A Mac utility that makes you work like a Windows user? What does it do, Alex? Make me frustrated, angry, and bitter?
Yes and no. It helps Mac users do one thing that Windows users are probably better at doing. Keyboard shortcuts.
Don’t misunderstand my intent. I come not to bash Windows, but to praise him. Or, her. Uh, it. Windows has one core feature that I wish Mac OS X applications had more of.
Keyboard shortcuts. There are just not enough of them. Windows had two-button mice (mices, mouses, whatever) standard long before Mac cleverly jumped the single mouse ship for a Mighty Mouse tool.
Yes, the Mac has keyboard shortcuts. I won’t hazard a guess as to which OS, Mac or DOS/Windows, had keyboard shortcuts first. If you remember then you’re older than me. It doesn’t matter. Why?
Keyboard shortcuts are very cool, great to know, should be easy to remember, and mostly they’re not. At least Windows and Windows applications make figuring out keyboard shortcuts a little easier.
Until know. Enter, again, KeyCue from Ergonis, the same folks who make Typinator, easy beat, and PopChar Pro, among others.
KeyCue has reached that sweat stage where it really does what I like, in a way I like it, and at a nearly affordable price. KeyCue makes using Mac keyboard shortcuts actually easier than writing it on a Postit note, or listing them in a Stickie on your Mac’s screen.
In a sense, it follows the latter, not the former. KeyCue is activated by pressing and holding the Mac’s Command-key, the Apple logo key, the butterfly key (hint: they’re all the same key).
Press and hold the key and up pops an attractive context sensitive window with all the keyboard shortcuts for the application you’re using at the time.
That is just soooo cool and better than creating twenty seven eleven different PDFs that do the same thing.
Keyboard shortcuts improve productivity by keeping your hands off the mouse and on the keyboard which improves workflow, and saves your shoulder muscles for when you really need them; like helping your cousin throw his Dell PC out a windows because of Windows. How ironic is that?
KeyCue cues you to use the keyboard shortcut for various functions and features of various and sundry applications. That’s it. Otherwise, it just sits there waiting for you to figure out that it won’t work until you use the keyboard first.
Honestly, how many keyboard shortcuts do you know by heart? I can remember about six. OK, maybe seven, but that’s only if I can write two of them on my wrist before the test.
What you get is an easy to read window with all the menu shortcuts in any Mac application that uses shortcuts. That helps you to learn. The shortcuts are grouped by the menus of the application so they’re easy to figure out.
The pop up delay can be configured, as can several other options, including invoking KeyCue using a different key combination. Is that sweet or what?
Name another Mac application whose sole purpose is to obsolete itself? Ok, ok. I know, I know. That’s what Windows does, but it’s an undocumented feature. Microsoft doesn’t actually advertise that.
The key to understanding all this is that the Mac and most Mac applications actually have keyboard shortcuts. Quick. Name the keystroke combintation that opens the Mac’s menu without using the mouse. See what I mean?
The shortcuts are there, and KeyCue helps educate them to their presence, and cue you to use them. The more you know, the less you need KeyCue.
Historically, I haven’t used many Mac keyboard shortcuts. Command-C, Command-P, Command-V, Command-Q. How many is that? I know more. Really.
How many keyboard shortcuts do you know? Do you use the shortcuts in Mac OS X and your favorite Mac applications? Share your shortcut experience in the Comments section below.