The "w" key on my MacBook Pro broke due to water damage. Currently I am copy and pasting the letter whenever I need that, but I would prefer to be able to press a keyboard shortcut to type it.

The shortcut needs to be available no matter the app; I would prefer the shortcut to be control + option (just those two keys) but if that's not possible then I'll settle for something else.

I tried setting a shortcut through the settings app, but I couldn't figure out how to 1) bind a single letter and 2) have the shortcut available globally.

I'm running Yosemite 10.10.3

3 Answers 3


BetterTouchTool is another great example.

Download BTT from here. Once you have it open go to the keyboard option and enter in your shortcut (I chose opt+ctrl+z since that should be an uncommon shortcut). After that you then set your 'trigger predefined action' to 'paste custom text' and paste in your 'w'.

Whenever you need to write a 'w' you can now press opt+ctrl+z.


One relatively simple method is to assign a text input that is then converted into "w" when you type your sequence.

I have chosen to type "(v)" that is converted to "w", but you can choose what suits you best (and what you can remember).

Open Keyboard-Text pref in the System Preferences, as described in this Apple Support page.

Click on the + sign to add a new item.

Now first type your choice, then paste a "w" in the right column.

v vs w

It will work on almost all OS X apps, but won't work on web pages like this one.

  • How do I trigger the conversion? I bound "w" to "*)", but nothing happens. Jul 28, 2015 at 2:12
  • I do not know for the "*)" let me try, otherwise it works right away. It works as well.
    – Ruskes
    Jul 28, 2015 at 2:14
  • 1
    It seems to only work in built-in mac apps (text-edit, mail, etc.) Not what I'm looking for. Jul 28, 2015 at 2:15
  • That is what I said in my answer.
    – Ruskes
    Jul 28, 2015 at 2:16
  • Sorry, missed that. I did ask for a global solution. Jul 28, 2015 at 2:17

Buscar's answer gives you a good option.

Another way that you can do this is to show the Keyboard Viewer which you can access from the menu bar. It will show up as a flag if you set it to display that way next to the volume icon.

enter image description here

Then all you need to do is mouse click the W when you need to use it.


A universal keyboard option would be to use a clipboard manager. If you read this article it will tell you more about them. From the article it says that they all have a way of favoriting a particular past and assigning it to a key combination like command + 1, etc.


bjbk gave me an idea. You could get one of the wireless blue-tooth keyboards that Apple ships with iMacs. Then you just connect via blue-tooth and brand new keyboard, and it slips in the same pocket as a laptop. I have seen many people pair these with iPads.

  • I'd prefer a keyboard solution - I find suddenly switching to the trackpad inconvenient. Jul 28, 2015 at 2:16
  • Unfortunately most apps will have their own keybinding settings. They usually avoid the system bindings, or use the same ones, which is why some "global" commands like cmd + C work as Copy for all apps. This is the one way that will insure global support, but I understand your preference.
    – AMR
    Jul 28, 2015 at 2:20
  • 1
    Another albeit clunky option would be to carry around an external keyboard either wired or wireless. Just saying for the sake of mentioning.
    – bjbk
    Jul 28, 2015 at 2:38
  • @bjbk I have one on my desk because I could never find a better option for a numeric keypad. Couldn't you also connect with the blue-tooth keyboard that comes with iMacs?
    – AMR
    Jul 28, 2015 at 2:42
  • @AMR one sure can no problem.
    – bjbk
    Jul 28, 2015 at 2:44

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