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Use global keyboard hotkey to show/hide a window using Swift

Here I’ll show you how to show/hide a window using a global keyboard hotkey/shortcut, similar to how Spotlight or Alfred work, on macOS using Swift.

I needed this for myself with the following requirements:

As a result of the OS version requirement we’re using the old AppDelegate for life cycle of the app instead of going full SwiftUI.

Begin by creating a new mac project in XCode and select SwiftUI for “Interface” and AppKit App Delegate for the “Life Cycle”.

Next up lets add the KeyboardShortcuts package using the Swift Package Manager to make working working with keyboard shortcuts easier.

To do so in pick File > Swift Packages > Add Package Dependency in the XCode menu and then point it to

Now open AppDelegate.swift and set up your shortcut.

import KeyboardShortcuts

extension KeyboardShortcuts.Name {
  // **NOTE**: It is not recommended to set a default keyboard shortcut. Instead opt to show a setup on first app-launch to let the user define a shortcut
  static let showFloatingPanel = Self("showFloatingPanel", default: .init(.return, modifiers: [.command, .shift]))

Here we define a shortcut of the name showFloatingPanel and define a default hotkey combination of ⌘ Cmd+Shift+Enter.

It is not recommended to set default global hotkeys like this. The user might already have a shortcut on this combination. Instead show them a screen when they launch your app for the first time and let them set one up. See the KeyboardShortcuts documentation on how to do this. The library provides helpful utilities to get this done.

Now with a shortcut defined, we need to listen to it. Further in your AppDelegate.swift inside the applicationDidFinishLaunching callback register the shortcuts.

func applicationDidFinishLaunching(_ aNotification: Notification) {
  // ... other launch setup things

  KeyboardShortcuts.onKeyUp(for: .showFloatingPanel, action: {
    print("Keyboard shortcut was pressed!")

Your action can be anything you want. For example you could use it to show or hide a floating window similar to Spotlight and Alfred.