Assign Shortcut Keys to iTunes AppleScripts

Mac OS 10.3 introduced the ability to assign menu shortcut keys to pretty much every application, including iTunes. And including AppleScripts in iTunes' Scripts Menu. Here's how to do it.

(Hey! If you don't want to do-it-yourself, FastScripts from Red Sweater Software provides the ability to quickly and simply add and manage AppleScript keyboard shortcuts. I highly recommend it.)


Set Up Your System Preferences

Note: This will only work with scripts that have been installed in your [username]/Library/iTunes/Scripts or [startupdisk]/Library/iTunes/Scripts folder.

Quit iTunes. You can't attach a keyboard shortcut to an application if it is running.

Open your System Preferences and click on "Keyboard". Click on the "Shortcuts" tab. Select "App Shortcuts" from the list on the left.

Click on the "+" button. In the Application pop-up of the sheet that appears, select "". Next, enter the name of the AppleScript to which you want to assign a keyboard shortcut exactly as it appears in the iTunes Scripts Menu. Better write it down before you quit iTunes because spelling counts! In the Keyboard Shortcut field press the combination of keys you want to use for the shortcut.

setting shortcuts
Setting the shortcuts for the Pretend We Played This script in
System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > App Shortcuts.
The key combination I pressed is Shift-Command-X.

Click the "Add" button. Close System Preferences.

The next time you start iTunes, look in its Scripts Menu. The shortcut you assigned will be displayed adjacent to the name of the Script you assigned it to, just like a real menu shortcut! That's because it is a real menu shortcut.

For more details, search your Mac Help for "Setting custom keyboard shortcuts for applications".

OF COURSE, this isn't just for assigning shortcuts to items in the Script menu. You can also assign keyboard shortcuts for iTunes' menu commands that don't already have a shortcut, such as "Check for Available Downloads...", "Export Library...", "Check for Updates...", and so on. (And in this blog post, I describe a cool trick to unambiguously assign shortcuts to menu items in sub-menus.)

If you assign a keyboard shortcut which iTunes is already using you may get mixed results. For example, I assigned Shift-Command-N—which is iTunes' "New Playlist from Selection" shortcut—to a script and the script fired (the script actually does the same thing as "New Playlist from Selection" but asks for a new playlist name first). But it wouldn't let me assign Command-A, the universal "Select All" shortcut. It also knows what keys you have assigned already, and it will warn you if you try to enter a duplicate shortcut.

As far as using the F keys: I could only get combinations that included Command to work. No problem, though. There are still hundreds of key combinations available.

Sometimes I had to quit and re-start iTunes a second time before the shortcut "took". Maybe that's just my system.

Check out the Missing Menu Commands page for some mini-scripts that work great with shortcuts.

Here are some suggested scripts to which you may want to assign a shortcut:

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