Good sirs. Coming from Windows-land, I'm trying to figure out what it is possible to do with my new laptop.

Using autohotkey (windows), I was able to open documents, launch apps, etc, by typing any pre-set combination of numbers and letters I could think of. The keyboard hook was system-wide. I didn't have to open anything like spotlight, alfred, quicksilver, etc.

I could just type the word, no matter what app, and the script would run what it was told to.

I imagine that creating an OS which allowed this exploit would be frowned upon by the apple engineers, but all that aside, has anyone made an app that runs like this and constantly watches all key input?

Would learning applescript take care of something like this?


P.S. I have also been trying to map spotlight to the esc key. But something has already claimed the esc key. Any ideas what that would be?

2 Answers 2


You might also want to have a look at Alfred and Keyboard Maestro which are powerful automation tools.

Keyboard Maestro in particular is incredibly powerful.

  • The makers of FastScripts just recommended Keyboard Maestro too
    – dwilbank
    Jan 17, 2014 at 7:25

There are many ways to accomplish this depending on your needs really. You can even use a combination of things to best fit what ultimately makes you more efficient.

I would recommend the following based upon it's type:


FastScripts — set hotkeys for any AppleScript by keyboard shortcut or via menubar.

System-Wide Text Macros

TextExpander - expands custom keyboard shortcuts into text, pictures, commands, etc.

System Events

LaunchBar — hotkeys file manager, search tool, app launcher, clipboard manager, etc.

  • thanks sir - looks like I got to learn me some applescript!
    – dwilbank
    Jan 17, 2014 at 2:55

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