Setting Up Keyboard Shortcuts In Applications

I use the Ulysses Writing App for some of my writing. I really enjoy it. Ulysses is a very well designed App. For the most part, it behaves like a Mac App should. Recently I decided to add a couple of App Menu Keyboard Shortcuts to the Ulysses menus1. It pretty much does not matter what the App is, creating an App Menu Keyboard Shortcut is the same for all. Here is how I did that in Ulysses.

Creating Shortcuts

The first thing you need to do is determine which of your Apps “Menu Commands” to create a Menu Shortcut. In my case, I wanted to create Menu Shortcuts for “Heading 2” and “Heading 3” which I use a lot in my online writing:

Those are similar to HTML headings, Ulysses uses Markdown language for writing.

Once you know which commands you need open System Preferences and go into the “Keyboard” area:

When you are in this area, click on the “Shortcuts Tab”:

In the next window, select “App Shortcuts” to display the shortcuts list:

This next step is very important. To create an App Menu Shortcut, click on the “Plus” symbol:

Now, you are going to do 3 things:

  1. Click on the drop down menu and select the App in which you are creating the shortcut. In this case it is Ulysses.
  2. Enter the Menu Title. Here is the important issue for this section. You have to enter the “Path” to the menu item you are using. What does that mean? In my case, the Heading 3 menu command is in the “Markup Menu” of Ulysses. So the entry here should be Markup->Heading 3. You type the actual command (Heading 3) just as it appears in the menu. The preceding information is the “Path” to that command. If the Path to the command you want is more involved, you have to type in the whole Path. By the way, the Path locations are connected with a Dash (-) and a right facing Arrow (>), like this (->). The right facing Arrow is Shift⇧ + Period (.).
  3. Now, the last step involves choosing the “Keyboard Command” keys you wish to use. It goes without saying you cannot use some other command key combination in Ulysses or the macOS. This may take some trial and error. Once this is done your commands should look like this in System Preferences:

In Ulysses the commands look like this:

Yes, it is a bit of a convoluted process. But, keep in mind just how much time you will save in the future using these new App Menu Shortcuts instead of reaching for the Mouse or Trackpad.


Creating a Keyboard Shortcut in an App Menu is not that difficult. It really will save you a bunch time later.

  1. Keyboard Shortcuts save you time.