Getting Started

This article should give you a basic understanding on how to use Shortcat.

Shortcat requires access to the Accessibility system in OS X. Shortcat will prompt you if it detects that it does not have access.

Allow Shortcat access to Accessibility

Lion (10.7) / Mountain Lion (10.8)

  • Open up System Preferences
  • Go to Accessibility
  • Ensure "Enable access for assistive devices" is checked

Mavericks (10.9)

  • Open up System Preferences
  • Go to Security
  • In the side bar, click Accessibility
  • Unlock with the Lock button in the bottom left if necessary
  • Ensure Shortcat is checked. If Shortcat is not there, start Shortcat, and it should appear.

Using Shortcat

The default activation shortcut for Shortcat is Command+Shift+Space.

When Shortcat is activated, the query window will appear below the current active window.


To select an element to click on, enter a few letters of what you want to click.


  • lt, or lang for Language & Text
  • sa, show for Show All

It's important to note that Shortcat will only search from the beginning of words by default.

Example: bar will not match Foobar, but will match FooBar, Foo Bar or Batman and Robin.

However, when the query is above four characters, it will start doing exact matches.

Shortcat allows searching by role with the . operator. For example, if you wanted Shortcat to match buttons, then use .button as your query.

If you enter . by itself, it will highlight all elements that Shortcat can recognise.


Once you have entered in a query, Shortcat will highlight the matching elements with letters over them.

The element highlighted in green is the top match. Pressing Return will cause Shortcat to click this element.

You can use Tab and Shift+Tab to cycle between the results, but the most direct way is to hold Control and type the letters on the highlighted element you want to click on.

For example, if you wanted to click on Dock in the following image:

Selection example

You would press Control+O. Note that this only selects the element, which colours it green. To click, you have to press Return. For more clicking options, see next section.


Now that you've selected the element you want to click on, you probably want to click on it.

If you want to perform a simple left click, then all you need is to press Return.

Right-clicking is performed by holding down Control while clicking.

If you want to use a modifier while clicking, simply hold it down while pressing Return. For example, Command+Return on a link in Chrome or Safari will open the link in a new tab.

Double-clicking is simply tapping Return twice in quick succession.

That's it!

That's all you need to know to get started with Shortcat. It may seem slow when you first start, but after some practice, you'll navigating through apps like a boss!