iKey review

If you want a powerful macro automation utility, iKey fits the bill

12 Dec 2003
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT


Youpi key is now known as iKey, a change that heralds new features and a shareware fee.

Despite the non-standard installer, setup is simple, and upgrading from Youpi Key is painless - most preferences and shortcuts are converted, although some esoteric ones may require fixing. Once installed, you can experiment with iKey Editor.

This application enables you to create shortcuts for all manner of tasks, including Terminal commands, menu item selection, window control, and application and document launching. You can also store pieces of text, which can be retrieved using a hot-key. Should you require more complex actions, you can run several in a sequence.

Each shortcut is located in a set, which determines whether it is universally accessible, or only available when a specific application is in use. New shortcuts are created in the Shortcuts menu, and are grouped by family (application, window, clipboard, Internet, and so on). Once a selection is made, a new window presents various options: via the General tab you can name the shortcut, define a hot-key combination, toggle launching via iKey's menu bar icon, and set timed action repetitions. The Window tab provides access to specifics relating to the shortcut. For instance, the Zoom window shortcut presents a drop-down menu containing various window actions, while 'Run script from a source text' enables you to type AppleScript commands directly into the window.

Other useful features include the ability to group items in floating menus; auto-launching iKey at login, and setting hot-keys to launch iKey Editor. Oddly, much of this configuration is done via a System Preferences pane, rather than via Preferences within iKey Editor, which we think would be much more logical.

The interface can be clumsy, unintuitive and confusing, lending iKey an unfinished feel. Also, the menu bar item is ugly and refused to work until we quit PTH Clock. While you can toggle the menu with a global hot-key, this kind of flaw is common throughout iKey and iKey Editor. Also, those used to Youpi Key's freeware status may be shocked by the new $20 price tag.

Ultimately, iKey still enables you to create useful shortcuts, and is worth buying, especially if regular updates are made available.

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