How to launch an app with a keyboard shortcut on Mac

If you’re always interested in ways to perform tedious tasks faster on your Mac, then how about a keyboard shortcut to open an app?

To quickly open an app, you can add an icon to your Dock, but maybe your Dock is too cluttered already. And some items can be placed in your Mac Control Center or menu bar. But maybe the app you want to use isn’t available in those spots.

Here, we’ll show you how to create a keyboard shortcut that launches an app on your Mac using Automator.

Set up the Quick Action in Automator

Open Automator from your Applications folder or using Spotlight search and get ready to set up a Quick Action to launch the app.

1) When Automator opens, choose New Document, select Quick Action, and click Choose.

Automator New Document Quick Action

2) At the top of the workflow builder, pick No Input in the drop-down box for Workflow receives.

3) On the left, click Actions above the Library section.

4) Select Utilities in the Library list and choose Launch Application to the right.

5) Drag Launch Application to the workflow builder.

Automator Utilities Launch Application

6) Choose the app you want to launch in the drop-down box.

7) Click File > Save and save the Quick Action with a meaningful name for the next set of steps.

Automator Save Launch App Calculator

Create the keyboard shortcut

Once you set up the Quick Action, you’ll go to your System Preferences to create a keyboard shortcut to use it.

1) In System Preferences, select Keyboard and pick the Shortcuts tab.

2) On the left, choose Services.

3) On the right, go to the name of the Quick Action you just created. It’s likely at the bottom of the list in the General section.

4) Make sure the box is checked. To the right of the name, it should say None for the keyboard shortcut. Click None, which changes to Add Shortcut, and enter the key combination you want to use.

System Preferences Services Open Calculator

Note: You cannot use a combination that is already being used for another shortcut on your Mac.

Open the app with your keyboard shortcut

When you have the keyboard shortcut assigned, give it a try! If for some reason the shortcut invokes a different action, change the key combination.

System Preferences Services Open Calculator Shortcut

Wrapping it up

Automator is a useful tool for creating Quick Actions, workflows, and more. So, check out our additional tutorials for how to schedule emails, speed up tasks with calendar alarms, and other cool things you can do with Automator on Mac.

Are you going to give this a try? Which app are you going to create a keyboard shortcut to launch? Let us know how it works for you!

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