QuicKeys (Missing a blast from the past)

I miss Quickeys. I am not a programmer but Quickeys allowed me to highlight a button that I wanted to press using just the return key.

As an example, if I want to clear history in Safari, there is a command for that. It brings up a box with two buttons, neither of which are accessible via the “return” key.

If someone know how to make one of these accessible to the return key, or any other key, please advise. Please note I am not a programmer, nor am I able to successfully generate an AppleScript easily. I can barely create a successful shortcut.

Well, Keyboard Maestro is the modern and much more capable equivalent to Quickeys. (That is a blast from the past, haven’t thought about that for ages!)

But over the years, accessibility has become Apple’s jewel. I’d be shocked if there isn’t a way to turn on features that will let you accomplish keyboard control without any additional software. Have you explored those options in System Settings? (You might have to give up on only using the Return key, though.)

Indeed, in the System Preferences, under Keyboard → Shortcuts → App Shortcuts you can assign keyboard shortcuts to just about any menu or button in all applications.

Echoing these two replies: App Shortcuts pretty much replaces what we had in QuicKeys as far as shortcuts are concerned, and it’s a much more straightforward interface.

What it doesn’t replace is the ability to set up macros, or chains of actions that proceed from a single keyboard shortcut. I miss QuicKeys for that.

There are other third-party utilities that replicate much of that. I use Typinator, for example, which has lots of the context-specific structure of QuicKeys. (“Context” means that a shortcut can be defined to do different things depending on which application is “in front” when you fire it.) It turns out to be very programmable, which may not interest you, but it can also solve some problems without any programming at all.

I saw maybe four different utilities in the TidBITS Member Benefits section that deal with keyboard shortcuts—you can obtain discounts on any of them if you are a TidBITS member. That’s where I got a discount on Typinator and other products from Ergonis.


What it doesn’t replace is the ability to set up macros, or chains of actions that proceed from a single keyboard shortcut. I miss QuicKeys for that.

Me, too; and a few months ago, when I was presented with a situation where I wanted to do exactly what Matt mentioned – program a series of actions to repeat every time I pressed a key – I decided it was time to find a replacement.

After reading recommendations on TidBITS, I chose the app that Gordon Meyer recommended above – Keyboard Maestro.

I can’t compare it to other apps out there, like Typinator; however, I can say that the move to KM felt pretty easy to me. The QuickKeys programming paradigm I was use to (and which I was impressed still existed in my aging memory) transferred pretty well to Keyboard Maestro. I had things working in about an hour; and subsequent uses of KM for just similar problems have been developed within 3-10 minutes.


+1 for Keyboard Maestro. Wunnerful, wunnerful. (Admittedly, I’ve known Peter Lewis for 25+ years.)


Buy him a beer for me, wouldya??


Keyboard → Shortcuts → App Shortcuts does not seem to function on a pop-up menu like the one depicted:

Thank you though for your help. I am an avid user of Keyboard shortcuts.

That you all for your assistance.

Gordon, I did download and try like heck to get Keyboard Maestro to do what I wanted but failed miserably. It has soooooo many options and loops and bells and whistles: It just is not the “KISS” solution I was looking for.

Matt, I will look at the tidbits Member Benefits section to see if something reaches out and “touches” me.

Thank you all………

I used QuicKeys for tons of stuff prior to OS X. Application launch was one. It also worked with my old PowerKey ADB power strips to do various things. I used it a lot in DTP apps for stuff like making 3-up documents to send to our printer. I miss it. The OS X version just wasn’t as good.

I had hopes for Automator but have never delved into what it could do beyond setting up a few applications to launch with a key combo.

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I’m another QuicKeys refugee. I started using v0.87 all the way back in the late 1980’s on my Plus. I kept using it through various version upgrades all the way until 2019, when it simply did not work anymore with my latest Mac OS update. Probably when I updated to High Sierra or Mojave. So, a 30+ year run. Not too bad! I switched to Keyboard Maestro, and never looked back. There was a bit of a learning curve, but I really depended on QuicKeys so it was time well spent to figure out how to recreate all of my macros. One KM feature I really like is that it has powerful support for macro syncing, so that you can have one single master macro file and deploy it to many different computers. If you change or create a macro on one computer, it’s deployed automatically to the rest of the fleet. With QuicKeys, you had to manually copy the macro file from one computer to the rest if you wanted to have a shared macro set kept up to date.

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Off-topic, but I still miss Eudora. Wunnerful, wunnerful, and I never knew the author (but I think I would recognize his name).

On-topic, I’m another QuicKeys former user, and I miss it, but not as much as Eudora.