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System wide hotkeys

Project description

System Hotkey

Multi platform system wide hotkeys for python 3,

Currently no mac or python2 support :(


the old

pip3 install system_hotkey

should do the trick


install pywin32


For x11 you should use xcffib (bsd license),

If for some reason you have to use the python xlib bindings (gpl license), a few fixes need be added first. See here


Input Keysyms

System hotkeys uses the keysym names from xlib for everything besides modifiers.(although case insensitive) grep for vk_codes for a list of available chars. If you are unable to bind to a certain key please let us know.

You can bind directly to symbols such as [”’,. etc Numpad keys can be binded by prefixing with kp_.

Supported modifiers include:

  • control

  • shift

  • super (windows key)

  • alt

InvalidKeyError will be raised if a key was not understood

from system_hotkey import SystemHotkey
hk = SystemHotkeys()
hk.register(('control', 'shift', 'h'), callback=lambda:print("Easy!"))

A SystemRegisterError will be raised if a hotkey is already in use.

To unregister a hotkey

hk.unregister(('control', 'shift', 'h'))

A KeyError will be raised if the combination is not already grabbed.

A UnregisterError will be raised if unregistering failed for any other reason.

If you want you can pass in a custom consumer:

def some_func(self, event, hotkey, args):

hk = SystemHotkeys(consumer=some_func)
hk.register(hotkey, arg1, arg2, arg3)

So you have a master function that receives all hotkey presses and can delegate as desired.

Note Modifier keys are independent of order i.e control + alt + del is the same as alt + control + del


  • Support for up to 3 modifiers and a key


  • I have only mapped most common keys, i have not experimented with Unicode/Japanese characters etc. It’s only a matter of mapping a name to the keysym on Linux and virtual key code on windows.

  • binding to kp_left (key pad left) will also bind to kp_4, there is a flag (unite_kp) to toggle this behaviour but it is experimental

To be done

Mac support

eta > 8 months

Version Release Notes


  • Documented the fact that xlib shouldn’t really be used


  • Fixed a linux bug where spurious events got passed through


  • calls to the unregister and register are now thread safe

  • kp keys work properly

  • kp_unite option


  • Bug fix on linux where pressing numlock would crash us..


  • Custom args can now be passed to a custom consumer

Authors and Contributors

Timothy Eichler

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