Leopard keyboard shortcut tricks

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Today, I’ve got another bunch of OS X 10.5 tips, focused on some shortcuts you may not have yet discovered.

One of the great changes in 10.5 is that entries in the Print dialog’s PDF drop-down menu (the one that appears when you click the PDF button) can now have keyboard shortcuts assigned. So, for instance, if you often save via the Save as PDF menu option, you can activate that feature with a keyboard shortcut (after opening the Print dialog via Command-P). Or if you often e-mail files via the Mail PDF button, that too can be reached via the keyboard.

To set up the shortcuts, open the Keyboard & Mouse System Preferences panel, then click on the Keyboard Shortcuts tab. Click the plus sign at the lower left to add a new shortcut, and when the new dialog appears, leave the Application pop-up set to All Applications. In the Menu Title box, enter the exact text of the PDF menu command for which you’d like to create a shortcut. To make it easier on you, feel free to copy and paste any of the following:

  • Save as PDF...
  • Save as PostScript...
  • Fax PDF
  • Mail PDF
  • Save as PDF-X
  • Save PDF to iPhoto
  • Save PDF to Web Receipts Folder

For an example, I’ll enter Save as PDF... in the Menu Title box. For the Keyboard Shortcut, enter the shortcut you’d like to use to activate the chosen menu item—in this case, I’ll use Command-Option-P. Once you have the key combo entered, click the Add button. Now just switch to any document in any application, and press Command-P. Once the Print dialog appears, press Command-Option-P, and you should see the Save dialog appear, asking you where you’d like to save your PDF.

Repeat the above process for any other commands you’d like shortcuts for. In my case, I added Command-Option-M for Mail PDF, and Command-Option-R for saving things to the Web Receipts folder.

Today’s second tip adds another keyboard shortcut, and it’s one I’m particularly happy about. In my job, I spend a lot of time digging around inside bundles—application bundles, plug-in bundles, etc. It just comes with the territory when writing tips about OS X and its programs. The first step in many hints is to dig into a bundle of some sort, and that’s typically done by Control-clicking on the bundle in the Finder, then picking Show Package Contents from the contextual menu. As of 10.5, you can add a shortcut for this command.

Follow the same steps as above, except set the Application pop-up to Finder, as that’s the only place this shortcut needs to work. For the Menu Title, set it to Show Package Contents, and then set the shortcut you’d like to use—I chose Control-Option-S, as that the menu command starts with S. Click Add, then switch to the Finder. Select an application in the Applications folder, and press Control-Option-S, and watch the new window appear, without having to reach for the mouse. My mouse-weary arm welcomed this shortcut!

Today’s last two tips are both quick and simple. First, if you use Spaces, you probably know how to switch from one space to another in Spaces overview (press F8) mode—just hover your mouse over a space and click. But here’s an even faster method: just press the number that corresponds to the space you’d like to activate. Jump to space three, for instance, by pressing F8 and then the 3 key. You just need to remember the numbering sequence for spaces—across first, then down.

And finally, the last tip for today deals with Quick Look (select something in the Finder then press the Space Bar to activate). As you probably know, you can use Quick Look with more than one file selected—Quick Look will show the first file in the selection, and you can then use the Left and Right arrow keys to move through your selection. You can also click the four-paneled icon in the Quick Look toolbar to view an index page, showing small versions of every file in your selection. So here’s the tip: you can switch between the single-file and index sheet views by pressing Command-Return, saving yourself a trip to the mouse. (For extra eye candy, hold down the Shift key, too, and you’ll get to see the switchover between the two view modes in glorious though time-consuming slow motion.)

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