iOS. Apple. Indies. Plus Things.

Adding Keyboard Shortcuts

// Written by Jordan Morgan // Apr 14th, 2021 // Read it in about 1 minute // RE: Snips

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Welcome to Snips! Here, you'll find a short, fully code complete sample with two parts. The first is the entire code sample which you can copy and paste right into Xcode. The second is a step by step explanation. Enjoy!


The Scenario

Add support for keyboard shortcuts in your app using UIKeycommand.

import UIKit

class ViewController: UIViewController {
	// 1
    override var keyCommands: [UIKeyCommand]? {
        let search = UIKeyCommand(input: "s", modifierFlags: .command, action: #selector(openSearch))
        // 2
        search.discoverabilityTitle = "Search"

        return [search]
    // 3
    @objc func openSearch() {

The Breakdown

Step 1
Any UIResponder object allows for overriding its keyCommands property, most commonly this is going to be a UIViewController. From there, you supply it with an array of UIKeyCommand objects.

Step 2
From there, give it a combination of keyboard shortcuts you’d like to expose. Keep in mind that the discoverabilityTitle property is what shows when the user holds down the command key to see any available keyboard shortcuts.

Step 3
Finally, the UIKeyCommand class doesn’t yet adopt the UIAction paradigm, so you’ll need to fall back to the target-action pattern. Because of this, you’ll need to mark your function with @objc if you’re using Swift.

Unlike responding to pure keyboard presses, this technique is suited for actions that you want to provide quick access to and register to the system so they’ll show in places like on the iPad’s keyboard shortcuts glossary. For more adhoc uses, such as moving a character around in a video game using the W,A,S and D keys, look to responding to keyboard presses instead.

Until next time ✌️


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