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I can't seem to find a shortcut for launching the activity monitor. Does it have one?

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Why don't you just put it in Dock? – noob Mar 8 at 11:35
up vote 6 down vote accepted

Save in AppleScript Editor and assign a shortcut in FastScripts or some other way:

tell app "Activity Monitor"
    reopen -- makes a new window if there are no existing windows
    activate -- brings the app to front
end tell
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Is there a way to change this script so that the Activity Monitor window opens up in a normal size (i.e. not maximized). – Berk U. May 12 '14 at 15:03

Not by default, but you can create one in System Preferences --> Keyboard --> Keyboard Shortcuts. Or you can use spotlight:

  • type + space

  • start typing "activity monitor"

  • as soon as activity monitor is highlighted in the spotlight list, hit

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Sadly, I don't believe System Prefs can set keyboard shortcuts to launch apps. – Dori Sep 14 '10 at 1:43
@Dori: wow, you're right. That's what I get for assuming... I've seen the application shortcuts section in keyboard shortcuts and assumed it would allow me to create one for launching an application. I just never tried it since I always use spotlight. I struck through that text in my answer since it's incorrect. Good catch. – Robert S Ciaccio Sep 14 '10 at 2:27
The (global) AppleScript menu used to let you launch Apps via keyboard shortcut, but Apple took that capability out years ago. – Wayfaring Stranger Mar 3 at 18:13

Otherwise of Spotloight that @Calavera suggest you can use 3rd-party software such as:

  1. QuickSilver
  2. Namely
  3. TigerLaunch
  4. HimmelBar
  5. LaunchBar

I myself use QuickSilver and set shortcut +space to run it and type some part of "Activity Monitor" and press so Activity Monitor will run.

alt text

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Add to that list LaunchBar, personally I prefer typing just ac to launch the Activity Monitor. – adamse Sep 14 '10 at 21:34
Tho' I prefer LaunchBar over QuickSilver, both can launch Activity Monitor by simply typing ‘ac’, it’s a matter of training. :) – Martín Marconcini Nov 5 '10 at 1:54
I think Alfred is the best. – JFW Sep 28 '11 at 11:12
You may want to add Spark. – daviesgeek Sep 30 '11 at 0:36

For starting apps, scripts, etc. with a single shortcut, there exist some specific tools.

  1. NuKit - free trial, download from MacUpdate or their site.
  2. Apptivate - 2.0 is no longer free and as of now, it's unfortunately traded usability for eye candy.

Apptivate offers to switch away from apps with the same shortcut. The NuKit team promised to add it soon.

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You can use System keyboard shortcuts, Services and Automator to do this. See my answer to a similar question here

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Create in Automator an Action to run shell script open -a "Activity Monitor":

enter image description here

Then in System Preferences -> Shortcuts Tab -> Services set a keyboard shortcut for the created service:

enter image description here

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Hammerspoon is my favorite and is probably the most easiest to install and configure. Here is the init.lua code for launching the Activity Monitor.

hs.hotkey.bind({"cmd","shift"}, "Escape", function()"Activity Monitor")

PS: I mapped my command key to control. So by mapping the hotkey to "cmd+shift+escape", I get similar functionality that I get in Windows(for opening the task manager)

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You can you use BetterTouchTool to create keyboard shortcuts and even use the trackpad to create a gesture instead of keyboard shortcuts.

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