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Macintosh OS X supports the ability to extend the default set of keyboard shortcuts for pretty much any application. Enhancing these shortcuts to map to menu items which you use frequently in FileMaker can significantly improve development time. Remember, muscle memory is better than mousy memory (because computer mice aren't really that smart).

While setting these shortcuts within the System Preferences is easily accomplished on one machine, these same settings cannot be transfered to another machine because they are stored within FileMaker's application preferences (e.g. com.filemaker.client.advanced.plist within ~/Library/Preferences/)

The solution is to maintain a preferred collection of keyboard shortcut mappings within a FileMaker file and simply install the enhancement on the running target machine. The file attached to this page does exactly this.

Downloading: You can download the file by clicking the paperclip icon at the top of this page.

Making changes to the file

If you enhance, or have suggestions for this file then please leave them in the comments below or send your modified version of the file, WITH A COMPLETE DESCRIPTION OF THE CHANGES, to editor@filemakermagazine.com

Caption: Clicking the "Set Keys" button will insert your keyboard shortcuts into the NSUserKeyEquivalents entry within FileMaker's preference file.

Currently FileMaker Pro Advanced ONLY

The FileMaker file is currently only configured to work with FileMaker Pro Advanced. You will need to modify the file to work with FileMaker Pro. If you update the solution to work with a standard copy of FileMaker Pro then please notify me using the link in the tip above.

Caption: The System Preferences Keyboard Shortcuts is where the keys will show up. You may need to come here in order for mappings to take effect if FileMaker is still running.

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8 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Just a note, if you already have custom shortcuts setup in System Preferences, the file tells you the new ones are set, but they aren't.  Once I removed my custom ones and hit "Set Keys" it worked after that.

  2. Anonymous

    Instead of defining the shortcuts for FileMaker in the system preferences, simply set them for "all applications".

    Then you can transfer the preference file, or even store it in your DropBox.

    1. I don't know that I'd do this personally. Universally taking over keyboard shortcuts can interfere with many other applications. I would certainly opt to limit the shortcuts I set to a specific application - hence the reason for the file.

      In fact, if you use the information within the file, you can also create a companion file that would set default Data Viewer items if you're using it to inspect the environment while developing.

  3. Anonymous

    I discovered Keyboard Maestro recently. its great.

    - Assign/override shortcuts to any App menu eg. Manage Custom Functions, Manage Value Lists

    - System wide hotkeys to open key dev dbases, personal dbases.

    - Run applescripts with a hotkey eg. zip selected files into timestamped zip.

    - Basically can assign hotkeys to just about anything, eg record Macro to open database & run a script etc.

    Cheers

    Olly

  4. Anonymous

    Gold...this is a fantastic addition. I had a few issues getting it to 'install' the key sets. I found if I had the sys pref window open BEFORE i ran the install script, it would 'install', but the shortcuts would disappear after you re-boot FMPA the next time. Making sure the sys pref window was shut BEFORE I ran it made it all work fine.

    FWIW, I have been using QuicKeys for years to do the same thing...but this is much nicer. I still use quick keys for macros (ie adding in pre-formatted comments, so they can be indented etc) but this is certainly better for the day to day menu open grind!

     thnx so much Matt.

  5. Anonymous

    I suggest the addition of a "Show All" button on the main screen.  I recently had occasion to change several keystrokes to those I prefer and doing this one-by-one to several keys that aren't included in the list by default pointed out this necessity.

    -Matthew Miller

  6. Anonymous

    Hi Matt

    Thnx for a great utility. Have just got a new Macbook Air...with Lion and I can't seem to get the shortcuts to install for love nor money!!

    Do you know if it 'should' work under Lion? Or is they some other weird stuff going on?

    again, thnx so much!

    - Nunz

    1. Anonymous

      ....to follow up with my previous question. It turns out Lion is a little finicky about setting keyboard shortcuts. Here is how i managed to get it to work.

      1. Move the filemaker advanced app out of it's folder' so it is located IN the "Applications" folder. It turns out that by default the adding shortcuts pref only 'sees' apps in that directory....and no sub directories.

      2. Add a 'test' shortcut for the filemaker advanced app (i added a shortcut for the 'view' menu item...you'll delete this later.

      3. Run the Enhanced Macintosh Keyboard Shortcuts file and set the keys

      4. Check the system prefs...they should all be there.

      5. Delete the 'test' shortcut you made

      6. Move FMPA back to it's folder....

      YMMV but it worked for me.

      I suspect that the applescript magic in this file is not apple to 'locate' the filemaker adv app because the system pref doesn't know about it? Just a thought....

      again thnx so much.

      ciao