Mac OS X System Shortcuts: a nightmare

For many years Apple is struggling with providing the user a clean and easy hotkey interface for system services. But they failed with Mac OS 9, they failed with Mac OS X and even the latest addition in Panther is useless and unsuable. Try establishing a global shortcut for something you use often and is part of the OS. You will feel the pain early enough.

Simple example. There are two things that annoy me endlessly that I can‘t control them with the keyboard. One is the zoom button in windows: there is a shortcut for closing them (cmd-w), for minimizig them (cmd-m) but NO shortcut for zooming them (the green button). OS X‘s shortcut tool fails shamefully in letting me just set a keystroke combination for it.

The second one: I use my computer to write an awful lot of messages everyday. E-Mails, Posts, Notes, everything. A big part is done in german, many times I use english (like now). The built-in spell checker is useful to prevent errors but while there is a shortcut to enable spell-checking there is no way of switching the language to check for on the fly. Opening up the floating window, choosing the language from the popup takes many seconds and is annoying. Sometimes I finish typing earlier than I have a chance to think about mouse movements.

If anybody has an idea on how to make these two functions work in OS X please tell me.

Ein Gedanke zu „Mac OS X System Shortcuts: a nightmare

  1. Loads of people seem to be experiencing frustration with ‘system prefs->keyboard & mouse->keyboard shortcuts’, and the main reason most people are going there is the lack of a zoom shortcut.

    Here’s what i figured (i can only claim these as true on my white ibook g3 with 10.3.5):
    1. You CAN’T use ‘command+{anything}’ (eg command+Z) – all those are taken.
    2. In 99% of apps you can’t use something that already does something in the app.
    3. Rather obvious one: no ‘Zoom’ menu item = no zoom shortcut
    4. ‘Command+control+M’ works for every app i tried. iTunes will toggle between the main display and the tiny version – just like if you clicked the green zoom button.
    5. ‘Command+option+M’ also works for every app i tried. but now, iTunes will resize in a more conventional way – as if you had held down ‘option’ while clicking the green circle.
    6. ‘Function+M’ (numerical keypad 0 on my iBook) is the one I’ve stuck with though. iTunes completely ignores it (but i don’t resize iTunes anyway). Note that if you have ‘find as you type’ switched on in Firefox prefs, you have to press ‘function+control+M’ instead.
    7. The one exception to “all the apps i tried” above is textedit. It doesn’t seem to respond to any ‘Zoom’ shortcut definition. I didn’t look very hard though, as i don’t use it.

    The apps i tried are: iTunes, firefox, cocoview, textedit, terminal, console, activity monitor, preview and mail.

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