How to have a single key copy and single key paste on Mac

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Cmd-c and Cmd-v are used so frequently that the double keystroke combination is hard on the hands.  I want a single key that I can press for copy.  And a single key that I can press for paste.  None of this modifier keypress stuff.

On Windows, I can do it with the free AutoHotKeys.   But this doesn’t run on Mac.

On Mac, you can use Automator and a bit of Applescript (both comes with Mac).  But this technique only works if you have an external keyboard with extra keys that you can assign to copy and to assign to paste.  Because the Mac keyboard simply doesn’t have enough keys, all keys are being used.

1. Launch Automator, and create a new “service” document …

new service

2. As the first script step select “Run Applescript” and set service receives “no input” in “any application” …


3.  Type in the above script.  This script effectively presses Cmd-c for you.

4.  Perform a Save and give it the name “copy”.  Now a new service named “copy” shows up in System Preferences…

add shortcut

5. If you select the menu “Services Preferences”, it brings up keyboard shortcuts for services.  Find the “copy” service (shown above) and click “add shortcut”.

6.  Press the key you want assigned to perform this copy.  You have to find a key on your keyboard that is not already being used and that can be assigned.   Like I said, most (if not all) the key on the Mac are occupied.  But I have an external keyboard plugged in that has F13 and F14 function keys which I was able to assign.

7.  To do the paste command, you create a new service like before, but use “v” instead of “c”.   And then assign it a new shortcut key.

8.  To remove a service, you have to locate the file on Finder.  It is in a hidden “Library” folder in your user folder.  But you can get to it by right-clicking (or control-click) on the service and select “show in finder”…right-click-here

9. Delete the file to remove the service…






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