I would like to override the keyboard-shortcut for a particular built-in action in finder (OS X 10.6.7).

An example would be to override the Cmd+N for a New Finder Window to some other action, say Open a blank Text document.

I can create the service for opening a blank Text document in automator - and I can map a new keyboard shortcut for this - but the new keyboard shortcut will not override a default keyboard shortcut.

I do not want to install any 3rd party applications (like QuickSilver).


3 Answers 3


You could try to remove the keyboard shortcut from Finder, as per this answer of mine, in collaboration with @Arjan:

defaults write com.apple.Finder NSUserKeyEquivalents -dict-add "New Window" nil

(not on OS X right now, replace text with actual label)

Maybe then the keyboard shortcut for the Service will work.

  • 1
    So this worked beautifully - and now i know about the NSUserKeyEquivalents - whoot! I found a nice writeup on this website (hoboes.com/Mimsy/hacks/disabling-quit-rewriting) that gave me a better feel around this and how to use the -dict-add and undo whatever mess I might make while experimenting. I actaully miss the good old Windows+E to pull up a nice explorer window and have mapped Command+E to open a finder window. Works perfectly! Thanks a bunch as my productivity just got a 3% boost!
    – super
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 16:42
  • @super Besides creating the "missing/resetting" shortcut, all other actions can be performed more comfortably from System Preferences. Also, Command-E is likely used by many applications, I suggest a shortcut that contains Control (e.g. Ctrl-Opt-E or Ctrl-Command-E), these are least likely to be in use, in my experience.
    – Daniel Beck
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 17:05
  • Thanks. This is very useful. I always press Command+T in Finder, to disable it: defaults write com.apple.Finder NSUserKeyEquivalents -dict-add "Add to Sidebar" nil
    – Marek
    Commented Jul 12, 2013 at 10:50

I had this same issue with wanting to change Finder's "Cycle Through Windows" default of Cmd + `.

By adding an application-specific shortcut in System Preferences > Keyboard, I was able to change the default *:

system prefs keyboard shortcuts

You can see this new shortcut reflected in Finder's menu:

finder shortcut changed

* I changed it to something I'd never use, as I wanted Cmd + ` for another purpose.

  • Best answer for me!
    – laike9m
    Commented Oct 8, 2015 at 8:01
  • I did the same for safari for new tab, I can see new shortcut in menu but it is not working Commented Feb 6, 2023 at 5:51

Yes, it is possible to change the default keyboard shortcut for Finder on your Mac. You can customize the shortcut by following these steps:

  1. Open System Preferences on your Mac.
  2. Click on Keyboard.
  3. Select the Shortcuts tab.
  4. Click on App Shortcuts in the left sidebar.
  5. Click on the + button to add a new shortcut. It is at the bottom of the right pane and beside the minus symbol (which you will need to use to remove).
  6. In the Application field, select Finder from the dropdown box. This means there is a wider variety of applications that you can assign shortcuts!
  7. In the Menu Title field, type the exact name of the menu command whose shortcut you want to change. For example, if you want to change the shortcut for "Downloads" folder, type "Downloads" (without quotes).
  8. In the Keyboard Shortcut field, press the keys you want to use for the new shortcut.
  9. Click on Add. enter image description here

After following these steps, your new keyboard shortcut will be active in Finder. In the picture which I have shown, I have reused a shortcut key so it now appears for 'Downloads' and there is no shortcut key for 'Desktop'.

enter image description here

I hope this helps someone in year 2023 and thanks to Bing who helped me to contribute back this answer to this thread.

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