key and it is immediately assigned. Very elegant. These hotkeys can be assigned to applications and a hotkey will either launch the application or raise all windows if the application is already running. (These guys also wrote LiteSwitch X, which Apple copied.)

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Not necessarily the whole story...
Authored by: macmath on Nov 28, '03 09:15:51AM

Proteron's point of open letter to Apple is not necessarily the whole story. Read these articles:

http://www.lowendmac.com/scope/03/1029.html

and

http://fury.com/article/1872.php





It may be useful to read the



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Use FreeHotKeys to ease application switching
Authored by: PeterDie on Nov 28, '03 03:28:26AM

Yup, and here we go again.

To show an open applications minimized windows, you can use DragThing. It even opens a window for closed but still running iCal. I got all my fav apps under F-keys, cmnd-F and ctrl-F keys.
Sleep? F13 Safari? F8 Addresbook?F2. I even labeled it with this nice Dymo Alu foil label. On my last mac. Now I know them by heart.

Dragthing, There no stopping it, and you'll have to drag me away from it.



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Use FreeHotKeys to ease application switching
Authored by: syko on Nov 28, '03 04:32:18AM

exactly



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Use FreeHotKeys to ease application switching
Authored by: ronbel on Nov 30, '03 12:01:01AM

I use iKey, an incredibly powerful macro/automation utility, which can not only open aps with short cut keys, but it can also type text, activiate menus and many other functions. I used to use KeyQuencer for OS 9, but iKey is much more powerful and it works great in Panther.

http://www.scriptsoftware.com/ikey



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None of the other solutions are free.
Authored by: Pausanias on Dec 05, '03 05:32:03PM

See, it's the idea of paying someone for a feature, that should be in there for free that just irritates me. While I'm sure all the solutions you've posted here work fine, FreeHotKeys is the only truly free one. I think that the whole Apple community has gotten too used to paying $5 here, $10 there for features that Apple should have put in there in the first place. I've migrated from the Linux community, where these little applet things are always free---no one would even think of charging for them.

And for me, "ShareWare" or "try before you buy" or even "donate if you like it" doesn't mean "free." I don't need some author guilt-tripping me into paying him five bucks. "If you liked this program, please give me money." I don't need that. Either it's free or it's not free.

And to the person who suggested I should use command-tab + mouse: allow me to remind you that we are talking keyboard shortcuts here. No mouse allowed, by definition. Thanks.



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None of the other solutions are free.
Authored by: dsomar on Dec 06, '03 03:06:44PM

Thanks for the tip as this was EXACTLY the kind of tool I was looking for. I do disagree with your statement regarding donationware and the like. If you find it useful and feel it is something you would pay for, then pay for it.

IF

it is something you feel should have been built into the OS ages ago, and the programmer is simply providing a helpful tool with that very philosophy but doesn't necessarily have to be paid for, then DON'T PAY FOR IT and don't be sensitive about it. It's not that big a deal.

THERE ARE USERS who go out of their way to pay for something that's free because they find it SO helpful. I'm not one of them, but it sure happens.

Thanks again for the great suggestion and happy holidays.
D



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Use FreeHotKeys to ease application switching
Authored by: Emer on Mar 23, '04 06:11:18AM

Yeah, Freehotkeys rules! I tried almost all of those try-and-payware. Crap... Don`t wanna pay for keyboard shortcuts. I agree that this had to be in OS X, in the first place, as in Linux.
But it isn`t only a switcher. If you create all the keyX.txt files, it is a launcher for apps and folders too. And it brings minimized and hidden windows to front.



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Use FreeHotKeys to ease application switching
Authored by: Pausanias on Jul 12, '04 06:48:48PM
Just an update from the original author of this hint: I have now switched from FreeHotKeys to Butler, which is also free, easy to use, and far more powerful than FreeHotKeys (and also a lot more stable than Another Launcher).

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