Is it possible to use modifier keys alone as shortcuts in OS X El Capitan? Coming from Windows background I would like a single press on Command button (without touching Space or anything) to show Spotlight search and Ctrl + Shift to switch keyboard language.

UPDATE: Let me clarify, a single press on Command button is press/release so the key would not be interpreted as a start of a longer shortcut sequence.


No, it's not possible.

It would completely mess up any other key command that started with those keys, so the system just won't let you do it.

Mac has no equivalent to the Windows key.

You might be able to persuade something like Karabiner to do it, but I've never tried getting it to recognise key down/up as a specific event.

  • Thanks for your reply, please see my update for clarification of key press event. If I press/release a modifier key it would not be interpreted as start of a longer shortcut sequence so theoretically it would be possible to use that alone as a shortcut, no? – Nic Nilov Dec 2 '15 at 14:00
  • Try Karabiner - added to answer, but I don't have high hopes. – Tetsujin Dec 2 '15 at 14:07

Quicksilver does it for me for years now - as it comes especially handy for multilingual use. Just select Modifier-only activation and you are good to go.

Looking for a native solution though, in fact, this is how I ran into this post.

  • 1
    Adding a link to the resource you reference in your answer would be helpful. – Allan Oct 24 '17 at 22:44

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