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I've already spent much more time in finding a combination that works in every app (universal) than in creating the actual service. The shortcut triggers a service for increasing or decreasing the brightness of my external monitor.

I tried a ridiculous Control + Alt + Command + F1 / F2, but it doesn't work in apps like Finder, Preview etc. It only gives an error beep. (But is it already assigned? Or its portion is assigned and gets triggered?) I haven't found anything else since.

How do I find a free keyboard shortcut combo? Otherwise there's no point in creating them.

  • The beep doesn't mean 'oops, I've got a key conflict' it means 'the key command you just used has nothing assigned to it in this scope'. If you really want to be certain it's not used anywhere else, use all 4 modifiers + a letter. Fn keys will depend on which way you have them assigned. – Tetsujin May 21 at 6:19
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As @Tetsujin pointed out,

The beep doesn't mean 'oops, I've got a key conflict' it means 'the key command you just used has nothing assigned to it in this scope'.

After a restart, the (above) shortcuts worked in every app I tried.

So after tuning your keyboard shortcuts, try to close and reopen the app in which it does not get triggered (beeps) or ultimately, reboot.

Also - there's no notification if you have an existing short cut and install an app that collides with that, so you may have to just remediate when an app or shortcut collide - defining another shortcut in that app to free your preferred use.

  • great answer. If I can figure out how to ever dump the collective list of shortcuts, I'll make another edit here to share. clearly there's a database being maintained, it's just not documented yet AFAIK. – bmike May 27 at 19:26

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