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KeyCue - A cheat sheet for keyboard shortcuts Pick of the Week
KeyCue imageThe macosxhints Rating:
8 of 10
[Score: 8 out of 10]
This week's Pick of the Week is chosen primarily for it's unique premise -- as seen at left (larger image) KeyCue is a way to see every existing keyboard shortcut for the currently active application. Yes, keyboard shortcuts are documented by their very existence. But many are buried in sub-menus and may not be seen often. KeyCue makes it easy to see all of them in one spot. The yellow highlights reflect the keys that are currently pressed (command and option in the screenshot), which is an easy way to see which shortcuts are available; they change as you press and release the various modifiers.

Using KeyCue couldn't be any easier -- double-click it to launch it, then just press and hold Command. After a couple seconds (the delay is configurable), the KeyCue menu pops to the foreground, showing all the active app's shortcuts. To configure KeyCue, you can either double-click it in the Finder when it's already running, or use its shortcut, listed last in the pop-up window. Configuration options include the delay before appearing, what actions make the palette vanish, how to group the shortcuts, and whether or not to include the Services menu's shortcuts.

Reasons for markdowns: KeyCue only "sees" real keyboard shortcuts that are listed in menus; it doesn't, for instance, show Control-K in Excel, which is a shortcut for Delete Row. This is clearly not KeyCue's fault; those shortcuts don't report themselves to the OS, as I understand it. One other annoyance, to me at least, is that the menu pops up in the center of the screen. I'd prefer it if it popped up under the cursor, as that's typically where my eyes are looking. With two displays, it's even worse, as the center of the main screen can be quite a distance from whatever window you might be working in. Finally, I was a bit irked that KeyCue added itself to my startup items without even asking -- there's a preference to disable it, but it defaults to "Load at startup." I'm seeing this in more and more apps, and liking it less and less each time.

KeyCue isn't the kind of application that I'd use regularly (I spend so much time in my few key apps that the shortcuts are second nature by now), so I don't think I'll be purchasing it. However, I thought it was a unique concept, and one that could definitely help you learn the shortcut keys in a hurry, so I thought it deserved a spot as a (late, sorry!) Pick of the Week.
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Speaking of keyboardshortcuts...
Authored by: TvE on May 06, '04 02:25:20AM

I am really missing one feature from Windows - the feature that enables me to target *a specific* menu via one shortcut, eg ALT-F for the File menu.

In the Mac I can "only" (after some very good improvements from Apple!!!) target the Apple menu (for me by hitting CTRL-M), the I have to arrow my way to other menus.

So it takes me another 9 "clicks" to go to the Help menu in Safari...
- I do like that I can type my way to a specific line in the menu, eg "O" to get to the Open File... in the File menu...


WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO FIND:
An application that - generally - let me use eg. ALT-F to activate the File menu, ALT-B for Bookmarks etc.

It should somehow be customisable since there might be more menuitems beginning with the same letter (eg File & Font in BBEdit).

If it does'nt exist (Idoubt) the maybe I should begin to learn how to use my XCode ;-)



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Might save you some clicks
Authored by: araka5i on May 06, '04 09:36:03AM

Ctrl-F1 will turn on systemwide keyboard shortcuts, and, once they're on, Ctrl-F2 will 'focus' on the Menu. From there, arrows and first-letters (of menu commands) will navigate you around any application's menus using keyboard only. It's not the same ease of access as the Windows way, but it's better than mouse-only. For more keyboard shortcuts, see "Keyboard Shortcuts" in the Keyboard & Mouse System Preference.



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you misread my post
Authored by: TvE on May 06, '04 09:51:45AM

I *AM* (and have been for a LONG time) using all of those features* - actually since CTRL-M and CTRL-D was "predefined sets" (they're more logical for me than F1, F2 etc.) 10.2 I think?

What I am searching for is MORE than that :)

* a long with LaunchBar (that has replaced QuicKeys :) and LiteSwitch - so my mouseusage is down to a bare minimum...



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try iKey
Authored by: alec kinnear on May 06, '04 11:39:48AM

iKey is great. i don't know if it will let you do exactly what it is you want to do with the menus but it will let you target any menu item or window or whatever - even in sequences, with the keyboard shortcut of your choice.

it is the most stable power utility i have ever used. an amazing creation. philipe hupé is the creator. la brillance française.

i've used it to designate a key for switching the finder window views to column view with no shortcuts window and toolbar (OS 9) and the standard OS X finder view. have your cake and eat it too.

and the best part is you can make it do whatever you want in whatever application you want.

don't like the user interface - fix it. in minutes, not hours. apologies for the superlatives but iKey is that good.

and it's priced right at $20.

http://scriptsoftware.com/ikey/

another small but important use is a keyboard shortcut (cross application) for any boilerplate text you use.



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Well - no :(
Authored by: TvE on May 07, '04 05:27:51AM

iKey looks as a great application - something that could have been inspired by Quickeys (that I used a lot in the pre-OS X days :)

Unfortunately I am not able to create a shortcut to the Menu itself - only to an item in the menu or an item in a submenu.

If I delete the name of the menuitem (to try to convince the app to only show the menu not the menuitem) the result is a crash of iKey, so I guess there is room for some validation of the "objects" one creates ;-)

The app does look to have great potential so I'll send the programmer an e-mail with my featurerequest and - off course - also a link to this thread...



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Correction
Authored by: TvE on May 09, '04 08:36:20AM

Due to a user error - they DO happen once in a while here end there - I did'nt notice the "Display only menu" - THAT make it do what I want it to do(!)

The developer was so kind as to inform me about that issue within 24 hours - great, I am gonna love that app!



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KeyCue - A cheat sheet for keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: Welles Goodrich on May 06, '04 09:27:06AM

I have KeyCue installed because I hope to increase my use of key commands rather than using the mouse. For me it is quite useful but, as Rob points out, it only 'sees' and reports on commands in the keyboard menu. I was hoping, for example, that it might access the Keyboard Shortcuts... (a shortcut manager) which lists all key commands in Photoshop CS. As it doesn't, I've written the developer with that suggestion which, if implemented would be a boon to computer graphics civilization!



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KeyCue - A cheat sheet for keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: osxpounder on May 06, '04 11:12:47AM

Well, whatever your suggestion may be, I hope it is along the lines of "find a way to make KeyCue reveal ALL keyboard shortcuts in an app, even the ones we don't see listed on our menus." I was just thinking, all through April as I learned my way around Final Cut Pro 4, that I could really use an app that, when I had a certain app selected and held a key down, would show me what the key was assigned. I was constantly hitting keys in FCP that turned out to be shortcuts to things I didn't know about, and I worried now & then that I'd just done something destructive.

KeyCues is of no help to me, in this case, since it doesn't reveal all keyboard shortcuts. The ones on the menus are easy enough for me to find [I took snapshots of a few menus as reminders]; it's the ones that aren't on the menus that I most need help with.

---
--
osxpounder



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keyboard/mouse shortcuts
Authored by: sjk on May 06, '04 10:50:58PM

Yep, like some of those possibly-obscure-but-cleverly-useful option-prefixed ones that Apple likes to sneak in with software updates without necessarily documenting them which end up being mentioned in hints on this site. :-)

How hard can it be to consistently make "Keyboard/Mouse Shortcuts" a standard item under the Help menu of every application?



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KeyCue - A cheat sheet for keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: Frederico on May 07, '04 03:58:44AM

I wrote to the developer asking about this too; he replied that the only way he knew to accomplish this was to maintain a static database of known (or reported) keyboard shortcuts (apart from those shown in the Menubar).

This would be completely useless, as a simple "maintenance update" from many a vendor has been known to kill a keystroke.

There just has to be a way to scan the app to find the keystroke library and keep it current and "dynamic".

Otherwise, yes, this app could be a -- no, THE -- killer productivity app; replacing the endless pile of printed pages from hints sites, keystroke cards from Adobe, Macromedia, et al, that litter media artists' desks the world over. Of course, any number of software instructors would lose a good chunk of their value, but, hey, that's progress.



[ Reply to This | # ]
KeyCue - A cheat sheet for keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: Frederico on May 07, '04 04:13:56AM

I wrote to the developer asking about this too; he replied that the only way he knew to accomplish this was to maintain a static database of known (or reported) keyboard shortcuts (apart from those shown in the Menubar).

This would be completely useless, as a simple "maintenance update" from many a vendor has been known to kill a keystroke.

There just has to be a way to scan the app to find the keystroke library and keep it current and "dynamic".

Otherwise, yes, this app could be a -- no, THE -- killer productivity app; replacing the endless pile of printed pages from hints sites, keystroke cards from Adobe, Macromedia, et al, that litter media artists' desks the world over. Of course, any number of software instructors would lose a good chunk of their value, but, hey, that's progress.



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improving keyboard shortcuts
Authored by: sjk on May 08, '04 02:02:52AM
See John Gruber's Losers, Weepers article. Developers should be encouraging Apple to revamp the underlying implementation.

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