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Using Shortcat efficiently

There are two ways to use Shortcat:

  • Optimising for least time spent
  • Optimising for least keystrokes

Shortcat's primary goal is to enable to you minimise time spent and mental effort to interact with your tools.

With that in mind, the intended method (and happy path) of using Shortcat is as follows:

  • Activate Shortcat
  • Immediately type what you want to click on, or do* Hit Enter
  • Shortcat does its magic
  • Your intent is performed:
    • Element is clicked
    • Window raised
    • Menu item invoked

Figuring out what the user is likely to mean when searching the user interface is a difficult problem, so sometimes Shortcat won't return the element you want to click on first. Often, this is often due to too short of a query which makes filtering ineffective.

See the tips below on optimising Shortcat usage.

Optimising for least time spentโ€‹

Longer queries mean better resultsโ€‹

If you are a fast typer, it's often going to be better to type one or two words of your desired element or intent, as the likelihood of your desired element/action being first is much higher, saving time.

Shortcat is designed to be activated, immediately type in a word or two of the designed action, then press Enter.

Shortcat will buffer the Enter and wait for enumeration, filtering, and scoring to be complete before actioning the first result.

Optimising for least keystrokesโ€‹

Typing in the hint on the element will be the least keystroke method of selecting an element.

To make the hints show immediately, change the Show shortcuts after option in Preferences to immediately.

Reading the hint and typing it in takes 1 to 3 seconds, depending on your reaction time and typing ability.

Refining your queryโ€‹

If you need to refine your query further, you can append a few things to the query:

  • More words from the label (most effective, but most keystrokes)
  • Hint on the element, the yellow highlighted label (least keystrokes, may not be as effective)
  • The type of the element, e.g. (btn, radio, check)

Selecting a resultโ€‹

The fastest way to select a result is to have it already selected ๐Ÿ˜Ž. The more you can type up front, the less time you'll spend selecting.

Cmd+Num is the fastest way to action an element, but only effective if you have less than 10 results.