Is there an app / script which will listen for keyboard events and display the action that is triggered?

I use Better Touch Tool, and want to run a script on Cmd+F1 but I got the message:

The key combination "Command + F1" can't be used because it's already used by a system-wide keyboard shortcut. (If you really want to use this key combination, most shortcuts can be changed in the Keyboard & Mouse panel in System Preferences.)

I couldn't find the triggered action until I did a text search on http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1343, and now I'm curious!

In Sublime Text, it's possible to open Sublime's python terminal and sublime.log_commands(True) to log commands triggered as the keys are pressed… is there something similar for system wide key events?


This program shows all keyboard shortcuts that use the ⌘ (command) key, just by pressing and holding command. http://www.cheatsheetapp.com/CheatSheet/

It does not show shortcuts that do not include command, but is quick and easy to use.

  • oops.. i didn't select an answer! points for first - all the suggestions here look good. – ptim Sep 15 '15 at 5:44

I use KeyCue. It's similar to @avv's recommendation but more customisable.


Woohoo! After some more looking, I've found https://pqrs.org/osx/karabiner/ which does everything I want! Please let me know if there's a lighter-weight alternative…

To see keyboard events using Karabiner:

  • open the app
  • enable Karabiner under System Prefs > Accessibility
  • (maybe restart the AX notifier)
  • click the icon in the menu bar (near the time)
  • select Launch EventViewer

The event viewer will show a log of events like:

eventType:FlagsChanged    code:0x37       name:Command_L       flags:Cmd                                misc:KeyCode::COMMAND_L  characters:    
eventType:FlagsChanged    code:0x37       name:Command_L       flags:                                   misc:KeyCode::COMMAND_L  characters:    
eventType:SysKeyDown      code:0x1        name:                flags:                                   misc:ConsumerKeyCode::VOLUME_DOWN
eventType:SysKeyUp        code:0x1        name:                flags:                                   misc:ConsumerKeyCode::VOLUME_DOWN
eventType:SysKeyDown      code:0x0        name:                flags:                                   misc:ConsumerKeyCode::VOLUME_UP
eventType:SysKeyUp        code:0x0        name:                flags:                                   misc:ConsumerKeyCode::VOLUME_UP

(scroll right to see the flags)

It may be useful to click the Preferences tab in EventViewer to 'always show on top' and uncheck 'hide ignorable events'.

  • How do you show the bounded key through karabiner? – Cat Boss Aug 23 '16 at 19:26
  • @AgafadaEm - I've added instructions for you, hope that helps! – ptim Aug 24 '16 at 5:55

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