QuicKeys 3.1

Those who shun keyboard shortcuts are being unprofessional, because bumbling around menus and desktops is a wanton waste of time. Thankfully, those of us who live the ‘time is money ethos have been able to avail ourselves of QuicKeys
for almost a decade.

QuicKeys takes multi-step processes and turns them into simple one-step shortcuts, making it possible to automate anything from launching applications and mounting servers to selecting menus and inserting repetitive text. Each successive release has brought with it at least a few new shortcuts that accumulatively go on to save hours of feckless mousing. Version 1 introduced the ability to drag and drop shortcuts to simplify the creation of complex multi-step shortcuts, and X2 brought a powerful mouse-and-keyboard recording function. The killer feature in X3 for me was Text Tools, a collection of text-formatting operations that clean up the unwanted white space and paragraph returns so common in copy-and-pasted emails and online text, and there was a bespoke printer-switching function, too.

One key feature is SoftKeys, a toolbar that can display up to ten shortcuts numbered 1 through 10. Anyone who's been using QuicKeys for a while amasses a huge number of shortcuts, the triggers for which are not always easy to recall, so being able to corral your most useful shortcuts together in this way is welcome.

Drive trigger lets you set a shortcut when a designated drive or network volume is mounted or unmounted. I use this to automate the transfer of work from my Mac to an external hard drive.

Newcomers to QuicKeys should be warned that getting the most from this application takes a little time and experimentation. The trouble is that it seems as if theres often more than one way of doing the same thing, but usually only one approach works. Learning the difference between Menu Selection and Menu Clicks, is one example among many.

Some multi-step shortcuts will simply fail to work, and troubleshooting them is hugely frustrating. Usually this is because window positions have changed since the steps were recorded. At least X3 offers a Decision option, that safeguards against such vagaries by confirming, for example, that a certain button is enabled before moving onto the next step in the shortcut. Such functionality is hardly out-of-the-box stuff, though.


As much as I love how QuicKeys saves me time, and therefore money, I still feel its a tad pricey for what it is. Script Softwares excellent iKey costs $30 yet boasts a good deal of the QuicKeys features I use heavily, such as application switching and URL and text typing. However, QuicKeys remains the benchmark by which all Mac productivity software is measured.

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