6 Replies Latest reply: Dec 16, 2005 7:26 AM by Dean Pahl
Darin Simmer Level 1 (145 points)
Does anyone know of a keyboard shortcut for accessing system preferences?

G5 2.3Dual 2.5GB RAM, Mac OS X (10.4.3), G4 Tower, G4 iBook, miniMac(2), a Gateway
  • Dean Pahl Level 4 (3,870 points)
    Hi, Darin!

    My short answer = "No."

    But having answered (and saved) a similar question (or 3), here're a few ideas for you to consider:

        I can think of several ways to accomplish this — but none are nearly as quick-and-easy as using the mouse and a single click on an application's Dock icon — or in this case, the menu. If you're unfamiliar, Apple KnowledgeBase Article #106850: "About the Dock" explains how to add applications to the Dock.

    Perhaps someone more brilliant than I can think of a single-keystroke approach...? Anyway, I'll list some ideas — in case you really want/need to avoid the mouse.

        (1) From Finder, (control + F3) moves focus to the Dock »» arrow keys (etc.) move among applications »» <return> opens the selected application.
    [To understand other options implied by "etc.," see article linked in next item.]

        (2) As described in this OS X 10.4 Help article, you can open the Applications folder using ( ⌘-shift-A ) »» then move among applications using any of the shortcuts described in the same article »» <return> opens the selected application.

        (3) You can create global shortcuts yourself, as described in another OS X 10.4 Help article — but the article notes that "You can create keyboard shortcuts only for existing menu commands. You cannot define keyboard shortcuts for general purpose tasks such as opening an application or switching between applications."

        (4) Although Applescript or Automator could accomplish this, too, implementing the script would take as much or more effort than clicking in the Dock (e.g., control-clicking intio a contextual menu)...

    There are further keyboard shortcuts available via "Full Keyboard Access," Sticky Keys, or mouse keys via System Preferences :: Universal Access. Apple KnowledgeBase Article #75459: "Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts" describes some of these.

    I hope this helps...

    Best wishes,

    p.s. Once you've reached System Preferences by whatever means, here's a cool shortcut: The cursor's already poised in the Spotlight box, so just type the first letter or two of the PrefPane or setting you seek. Keep typing or scroll with arrows, if needed, then hit <return>... Voilá!
  • Bryan Walton Level 1 (0 points)
    Yeah, this bugs me too. The way I quickly get there (because I use a apple flat panel display) is to hit the preferences button on the lower left corner-let hit cmnd+L to access all prefs (because naturally this approach opens the display prefs)

  • AxL Level 6 (11,435 points)
    Hi Darin,

    Create your own keyboard shortcut:
    In System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > Keyboard Shortcuts,
    click the "+",
    Application: "All Applications" works, but you can try "Finder" too,
    Menu Title: "System Preferences..." (that's dot dot dot, not [option+;]),
    choose the shortcut (controlcommandS works),
    log out, log in,
    that's it.

    ("(3) You can create global shortcuts yourself", Hi Dean!)

  • Dean Pahl Level 4 (3,870 points)
    Hi, AxL!

    Thanks for "bailing me out" from giving Darin the wrong answer.

    I'd typed in most of my reply before testing the "global shortcut" approach on my eMac — and it didn't work for me, so I pasted in the "No" and " cannot... for general purpose tasks such as opening an application" bits. I'd fogotten to restart (or log out, log in).

    My mistake. Sorry, Darin.

    Thanks again, AxL.

    Regards to all,
  • AxL Level 6 (11,435 points)

    I know you know how I appretiate your contributions. So let me complete in the same vein this huge one that deserves a IMO, for the Spotlight tip:

    (1) From Finder, (control + F3) moves focus to the Dock... (Full Keyboard Access works from anywhere BTW)
    (1b) Use Full Keyboard Access again
    (control+F2 then Arrow downdowndown then return) or
    (control+F2 then Arrow down then SY then return)
    Clumsy too, isn't it? (before Tiger it opened the menu directly, so the S+Y was very quick)

    Then, about my mentioning Finder as a possible Application for the shortcut: Finally I think it wouldn't work, because the menu does not belong to Finder?

    Best regards,

  • Dean Pahl Level 4 (3,870 points)
    Thanks, AxL, for the kind words.

    Re: "...about my mentioning Finder as a possible Application for the shortcut: ...I think it wouldn't work, because the menu does not belong to Finder?" You're correct. I tried: it doesn't work.

    Darin — although you may have already noticed this — we probably should've menioned that creating your own global shortcut(s) can cause conflicts that may show up in ~funny ways. This is evident from the Keyboard Shortcuts PrefPane, where conflicts are denoted by the "Another action has the same hot key" golden triangle.

    Also — did you notice the trick I footnoted? Cool, huh? It's described in Mac Help »» "Tips for working with System Preferences," in case you want to use it someday.

    Finally... using spoken commands is the "ultimate shortcut," imho. I'm not using them at the moment, but I did back in ~System 8.x, or whenever they appeared — way cool! Mac Help and the KnowledgeBase (e.g., here) have a lot of info on this.

    Best of the season to all!