2012.04 Help: Less Mousework

By Woodson Gannaway

(Editor's note: Woodson is an occasional contributor to Mad Mac News and lives and teaches in China.)

In my favorite text editor, TextWrangler, the F2, F3, and F4 keys give me cut, copy, and paste. Not so in Apple apps, where I have to use ⌘-x, ⌘-c, and ⌘-v. I prefer the F-keys.

There are keyboard shortcuts for many, many of the menu items and you can make them for most of the menu items missing them. At least that's been my experience. Conflicts with existing shortcuts don't always register; I tried to use ⌃-a to move a Safari tab to a new window, the system didn't reject it and it showed up with the menu item, but it did nothing. Changed to ⌃-b it worked fine.

To place that Safari window in the dock there is already a shortcut, ⌘-m. These two form a sequence for me so I turned to Typinator, my keystroke saver, to make one shortcut to actuate the two.

You can make a lot of shortcuts in the system, and something like Typinator can reduce your typing load significantly. Accented characters for Western languages are old hat from the keyboard but suppose you need the letters with tone marks for Chinese Pinyin — you're out of luck. So I set up a shortcut for each one. I use unique item separators in different files and have shortcuts to paste from the clipboard followed by ¶ and that particular item separator. Some are a little more complicated that that but I try not to go too crazy. It would be easy to outfox myself.

So in brief, maybe something can make your day a tiny bit easier.

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