In System Preferences > Expose and Spaces > Spaces Tab > to switch between spaces, there is a drop down list that allows you to select a modifier key and the arrows. The arrows are so far away from the rest of the keyboard! I want to bind to the vim keys (h, j, k, l) for (left, down, up, and right). On my Ubuntu machine, I push the equivalent of command-option-j to go down a space. Does anyone know how to change to a non-standard keyboard shortcut on OS X?

(I ran across a post that details how to change the modifiers, but still uses the arrow keys. This is not what I'm trying to do. Custom keyboard shortcuts to change active Spaces desktop)

  • @Nate: I think matthepavkov has your answer, but also check out KeyRemap4MacBook for it's vi modes. Commented Dec 16, 2010 at 4:19
  • @calavera - KeyRemap4MacBook allowed me to accomplish the feat. Under Vi Mode I selected the option for Command_L+hjkl, which magically works in tandem with the standard modifier from before. I wish there were a native way to do this, but this does the trick. Thanks!
    – zm1th
    Commented Dec 17, 2010 at 16:49
  • great, once again the awesome keyremap4macbook saves the day :P i switched my comment to an answer. Commented Dec 17, 2010 at 18:12
  • Somebody actually likes the vim keys? :O i didn't think that was possible
    – Alexander
    Commented Aug 11, 2011 at 1:57

2 Answers 2


Go to System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Keyboard Shortcuts. Then, on the left side, select Exposé & Spaces. On the right side you will see the current keyboard shortcuts for Exposé and Spaces. If you double click on the shortcut command (literally double click ^1 for instance) you will be able to change this to whatever you want. Just do the key-combo you want to use.

So, once you double-click on the shortcut, it'll show it as editable. Then, press the keys you want the short cut to be, all at once, for instance press Apple and J at the same time, and it'll change the shortcut.

  • thanks - this is close to what I wanted, except that the "switch between spaces" option doesn't appear on that list.
    – zm1th
    Commented Dec 17, 2010 at 16:18
  • @zm1th Are you in 10.6? I tried this and it worked perfectly. Once you're in the Keyboard Shortcuts, click on Exposé & Spaces which appears on the left. On the right, you'll see a list of items for Exposé and also for Spaces. Is Spaces not shown there? Commented Dec 18, 2010 at 1:23
  • yeah, there are shortcuts for selecting a specific space, but there are not shortcuts for switching between spaces.
    – zm1th
    Commented Dec 22, 2010 at 1:10
  • @zm1th Correct. There doesn't seem to be a way to change from the arrow keys to something else. There may be a command line way, but I'm not sure. You can also use the fn + F8 to bring up all four spaces, and then click the one you want. Commented Dec 27, 2010 at 7:41
  • 1
    Update: There are now shortcuts for "Move left a space" and "Move right a space". I don't know when they added these, but I think it was a while back.
    – SilverWolf
    Commented Dec 8, 2018 at 21:08

I think matthepavkov has your answer, but also check out KeyRemap4MacBook for it's vi modes.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .