Using only built-in functionality, how can I launch an Application such as Terminal by key command?


2 Answers 2


There's a simple way to launch any Application from a Service hot key.

Launch Automator, make a new Quick Action [Service].
In the search bar, type Launch.
Drag Launch Application into your workflow.
Select the Application name.
[Terminal itself doesn't show in the Applications list, so you have to use 'Other' & find it manually, in Applications/Utilities.]
Save the Quick Action & give it a useful name.

Find that name in the Keyboard > Shortcuts > Services menu, & add a hotkey.

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  • For me, this only works if my "System Settings" app is open. Is anyone else facing this issue and has a workaround? Commented Mar 5 at 14:58
  • 1
    You really ought to raise this as a new question, linking back to this one. No-one is going to see it right down here.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Mar 5 at 16:47
  • Sorted. It seems that when the same shortcut is set for multiple things, Mac activates it according to the running app. Commented Apr 12 at 6:53
  1. Open Shortcuts application.
  2. Click on the + button.

All Shortcuts

  1. Search for Open app action and drag & drop it to the canvas
  2. In created action field click on App and search for an application you want to launch

Created action field

  1. Click on Info icon (1), then on Add Keyboard Shortcut (2) and press your shortcut keys.

Add keyboard shortcut

  1. That's it - shortcut is saved automatically

Launching/focusing an application feels a bit quicker compared to Automator Quick Action

  • In 45 minutes I couldn't get it to work using automator, in 2 minutes with your answer it works. Thank you! is there a way to make the keybinding open a new instance of the application if one or more are already open?
    – stevec
    Commented Apr 14 at 8:43
  • Thanks! it works well in mac os ventura
    – Jerry
    Commented May 30 at 0:33

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