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jsegerman

Keyboard shortcuts to control iTunes while in other apps

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The following instructions allow you to set up keyboard shortcuts to control iTunes from ANYWHERE on your system without having to actually open iTunes or click and hold on it's icon in the dock. Once this is set up, you will be able to perform the following functions directly from your keyboard, regardless of which application you are currently working in: Open iTunes/Play/Pause/Play Specified Playlist/Next Song/Previous Song.

 

This iTunes functionality is really something that Apple should build into the OS, such as in the Universal Access Keyboard Preferences or something, but for now this is the best workaround I could come up with. If anyone knows a better way to do this (but still free!) please let me know. I'm sure you can do it with iKey (http://www.scriptsoftware.com/ikey/) but that'll set you back $30.

 

This takes a little bit of work to set up (about 5-10 minutes), but if you're like me and run iTunes nonstop in the background while working on other stuff, it's well worth your time!

 

1) Download Spark 2.1.1 (a free keyboard automation utility) from the following website: http://mac.softpedia.com/get/System-Utilit...ies/Spark.shtml

 

2) Drag Spark to your Applications folder and open it.

 

3) In Spark, double click on iTunes in the Lists panel at the left. While your cursor is active in the Shortcut box, enter the following key combination: Control-Option-Command-Spacebar. From the Action pull down menu, select Play/Pause, and hit Create.

 

4) Now double click on iTunes in the Lists panel a second time. This time type the keyboard sequence Option-Command-Right Arrow, choose Next Track from the Action pull down menu, and hit Create.

 

5) Once again double click on iTunes, type Option-Command-Left Arrow, choose Previous Track from the Action menu, and hit Create.

 

6) Double click iTunes one more time, type Option-Command-Down Arrow, choose Play Playlist from the Action menu, select your favorite playlist from the Playlists drop down menu, and name this command whatever you want in the Name text box.

 

7) Now double click on Application in the Lists panel at the left. Type Option-Command-Up Arrow in the Shortcut field. Click on the Choose button and select iTunes in the Applications folder, then click Open. Make sure Launch is selected in the Action drop down menu, and check the boxes Launch Without Activation and Launch And Hide. Then hit Create.

 

8) Now click on the Enable button in the main Spark application window (looks like a Play button). You will now see a readout at the bottom of this application window that says "Spark is Active."

 

9) Before quitting Spark, go to the Spark menu at the top of your screen (next to the Apple menu) and choose Preferences. With the Editor tab highlighted, select the checkbox that says Automatically Activate Spark at Login, then click Close.

 

10) Now quit Spark and let's give it a test run. (You should also quit iTunes if you currently have it open)

 

11) Now comes the fruit of your labor... from the Finder or any other application (basically anywhere on your system), hit the Option-Command-Up Arrow. This is the keyboard shortcut we assigned in Spark to open iTunes while keeping it hidden (of course, if you look in the dock you will see it is indeed open).

 

12) Now you can either hit Control-Option-Command-Spacebar to start playing a track in your main Library, or you can hit Option-Command-Down Arrow to start playing a song in the playlist you chose back in step 6.

 

13) You can now play and pause iTunes by hitting Control-Option-Command-Spacebar from whatever application you are currently using on your system. To go to the next song just hit Option-Command-Right Arrow, and to go to the previous song hit Option-Command-Left Arrow.

 

That's it, now you can quickly control iTunes from anywhere on your computer! You can also experiment with other keyboard shortcuts in Spark if you don't like the ones I have chosen.

 

Enjoy!

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Yellow Mug also make a small application (installed as a preference pane) called SizzlingKeys which allows this functionality very easily and quickly. It's a free application but a Pro version is also available for US$4.95 or a family pack for US$6.95.

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Matt called it. SizzlingKeys is the best! I've been using it for years and haven't found a better one. It also let's you search your library and select any playlist from any app via a pop-up window. I have the pro version so I can toggle shuffle. Hmmm, Toggle Shuffle... that's a good band name.

 

Quicksilver also has an iTunes plug-in but I don't find it to be very good.

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So... I don't understand why I can't just program the "mute" key on my Apple Keyboard to not only turn off the system sound, but also pause iTunes? Seems a lot simpler than Option+Shift+Function+Control+Up/Down+Tab 2 times... etc... no.

 

—"mute" system audio = pause iTunes, then "unmute" system audio = play iTunes. Seems it should be simple enough, doesn't it?

 

Any solutions?

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There has got to be a simple AppleScript that would take care of that. Too bad I don't know AppleScript.

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It's not a keybaord shortcut, but I just bought the Logitech Cordless Desktop S 530 Laser for Mac [ Amazon ]. In addition to being a great wireless mouse and keyboard, there is a set of buttons along the right side to allow you to control iTunes. Play/Pause, Skip forward and Skip backward. There are also keys to control system volume and mute. The response is sometimes slower than I would like, but it gets the job done.

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That's pretty cool... but still, it would be nice if it was one-in-the-same. I agree that there should be some kind of easy script, but a) I don't know how to write scripts either, and B) I haven't come across any ready-made scripts yet... so, I figured this forum would be a good place to find answers.

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I also have used sizzlingkeys for a while and it is as easy as intalling a tiny app into your pane. Much better than what is listed above.

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