Your Mac is a time saver, right? Except for all the time spent mousing and windowing around to get things done. One way to save time and reduce aggravation is with hotkeys that do nearly everything. AliasKeys may be the simplest, most elegant hotkey utility you can find for your Mac.
Keyboard or Mouse?
One of the problems many of us have is the constant back and forth between mouse and keyboard. Or, is it keyboard to mouse? Either way, the mouse may be easy but it’s a lot more work than the keyboard.
The keyboard’s problem lies in our memory and complicated shortcuts that differ between applications. Shortcuts are nice, but who can remember them all?
That’s what makes AliasKeys a sweet little utility. Not too complicated, easy to set up, but loaded with value, and ease of use.
Shortcuts or Hotkeys?
There’s not much difference. A hotkey is a keystroke combination that becomes a shortcut, usually by eliminating use of the mouse, to get something done.
AliasKeys lets you assign keystrokes to open files and folders. Any item that the Finder can open may be dragged to the list of AliasKeys and assigned a combination of keys, to open it without touching your mouse. You can use AliasKeys for applications, documents, folders, aliases, preference panels, servers, scripts… even web pages!
That’s the ad copy speaking. Does AliasKeys work that way?
Setup the Keys
Getting started can’t be much easier. Don’t bother looking for complicated Preferences and mystic settings. AliasKeys is simple (click any image for a pop up, close up view).
Drag and drop whatever your Finder can open into AliasKeys. Applications, utilities, web page URLs, documents, files, folders, whatever. Assign a key stroke combination to each one.
In case that still looks too difficult, AliasKeys comes with a built-in Help screen, fully resizable, with all you need to know about Getting Started, Creating an AliasKey, and much more.
Click on a topic and you get all the instructions you need.
This is the easy part. Almost. You get to assign whatever keystroke combination you want to whatever function, whether it’s just opening an application or a document, connecting to a server, or running an AppleScript.
Hitting the keys opens the corresponding item, as would a double-click on its icon. AliasKeys is basically as simple as that; it is also extremely easy to set up.
I know. You’re looking for more complexity, right? Uh uh.
No Drag & Drop?
Alright, not every Mac user is a drag and drop fanatic. Like me. Fanatic? Sometimes. About drag and drop? Nope. I’m a Finder columns kinda girl and I hate opening windows and dragging this or that here or there.
AliasKeys sets up quickly with drag and drop, but entertains fanciful folks like me with a standard menu and dialog box to add files.
Click the Add Key for Application pull-down menu, then navigate wherever on your Mac to select which application, utility, folder, file, document, or whatever, that you want to assign to a hotkey.
AliasKeys is a one trick pony that does one trick very well. For me, there was only one real problem. Just one. A big one.
I can’t remember all those keystroke combinations. That’s an area where Windows applications have an edge on Mac applications. Keystroke shortcuts.
Not only does software have their own keystroke combinations to perform certain functions or tasks, AliasKeys adds to the list of what you have to remember. If you can remember all the hotkeys you create, great. If not, maybe a bottle of ginko biloba might help.
Otherwise, AliasKeys is very good at what it does.