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Using Cmd + Space as Alfred hotkey

Cmd + Space is a very convenient hotkey combination you may want to use for Alfred. As it's a desirable one, you'll need to disable interfering features in macOS before it can be used as your Alfred hotkey.

Setting your Alfred hotkey to Cmd + Space or any other combination

To set your hotkey, go to the Alfred preferences and view the General tab. Type your key combo (ctrl, alt and/or cmd + space/character) to set it.

If you're unable to set it by simply highlighting the Alfred Hotkey field and typing your combo, the combination may be:

  • Incomplete: You need at least one modifier and a character to set as hotkey
  • Already in use somewhere else on your Mac: You'll need to either choose another combo or identify where it's already in use

For example, Cmd + Space is a desirable hotkey combo, as it's such an easy combination to use. As a result, if you try to set Alfred's hotkey to Cmd + Space, you may find that you can't immediately to do so.

Cmd Space as hotkey

Unable to set it? Take a look at the most likely reasons the Cmd + Space hotkey combo might be reserved elsewhere.

1. Check it isn't in use by Spotlight

If Cmd + Space doesn't work, that hotkey may be assigned to another feature on your Mac. First, verify that it's not in use for Spotlight by opening Spotlight's System Preferences and disabling the menu keyboard shortcut under Keyboard Shortcuts > Spotlight.

Spotlight using Cmd Space

2. Check it isn't used for language switching

If you use (or have previously used) multiple languages on your keyboard, it's likely to be used for language switching. Here's the procedure you will need to go through:

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Go to Keyboard > Input Sources
  3. Add a second language if you only have one set (The System needs at least two languages to toggle between in order to allow the keyboard shortcut to be changed)
  4. Go to Keyboard > Shortcuts and choose "Spotlight" in the sidebar, ensuring that the two hotkeys are not set to Cmd + Space, then disable them by unchecking the boxes.
  5. In the same Keyboard > Shortcuts preferences, choose "Input sources" and check that these are also not set to Cmd + Space and their boxes are unchecked.
  6. Return to Keyboard > Input Sources and remove the second language if you don't wish to use it.

macOS Reserving Hotkeys:

Even if you are not actively using that key combination for Spotlight or language management, macOS may be reserving it behind the scenes. If that is the case, in the Input sources, select a second language then go to the Keyboard & Text Input section again, untick the two checkboxes relating to input source.

You can then go unselect that second language, once the key combos are changed or disabled.

3. Check that Siri isn't set to holding Cmd + Space

If you're on macOS 10.13 or more recent, take a look at your System Preferences > Siri, and change the "Hold Command Space" shortcut to a different one, in case your Mac thinks you're calling up Siri.

Alternatively, you can disable the Siri feature altogether if you don't use it.

4. Check third-party applications

If you've set Cmd + Space as your hotkey combo previously in a third-party app on your Mac, you'll also need to disable or change hotkeys in these apps.

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