I recently upgraded to Snow Leopard, from Leopard and I was using an awesome app called Spark that let you remap your keys, set scripts/macros and even had repeat functionality.

However, this app doesn't seem to be in active development anymore, and 10.6 broke the ability to bind certain modifier keys (Shift) with other keys.

I totally miss things like Shift+Insert for paste (Linux/Windows), setting Ctrl+Shift+Esc for Activity Monitor, and Ctrl+Alt+Del for the login window.

So, how can I achieve this instead?

3 Answers 3


Karabiner meets your needs. You can actually recompile (now just configure) to add more mappings to it, if you need. (Also, it's not just for MacBooks.)

  • Thanks, I've actually been using it to remap insert to f13 and adding: $\UF710" = "paste:"; in ~/Library/KeyBindings/DefaultKeyBinding.dict to use shift+ins.
    – Jack Chu
    Oct 17, 2009 at 10:05
  • 1
    As of March 2017, it says it doesn't support macOS Sierra.
    – Asclepius
    Mar 30, 2017 at 13:15
  • And it doesn't. Apparently Apple changed the whole subsystem he was using. He's working on a replacement called Karabiner-Elements, but the feature set is currently much smaller.
    – wfaulk
    Mar 30, 2017 at 13:17
  • Can't this be done with macOS native tools?
    – alper
    Apr 21, 2023 at 15:32

In Snow Leopard, Automator allows you to create Services, for which you can then assign a keyboard shortcut. So, if you can mimic the task in some Apple Script, then that might be an option. Like: bind Command-L to Fast User Switching.

To start programs like Activity Monitor there's a built-in action "Launch Application". For other tasks, rather than "Run Shell Script" as used in the example above, you probably need "Run AppleScript". Like to paste just anything:

on run {input, parameters}
  tell application "System Events"
    keystroke "v" using command down
  end tell
  return input
end run

I am no AppleScript expert so the above can probably be improved. (However, I think the built-in action "Get Contents of Clipboard" cannot be used to actually paste anything, and even it could then it would be limited to just text.)

  • Thanks for this, but the key combinaitons you can use in keyboard shortcuts seems limited. You can't bind ctrl+shift+esc or ctrl+alt+del for example.
    – Jack Chu
    Oct 17, 2009 at 10:30
  • Then un-accept this! People will now think your problem is solved! And maybe change the title to include those keys? (And, just to make sure you'll hate me and un-accept my answer: Mac OS X does not have an Alt-key ;-) See superuser.com/questions/25005/…)
    – Arjan
    Oct 17, 2009 at 10:53
  • Hah.. well I use an external PC keyboard so I map alt to command and windows key to option. Depending on the keys you want to bind though your suggestion is probably the best way to bind macros and shortcut and you don't even need a separate app.
    – Jack Chu
    Oct 18, 2009 at 17:30

FastScripts is a good alternative. Keyboard Maestro is much more powerful (and expensive).

  • Keyboard Maestro ftw!
    – frnhr
    Apr 19, 2012 at 21:25
  • How can we bind C+m to enter using Keyboard Maestro?
    – alper
    May 19, 2023 at 13:59

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