KeyCue, the keyboard shortcut cheat sheet finally takes on life in menu bar

Ergonis Software informed me that KeyCue 6.4, a new version of the company’s keyboard shortcut cheat sheet will finally live in the OS X menu bar. KeyCue is a handy tool for learning and remembering keyboard shortcuts. Whenever the Command key is held down for a while, KeyCue displays a table with all keyboard shortcuts available in the currently active application, system-wide hotkeys, as well as key combinations for triggering macros in Keyboard Maestro, QuicKeys and iKeys.

Up to now, KeyCue was a true background app, totally invisible until you activated it. However, on my system that sometimes didn’t work too well, which is why I am happy that version 6.4 has an icon in the menu bar, which is not only a visible indicator of KeyCue’s presence, but also serves as an additional way to invoke KeyCue. Holding down the left mouse button while on the KeyCue icon will not show the cheat sheet but the KeyCue menu — which makes KeyCue now completely in my comfort zone, and I’m sure in many other users’ as well.

Having the menu is particularly convenient when different key combinations are used to pop up separate compact tables for menu commands, system-wide hotkeys and macros. A click on the new menu icon can now bring up a large combined table of all these shortcuts. And best of all, it is now possible to look up shortcuts without remembering another shortcut. KeyCue 6.4 also contains a couple of other enhancements and fixes and improves compatibility with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.

The productivity paradox of keyboard shortcuts is that shortcuts were designed to increase productivity. However, productivity actually decreases when applications provide large numbers of shortcuts, in particular when the shortcuts are defined inconsistently across applications. KeyCue’s elegantly simple solution is to display an instant overview of currently available keyboard shortcuts — application-specific menu shortcuts as well as system-wide hotkeys and user-defined shortcut descriptions. Over time, KeyCue users will automatically remember frequently used shortcuts and start working more efficiently.

KeyCue has already received many awards, including a 4.5-Mice award from MacWorld magazine.