A guided tour of my Hyper key shortcuts

[Tweet : ADN : nvALT]

I have been asked a few times, so I’m sharing my current Hyper key mappings on my trusty Apple Wireless Keyboard. These are the ones that have already sunk into my muscle memory. I’ll add to them over time, but I like to take the keyboard shortcut thing slow and see what works before I go nuts.

This list doesn’t include application-specific mappings, of which I have a few. I’m using the Hyper key primarily as an app launcher and switcher. It’s faster than LaunchBar for my most-used apps, and especially for switching between them. That might not be the case for everybody, but pinkey to caps lock key and tapping a single letter with one of my other three fingers is extremely convenient to me.

One-handed shortcuts

My most useful keyboard shortcuts are always mapped on the left half of my keyboard. This allows me to hit them quickly while my right hand is on my trackpad (I’m right handed).

Most of these shortcuts are assigned through BetterTouchTool’s keyboard palette. Some are directly assigned in applications that allow global keyboard shortcuts, such as Simplify and iTerm’s visor.

  • one tap is escape, of course
  • 1/2: forward back through Spaces
  • q: Email (currently MailPlane)
  • w: OmniFocus
  • e: Sublime Text 2
  • r: Web browser (Choosy)

q/w/e/r are apps that I commonly jump between. In a web dev context, for example, I often hop between my editor (Sublime) and my web browser, so having “e” and “r” — contiguous on the keyboard — readily available with a two-key shortcut reachable with my pinky on the Hyper key and my middle and first fingers on the shortcut keys makes life easier.

  • a: Adium
  • s: Skype
  • d: Tweetbot
  • f: Finder

These are apps that my job often requires me to jump between frequently. When Growl tells me that there’s a new message in Adium, I can quickly tap Hyper-a to jump there, and I have it set up to jump to the most recently-updated chat and cycle through chats with waiting messages on repeated taps of Hyper-a.

As an aside, I have a cool script for Skype that will answer or hang up the current call with a keystroke (/). I’ve blogged it before but have updated it since. I’ll share that soon.

Two-handed shortcuts

While one-handed shortcuts are generally preferable to me, there are times when two-handed shortcuts make sense; this is primarily in cases where I’m going to be using keyboard-only input anyway, such as launching nvALT.

  • /: Track change via Simplify
  • : Mission control
  • t: iTerm (not visor)
  • i: iTerm visor
  • 6 iTerm visor, pause, htop in new tab

I separate the iTerm visor key (which is how I normally use iTerm) from a shortcut that just focuses iTerm so that if I have a normal window running something at the time, I can switch to it directly.

The 6 shortcut is a sequence shortcut defined in BetterTouchTool. It lets me run htop quickly to get a nice overview of running processes and CPU usage.

  • ; Show desktop
  • ’ Show menu bar in contextual menu

The “Show menu bar” command is another feature of BetterTouchTool. It pops up the full menu bar as a contextual menu wherever the mouse cursor is. I can then navigate it using the keyboard with the vi hack I have through Keyremap4MacBook. I use the one that lets me hold down “s” and “d” simultaneously and turn h/j/k/l into navigation keys.

  • : Sleep displays
  • n: nvALT

As I mentioned before, if I’m launching nvALT I’m not going to need the trackpad anyway, so it makes sense as a two-handed shortcut.

I’ll update this as I master new mappings, but this is my current setup. I hope it gives you some ideas for your own mappings. Have a great setup of your own? Feel free to drop it in the comments or email me about it!