I've seen the system wide tools (that all seem to just manipulate the default key bindings) that allow you to swap keys around, but has anyone found a way to swap keys for just one application? (no, the app in question doesn't offer it, and the author was a bit of a prick about it when I asked if they could enable an option to adjust them.)

I'm talking about real keys like home, end, page up, page down... not shortcuts.

  • is your question about redefining shortcuts for commands or "really" for keys as Nilloc understands your question? Commented Apr 30, 2011 at 6:17

4 Answers 4


Keyboard Maestro might be your thing. Make a new command group which only applies to the application in question, then for each key you want to remap, make a new command with a hotkey trigger set to the real key and an "Insert Text" action set to what you want the key to be.

The only shortcoming I've found so far is that it can't handle the in-built volume control keys on an Apple keyboard. It can detect them & act upon the event, but it can't suppress the volume change. In fairness, nothing else can either. Most programs I tried can't even detect it. Keyboard Maestro is the king of the pile.

  • How can I make a new command group which only applies to a specific application? Is there any tutorial for this?
    – alper
    Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 20:53

I've been using BetterTouchTool for years and am constantly amazed at its flexibility. Despite its name, it is capable of intercepting/altering keyboard events as well, plus allows you to limit key mappings to particular applications.

  • Does BetterTouchTool has a free version?
    – alper
    Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 20:53
  • @alper - read the page you edited out - it has links to the code for a free version as of 2018 - I don;t know if that runs on modern macOS
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 8:05
  • It does not run in Big Sur :-(
    – alper
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 12:35
  • I'm running it right now on Big Sur without any issues, and the website has an update from November 10, 2020 stating that it fully supports Big Sur. @alper where did you read that Big Sur is not supported? Commented Oct 3, 2021 at 22:39
  • I had to update its version now it works for me
    – alper
    Commented Oct 4, 2021 at 10:01

You can use Ukelele to make your own keyboard layout, and switch to it when you open the application.


If it's a menu item, you can create a custom shortcut in System Preferences>Keyboard Shortcuts>Application Shortcuts. It lets you (re)assign any menu commands to whatever keyboard shortcut you want, for a specific app only.

  • 1
    I think the question was about remapping keys for example <kbd>d</kbd> would behave as <kbd>e</kbd> (if it were switched to a dvorak layout, not assigning shortcuts.
    – Nilloc
    Commented Apr 30, 2011 at 6:00
  • Nilloc is correct, this is about real keys.
    – cabbey
    Commented Apr 30, 2011 at 23:25
  • There is no Application Shortcuts exist
    – alper
    Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 20:49

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