Mac app CheatSheet: Display keyboard shortcuts from any app

The CheatSheet app shows keyboard shortcuts for every Mac app.

Via the free app CheatSheet I had read about Stefan Fürst a while ago, but then kept forgetting to try it out. Yesterday I came across the app's website by chance and interpreted this as a sign of fate to finally install CheatSheet.

Explained in a nutshell, a CheatSheet (in German "Cheat Sheet") gives a list of all keyboard shortcuts that can be used in the corresponding program at the touch of a button in any app. A very helpful thing if you enjoy working with shurtcuts.

The CheatSheet app naturally belongs in the Applications folder. You have to drag them there from the installation folder before you start.

The CheatSheet app naturally belongs in the Applications folder. You have to drag them there from the installation folder before you start.

Numerous security warnings and approvals for macOS

Anyone who uses macOS Catalina (nickname "macOS Vista") will have noticed that one very often has to nod off any permits or receive information about possible security risks when downloading an app from the Internet. If the app in question also wants access to the keyboard entries, approval is required again.

With CheatSheet you have to do numerous such hints and grant the appropriate permissions in the system settings before you can start properly.

I think I had to give CheatSheet permission in two places in the security settings for it to work properly. However, when you start the system for the first time, you get relevant information.

I think I had to give CheatSheet permission in two places in the security settings for it to work properly. However, when you start the system for the first time, you get relevant information.

Activation: Hold down CMD or ⌘

If you have worked your way through all of these windows, you can finally use CheatSheet. This works by going to the app of your choice (or staying in the Finder) and holding down the CMD or ⌘ button for a few seconds. This will open a window that takes up almost the entire screen and shows all the keyboard shortcuts that you can currently use.

Immediately after starting the program, CheatSheet informs the user of the only key that he has to remember: the loop square (photos / screenshots: Sir Apfelot).

Immediately after starting the program, CheatSheet informs the user of the only key that he has to remember: the loop square (photos / screenshots: Sir Apfelot).

CheatSheet allows you to work faster with key combinations

Why should you bother to figure out all the keyboard commands in an app? Simple explanation: If you regularly use the same commands in a Mac app, you can save yourself the work of the mouse and do a lot of things with the push of a button. It's much faster and also impresses people who watch you at work. ;-)

For example, I have made it easier for me to do a lot of work in the Finder or Photoshop. Instead of repeatedly navigating in the menu with the mouse, you can stay in Photoshop with the tool that you are editing and change tools at the touch of a button or even quickly call up automatic corrections.

In any case, I can no longer imagine my day-to-day work without keyboard shortcuts.

This is what calling up CheatSheet looks like when you are in the Finder. Unfortunately, there is a lot of white space on my large monitor because the CheatSheet window always fills almost the entire monitor.

The display of the shortcuts is context-sensitive

One thing that I was particularly interested in about CheatSheet is the question of whether the display of the shortcuts depends on what you have just done in the program. In the Finder, Photoshop or other apps, you often have commands in the menu that are grayed out if you cannot call them up in the current situation.

For example, if I haven't made a selection in Photoshop, I can't use the keyboard shortcuts to change that selection.

CheatSheet "understands" this and only shows the keyboard shortcuts that you can currently use. If this were different, you would probably have to scroll through lists of pages long in programs like Premiere or Photoshop to see all the keyboard shortcuts.

If you haven't even opened a document in Photoshop, the number of shortcuts is manageable because there is not much you can do and the tools are all inactive.

If you haven't even opened a document in Photoshop, the number of shortcuts is manageable because there is not much you can do and the tools are all inactive.

 

Once you have opened a document, there are so many keyboard shortcuts to choose from that you can even scroll the list.

Shortcut list is scrollable

If you call up CheatSheet in programs with more extensive command options, the list of shortcuts may no longer fit on one screen. The CheatSheet developer has made provision for this case and made the list scrollable. Unfortunately, there is no scroll bar to see, so at first it is not clear that there is something to scroll here.

Settings and print options

If you have called up CheatSheet, you can access the clear setting options of the app in the window that appears at the bottom right via the gear symbol. There you can specify, among other things, how long the key press on CMD (⌘) has to be so that CheatSheet feels addressed.

The settings are quite manageable and also include the option of printing out the displayed shortcuts.

There is also a "Print" button, which can be used to print out the displayed shortcuts or to output them as a PDF.

This is also helpful if you want to take a screenshot of the display, because when you press the CMD + SHIFT + 4 (or 3) buttons for a screen shoot, the CheatSheet window is hidden again before you can save it. If you were previously in the settings, the display remains open and only disappears again if you hold down the CMD button again.

A practical feature of macOS: Everything that can be printed out can also be output as a PDF.

A practical feature of macOS: Everything that can be printed out can also be output as a PDF.

Remove CheatSheet from Autostart and exit the app

The CheatSheet app creates itself - unfortunately without asking - as a login object so that it starts with the system start. That was a bit too brash for me, because I would like to determine the programs that start up on restart myself.

Since I will use CheatSheet every now and then, but certainly not all the time, I would like to remove it from the autostart. This can be done under System Settings> Users & Groups> Login Objects. In the list of apps, select CheatSheet and then click on the minus symbol.

CheatSheet writes itself again and again in the login objects - no matter what you do. I find this behavior rather questionable from the user experience.

Negative: CheatSheet keeps writing itself to the login objects

As I just had to find out, CheatSheet enters itself into the login objects after EVERY program start. This is behavior that I find very disadvantageous. The decision about this should be left to the user and not made by the programmer. In my opinion, this point is a big minus for CheatSheet - even if it does not affect the good functioning of the software. I will pass it on to the developer and hope that he will add an option for in the settings.

Update 18.06.2020/XNUMX/XNUMX: CheatSheet is removed from the login items

As the developer of CheatSheet has just informed me by email, CheatSheet automatically enters the Mac's autostart, but as soon as you close the app via the options, it wears off again. That's a solution I can live with. The negative aftertaste is eliminated ...

Quit CheatSheet

Closing the app is also a thing in itself, since CheatSheet does not appear in the app switcher (CMD + Tab) or in the dock like a normal program. With CMD + Q, as you would do with normal apps, you won't get very far with CheatSheet.

The app is closed via the settings, in which you can also find the option to exit.

The app is closed via the settings, in which you can also find the option to exit.

To exit the app, press CMD until the display with shortcuts appears. In this window you select the gear at the bottom right and find the menu item "Quit" underneath, which you select to quit CheatSheet.

My conclusion on CheatSheet

The app is a little gem for people who would like to work more with keyboard shortcuts. Sure, you could go a step further in terms of looks and user-friendliness, but the developer Stefan Fürst provides the app for free, which is why you should be a little more grateful here and refrain from complaining.

For Mac beginners and those users who would like to work more effectively, CheatSheet is certainly a very good app. I definitely leave them on my Mac to explore keyboard shortcuts in one or the other program. You can always find workflows that can be optimized. : D

Oh, almost forgot: You can use CheatSheet download here from the developer.

Premium alternative: KeyCue

A reader and the developer of CheatSheet asked me to use the paid tool "KeyCue"pointed out, which is obviously something like CheatSheet on drugs. Anyone who is willing to invest 20 euros will be happy with it, because it offers a lot more than CheatSheet not only graphically, but also in terms of functionality. I will definitely install it and then report in a separate article.

Screenshots from some programs

To show what the output from CheatSheet looks like, I've taken some screenshots from Mac programs that I use frequently. By the way, I haven't found an app that CheatSheet didn't work under.

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4 comments

  1. Nicolas says:

    Mac OSX Catalina (MacOS Vista)

    I just had to laugh heartily ... especially because I still use Mojave (Mac OSX Carefree) and the collective "I just wouldn't have installed Catalina" sighs from all sides ...

    But hey, I'm bothering with iOS 13.5, which is also a traveling construction site.

    Nevertheless, your tip about the CheatSheet is great!
    Thanks ????

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Yes, the times are over when you just did a macOS update and you were sure that nothing bad would happen. : D But despite everything, my Catalina works quite well. I've heard: the less ballast you carry with you from old systems, the better it works. So with the next macOS I might do a clean install again. ;-)

      And I am glad that you like the tip! : D

  2. frater mosses von lobdenberg says:

    Steve is dead.
    Did I mention that Steve is dead?

    I have been using KeyCue to display abbreviations for a long time. Costs a few euros, iirc, and can trigger more.

    • Sir Apfelot says:

      Yes, the developer of CheatSheet just pointed out KeyCue to me. And he explained the matter with the logon items: CheatSheet installs itself in the logon items every time you start it, but it also wears off again when you exit it via the options.

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