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Modern framework for managing global keyboard shortcuts compatible with Mac App Store. More details:
branch: master

Removed support for dots and spaces in user defaults keys (#64).

I could find no way to make the feature work, so I have pulled it
from the code. I have also inserted asserts to warn library users
who would attempt to use illegal characters in user defaults keys
in the future. In short, you want your user defaults keys to be
something identifier-like.
latest commit 7bbaed6227
Tomáš Znamenáček zoul authored

Build Status


Some time ago Cocoa developers used a brilliant framework ShortcutRecorder for managing keyboard shortcuts in application preferences. However, it became incompatible with the new plugin architecture of Xcode 4.

The MASShortcut project introduces a modern API and user interface for recording, storing and using system-wide keyboard shortcuts.

Screenshot of the demo project


  • Record and display keyboard shortcuts
  • Watch for shortcuts and execute actions, system-wide
  • A nice, documented API
  • Can be configured to be compatible with Shortcut Recorder
  • Can be installed both through CocoaPods and as a Git submodule
  • Mac App Store friendly
  • Works on OS X 10.6 and up
  • Hacking-friendly codebase covered with tests
  • Basic accessibility support

Important features currently missing:

  • Localisation

Pull requests welcome :)


You can use CocoaPods, adding the following line to your Podfile:

pod 'MASShortcut'

If you want to stick to the 1.x branch, you can use the version smart match operator:

pod 'MASShortcut', '~> 1'

Or can use Git submodules and link against the MASShortcut framework.


I hope, it is really easy:

#import <MASShortcut/Shortcut.h>

// Drop a custom view into XIB, set its class to MASShortcutView
// and its height to 19. If you select another appearance style,
// look up the correct height values in MASShortcutView.h.
@property (nonatomic, weak) IBOutlet MASShortcutView *shortcutView;

// Pick a preference key to store the shortcut between launches
static NSString *const kPreferenceGlobalShortcut = @"GlobalShortcut";

// Associate the shortcut view with user defaults
self.shortcutView.associatedUserDefaultsKey = kPreferenceGlobalShortcut;

// Associate the preference key with an action
[[MASShortcutBinder sharedBinder]
    // Let me know if you find a better or a more convenient API.

You can see a real usage example in the Demo target. Enjoy!

Shortcut Recorder Compatibility

By default, MASShortcut uses a different User Defaults storage format incompatible with Shortcut Recorder. But it’s easily possible to change that, so that you can replace Shortcut Recorder with MASShortcut without having to migrate the shortcuts previously stored by your apps. There are two parts of the story:

If you bind the recorder control (MASShortcutView) to User defaults, set the Value Transformer field in the Interface Builder to MASDictionaryTransformer. This makes sure the shortcuts are written in the Shortcut Recorder format.

If you use MASShortcutBinder to automatically load shortcuts from User Defaults, set the bindingOptions accordingly:

[[MASShortcutBinder sharedBinder] setBindingOptions:@{NSValueTransformerNameBindingOption:MASDictionaryTransformerName}];

This makes sure that the shortcuts in the Shortcut Recorder format are loaded correctly.


By registering for KVO notifications from NSUserDefaultsController, you can get a callback whenever a user changes the shortcut, allowing you to perform any UI updates, or other code handling tasks.

This is just as easy to implement:

// Declare an ivar for key path in the user defaults controller
NSString *_observableKeyPath;

// Make a global context reference
void *kGlobalShortcutContext = &kGlobalShortcutContext;

// Implement when loading view
_observableKeyPath = [@"values." stringByAppendingString:kPreferenceGlobalShortcut];
[[NSUserDefaultsController sharedUserDefaultsController] addObserver:self forKeyPath:_observableKeyPath

// Capture the KVO change and do something
- (void)observeValueForKeyPath:(NSString *)keyPath ofObject:(id)obj
                        change:(NSDictionary *)change context:(void *)ctx
    if (ctx == kGlobalShortcutContext) {
        NSLog(@"Shortcut has changed");
    else {
        [super observeValueForKeyPath:keyPath ofObject:obj change:change context:ctx];

// Do not forget to remove the observer
[[NSUserDefaultsController sharedUserDefaultsController] removeObserver:self

Using in Swift projects

  1. Install as a Pod using the latest CocoaPods with Swift support.
  2. Create a bridging header file using the instructions here
  3. Your bridging header file should contain the following two imports:
#import <Cocoa/Cocoa.h>
#import <MASShortcut/Shortcut.h>


MASShortcut is licensed under the 2-clause BSD license.

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