Mac Shortcut Woes? Fix “Could Not Find Specified Shortcut” Error (macOS)

Mac Shortcut Woes? Fix “Could Not Find Specified Shortcut” Error (macOS)

Mac users who rely heavily on keyboard shortcuts for efficient workflows might encounter the frustrating “errordomain=nscocoaerrordomain&erressage=could not find the specified shortcut.&errorcode=4” error message. This error indicates that macOS is unable to locate a specific keyboard shortcut you’ve assigned to an action within an application or system function.

Don’t fret! This article delves into the reasons behind this error and provides a comprehensive guide to effectively troubleshoot and resolve the issue. We’ll explore various scenarios and equip you with step-by-step solutions to restore your preferred shortcuts and regain optimal productivity on your Mac.

Understanding the Error Message

The message itself offers valuable clues:

  • errordomain=nscocoaerrordomain: This points towards an error originating within the macOS Cocoa frameworks, which handle core functionalities like application interactions and user interface elements.
  • errormessage=could not find the specified shortcut.: This clarifies the crux of the issue – the system is unable to recognize the designated keyboard shortcut.
  • errorcode=4: While not explicitly defined by Apple, error code 4 often signifies a generic “not found” error within macOS.

In simpler terms, the assigned shortcut combination – a sequence of keys you’ve programmed to trigger an action – is either missing, incorrectly configured, or conflicting with another shortcut.

Common Causes of the “errordomain=nscocoaerrordomain&errormessage=could not find the specified shortcut.&errorcode=4” Error

Several factors can contribute to this error:

  • Mistyped Shortcut: A seemingly minor typographical error during shortcut configuration can lead to this issue. Double-check for any discrepancies between the intended shortcut and the one actually registered by the system.
  • Conflicting Shortcuts: macOS might encounter a conflict if you’ve assigned the same shortcut combination to multiple applications or system functions. This confusion can prevent the intended action from being triggered.
  • Application Issues: In rare instances, the application itself might be experiencing glitches or bugs that interfere with shortcut functionality. Application updates often address such issues.
  • Corrupted System Files: While less common, corrupted system files related to keyboard shortcuts can also cause this error.

Effective Troubleshooting Techniques

Here’s a methodical approach to diagnose and rectify the “errordomain=nscocoaerrordomain&errormessage=could not find the specified shortcut.&errorcode=4” error:

1. Verify the Shortcut Configuration

  • Identify the Application: Pinpoint the application or system function where the problematic shortcut resides. This will guide your troubleshooting efforts within the specific application settings.
  • Access Shortcut Preferences: Locate the application’s preferences or settings menu. This section typically houses options for customizing keyboard shortcuts.
  • Review Assigned Shortcut: Carefully examine the shortcut assigned to the desired action. Ensure it matches your intended key combination – including modifier keys like Command, Option, Shift, and Control – without any typos.
  • Compare with Defaults: If available, consult the application’s default shortcut list for reference. This can help identify any significant deviations from the standard configuration.

2. Resolve Conflicting Shortcuts

  • System-Wide Preferences: Open System Preferences and navigate to the Keyboard section. Under the “Shortcuts” tab, explore different categories like App Shortcuts, Mission Control, Services, and more.
  • Review Conflicting Assignments: Look for any shortcuts mirroring the problematic one across various applications or system functions.
  • Reassign Conflicting Shortcuts: If conflicts exist, reassign shortcuts for applications you use less frequently or opt for alternative key combinations that better suit your workflow.

3. Address Application-Specific Issues

  • Update the Application: Outdated applications might harbor bugs that affect shortcut functionality. Check for available updates within the application itself or through the Mac App Store and install them promptly.
  • Reset Application Shortcuts: Some applications offer an option to reset all shortcuts to their default settings. This can be a quick fix if the issue stems from extensive customization or potential configuration errors. Consult the application’s documentation for specific instructions on resetting shortcuts.
  • Reinstall the Application (Last Resort): If the above steps fail and the application is the suspected culprit, consider reinstalling it as a last resort. This will overwrite any corrupted files that might be causing the problem. Remember to back up any application-specific data before reinstalling.

4. Rebuild System Keyboard Profiles (Advanced Users) Continued:

  • Execute Command: While in Terminal, type the following command and press Enter:
defaults delete .GlobalPreferences
  • Restart the Dock: Next, relaunch the Dock using the following command and pressing Enter:
killall Dock

Important Note: Rebuilding system keyboard profiles resets all keyboard shortcuts, including those you’ve meticulously configured across various applications. Be prepared to reassign your preferred shortcuts after completing this step.

Preventive Measures to Avoid Future Issues

  • Maintain Application Updates: Regularly update your applications to benefit from bug fixes and performance enhancements that might address shortcut-related issues.
  • Document Your Shortcuts: Consider keeping a record of your customized shortcuts, especially for frequently used applications. This can be helpful for quick reference or when troubleshooting future conflicts.
  • Utilize System Preference Presets: System Preferences often provide pre-configured shortcut sets for different accessibility needs. Explore these presets and adapt them to your workflow for a consistent and efficient experience.


By following these comprehensive troubleshooting techniques, you should be well-equipped to resolve the “errordomain=nscocoaerrordomain&errormessage=could not find the specified shortcut.&errorcode=4” error on your Mac. Remember, a systematic approach that considers potential causes, explores application settings, and leverages system-wide tools will empower you to reclaim control over your keyboard shortcuts and restore optimal productivity on your Mac.

Should you encounter further complications or require more specific guidance, consulting Apple’s official support resources or qualified IT professionals can provide additional assistance.