Do Less Accomplish More
Adam C. Engst is the author of the “Take Control of yKey” Manual. His manual helps you install yKey and provides a step by step usage tutorial for this essential Mac automation software.
Adam started the TidBits newsletter and has written numerous technical books, including the best-selling Internet Starter Kit series, and many magazine articles.
yKey was called iKey for it’s first decade then the name was changed to yKey. Same app slightly different name.
March 2013 Tutorial “Using Ableton Live with yKey”
Fran Cotton’s in depth tutorial shows why yKey is essential for using Ableton Live 9. This is essential if you work and spend a lot of time with audio. Includes discount for yKey. More Ableton Live and yKey techniques here.
Tutorial by Ben Waldie, Peach Pit Press
Ben Waldie’s tutorial is a great intro to yKey as automation/macro software.
Review by David Pogue, New York Times
David Pogue discusses automation/macro software and in his weekly video he says yKey is his favorite. The iKey name was changed yKey a couple years after his review.
Review by Mac-Guild.org gives yKey 4.5 out of 5 mice
“Since I started using yKey, this gem has saved me up to an hour a week using shortcuts. Overall, I found the yKey to be reliable and very easy to use. For those looking for an affordable solution to creating shortcuts in Mac OS X, I highly recommend taking a look at yKey.” — James Richvalsky
Works with KeyCue which gives quick access to all your hotkeys.
Are you a slave to your computer?
We love our computers, but we are all familiar with the fatigue of repetitive tasks. We know computers are very capable of dealing with repitition, but there has been no easy way, up until now to collect them and pass them on to the computer to perform. Now, luckily on the Mac there is yKey. Free your self from the ball and chain of repetitive drudgery. Rule your computer, don’t be a slave anymore, use yKey automation for mac.
A simple example of how yKey can save you time!
Say you open Safari each day and go to the same 8 websites and then copy some text which you email to someone. Instead of performing this same task each day for 15 mins with typing and clicking and opening and closing applications do it with yKey via one hotkey or menu item and let it work in the background while you do some other work or have a cup of tea. Seriously, why sacrifice your life to monotonous repetitive actions when your computer can do them for you.
Do less and accomplish more with yKey.
yKey adds an essential but missing element in Mac OS X, automation! yKey will save you and your company precious time and energy. Its all about efficiency, we call this “doing less and accomplishing more.” yKey can turn some repetitive action that might consist of thousands of mouse clicks (in various applications, in menus and different dialog boxes) and pages of typing into one yKey shortcut that can be launched anytime to perform the exact same action with a simple key press. Learn more about shortcuts in our overview section.
Overview & Automation
yKey is an automation utility, a program that creates shortcuts to accomplish repetitive tasks. In essence, an yKey shortcut is a little program in its own right, but you don’t need to know the first thing about programming to create an yKey shortcut. All you have to do is put together three necessary parts of a shortcut: One or more commands that give the shortcut its functionality, a context in which it runs, and a launcher that defines how the shortcut is activated.
A shortcut is made up of 3 parts:
|A command is the action, or series of actions, that you want yKey to perform. An example of a command is: Open Photoshop and start a new document. yKey can open menu and choose menu items. It can hold and run Apple scripts from a palette. Automate movement of the mouse to tap areas of the screen on in an app. It can work in the|
|The context is from where your shortcut can be activated. Most commonly the context is set to universal so that it will work regardless of which application you are in. However you may wish to set a hotkey for use only in Photoshop, in this case the context would be set to Photoshop. yKey works in and between all apps.|
|A launcher is what activates your shortcut. Most commonly it is a hotkey or date time event. For example launch Safari by pressing option + s or have it load for you at 8:00 am each morning.|
Applications and Documents
Use yKey to tell your computer to launch, switch, show, quit and relaunch software applications, or to open specific documents even in other applications than their creator application. Includes access to recent applications and the currently running applications. yKey is even able to control the actual windows & menus of running applications.
‘Option’ + ‘g’ takes me to Google in a new window. ‘Option’ + ‘s’ loads Safari or brings the most recent window to the front. ‘Option’ + ‘p’ opens Photoshop (or any app you choose) and opens a new document. Switching between applications has never been so easy and fast.
My task list is never ending. At the beginning of the day it loads as part of a sequence, along with my email, cnn.com, and the ebay items that I have been tracking. To check my list during the day, I just press ‘option’ + ‘shift’ + ‘t’ and it comes to the front of my desktop.
Formatting documents can be tedious. You can have several fonts, sizes, colors, and alignment configurations. I have used yKey to set hotkeys, which only work within MS Word, that streamline my formatting.
Clipboard, Window, System, & UNIX
Copying, Pasting and adding to the clipboard is all possible with yKey. yKey can open the System Preferences and switch to any one of the preference panes. yKey can tell the computer when to sleep, restart or shutdown. Using the power of Mac OS X, yKey can even execute UNIX commands.
- I use yKey to back up my hard drive while I am asleep. But when it’s done, I like to have my computer go to sleep so that I can save energy. yKey can take care of all of this, what a revolutionary piece of software!
- Its great to see how my websites look on different computer setups and screens. Adjusting the system preferences each time I do this gets tiresome. Now I can automate this to switch back and forth with a single click.
Keyboard, Mouse, Menu, & Palette
yKey can simulate both keydown events and mouse events, meaning yKey can control the computer as if someone were physically using the keyboard and the mouse. The keyboard commands also include the ability to type the date, type the contents of the clipboard or even the contents of a file.
- In Flash MX there is no hotkey for inserting a frame into a layer. As opposed using the mouse each time to do this, I used yKey so that it selects ‘insert frame’ from the menu when ever I press ‘option’ + ‘shift’ + ‘f’. I set the context so that it only works within Flash, so that this key is available for other applications.
- Uploading files to my server can be tedious, especially when I am using PHP, which requires me to frequently edit, upload, and test. The secure FTP software that I use requires me to drag the files from my finder in order to upload. I have set a shortcut in yKey so that when I hit ‘ctrl’ + ‘shift’ + ‘u’, my computer opens finder and my ftp client, and then simulates the mouse movements required to organize the files according to date and then drag the files to my ftp client for upload.
yKey Works With All The USB Hardware Listed Below
i Key keyboards
i Media Key
i Opti Net
Swann Opti Glo
Ultra Slip keyboard
Internet, Script, & Sound
yKey is also able to Open Web Addresses, Create new e-mails, Pause, Display folder hierarchy and show files within the Finder, play Sounds, and execute Applescripts or itself be run by Applescripts. Create palettes that can be anywhere on your monitor with buttons that allow you to run Apple scripts with a button press.
Keeping track of competitors, industry news, and our search engine ranking is crucial for our company. For this I use Google alerts, an amazing tool in itself. But what is even more amazing is that I have customized yKey to automatically email each relevant Google alert to all our partners. What I used to spend an hour a day doing, is now done all by itself.
I have used yKey to alert me with a variety of sounds depending on the tasks at hand. If I have iChat conference at twelve in my calendar, then yKey will play sound a trumpet, open iChat, and connect me to my bosses.
Mac-Guild.org gives yKey 4.5 out of 5 mice
“Since I started using yKey, this gem has saved me up to an hour a week using shortcuts. Overall, I found the yKey to be reliable and very easy to use. For those looking for an affordable solution to creating shortcuts in Mac OS X, I highly recommend taking a look at yKey.”
— James Richvalsky Read entire review
What Our Users Have to Say
“Without your software my days of replying to endless same question emails would become utterly monotonous – Thanks for freeing me of repetitive tasks”
Brent Hohlweg, Men in Kilts
“Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to say that IMHO your product yKey is simply the best productivity aid available for OS X that I have come across to date. It’s interface and access to features are so simple and well executed that in the year or so I have been using it I have barely have had the need to open the help files to accomplish a desired task. The tutorial and overview introduced recently are well worth the time to run through and serve as an excellent example of the potential and capabilities of yKey. As a system admin and FileMaker Developer I use yKey in every part of my work, from simply moving and sizing windows to shortcuts to menu’s and for entering repetitive text and running applescripts from the keyboard. I currently have over 50 keyboard shortcuts in my universal set and a another 40 or so additional ones spread amongst half a dozen application specific sets. Combined these save me hundreds of key strokes and mouse clicks an hour. Together with LaunchBar, yKey is one of the two absolutely MUST HAVE utilities that I use many times an hour every day.”
“This is the old Youpi Key, with *lots* of new features. Very very nice! It now easily rivals QuicKeys.”
Sherman Wilcox, Department of Linguistics, University of New Mexico
“We are using yKey in a museum exhibit at the Boston Children’s Museum; it is a big pavilion that resembles Boston’s Symphony Hall with a video screen of the Boston Pops on it. Kids can use an electronic baton to “conduct” the orchestra. It seems to be quite a hit with the museum goers, which is a great pleasure to us. You can read about it in more detail if you care to at youretheconductor.com”
Teresa Marrin Nakra, Artistic Director, Immersion Music
“This is a fantastic program! It is saving me hours and hours of work. I keep thinking of new things to do with it.”
James Torck, Composer and Sound Designer
“Thanks for the on-going support and new releases of yKey that keep getting better and better – I used to use Quickeys years ago and am very happy with my decision to switch to yKey – it offers everything I need at a fraction of the cost – keep up the good work!”
“I used KeyQuencer for years on the Mac. When I switched to OS X, there was no OS X version for it, so I tried Youpi Key (which is now yKey). It’s a great replacement. It saves me hours of time. Highly recommended!”
“yKey Rocks!!!! Great Job!!!!”
William Jamieson, Web Projects Manager, Smart Works, Australia
“I’ve been beta testing yKey for about a week now. I noticed that it was posted on VersionTracker today and also noticed that you didn’t mention it was “formerly Youpi Key”. It is important that everyone knows that Youpi Key is now yKey because you have MANY Youpi Key fans!”
Paul Wharf, Web Technology Specialist, Mount Holyoke College
“After many years, I’m giving up on QuicKeys for something simpler that works.”
“What a fantastic program. I am reaching for my wallet as I speak.”
“Thanks for this very useful app, which really increases productivity.”
Eric Le Carpentier
“Hi guys, Well done on the new version of Youpi Key (yKey). It’s great that it’s now a preference pane. It’s a nice addition.”
“Thanks for the hard work to make this a great application.”
“Thanks for updating YoupiKey/yKey. It’s quickly becoming one of my most often used utilities. Thank you for adding Hide Front Application! Now I can finally hide any application with the same keystroke, even in Classic.”
There are 108 more reviews of yKey on VersionTracker.com
4.5 stars and 78,500 downloads