In KDE Plasma I was able to press the Win key and the overview menu has been shown with my apps, favorites, recent, etc.

I would like a similar behavior for my Mac - just because of the muscle memory.

So, I would like to press the Opt key and after the release it would show the Launchpad.

But at the same time I still want to retain the ability to use the Opt key in combinations with other keys to trigger shortcuts, etc.

Any idea how can it be done?

  • 2
    In general, single-key shortcuts are not supported, other than for F-keys/Special Functions. Trying to override this for a key which would normally be a modifier… how do you decide [or code] how long it should wait to see if you are actually going to press another key? I'd just bite the bullet & use the key already made for this, the Special Function on F4. The Mac has no equivalent to the Windows or Menu key.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 28 at 8:54
  • Vim people use caps lock as ctrl when pressed with other key and esc when alone all the time. It's not so unique, at least in the Linux world.
    – fegax
    Apr 28 at 9:46
  • 1
    macOS is not Linux.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 28 at 9:49
  • Both are based on Unix though. Are you claiming it's impossible to do on Mac? Have you ever tried it?
    – fegax
    Apr 28 at 11:23

1 Answer 1


There is no system-wide option for this. You can use Karabiner to achieve such behavior.

To change the Karabiner configuration open ~/.config/karabiner/karabiner.json file and add the next content to rules array (separate rules by a comma if you have a couple of them):

    "description": "Open Launchpad if left Option pressed alone",
    "manipulators": [
            "from": {
                "key_code": "left_option"
            "to_if_alone": [
                    "key_code": "launchpad",
                    "modifiers": []
            "type": "basic" 

Karabiner applies config dynamically, so you should be able to use new behavior right after saving the config file.


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