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


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. – Adam Hammes Jul 28 '15 at 2:12
  • I do not know for the "*)" let me try, otherwise it works right away. It works as well. – Ruskes Jul 28 '15 at 2:14
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    It seems to only work in built-in mac apps (text-edit, mail, etc.) Not what I'm looking for. – Adam Hammes Jul 28 '15 at 2:15
  • That is what I said in my answer. – Ruskes Jul 28 '15 at 2:16
  • Sorry, missed that. I did ask for a global solution. – Adam Hammes Jul 28 '15 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. – Adam Hammes Jul 28 '15 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 '15 at 2:20
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    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 '15 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 '15 at 2:42
  • @AMR one sure can no problem. – bjbk Jul 28 '15 at 2:44

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