Get Quick Access to System Preferences – Mac Kung Fu, 2nd Edition

Tip 244Get Quick Access to System Preferences

Here’s a way to get quick access to system configuration tools.

Right-Clicking the Dock Icon

If you keep the System Preferences icon in the Dock, simply right-click it and select the preference you want from the list that appears. This will start System Preferences with that particular option open.

If the System Preferences window is open, you can also click and hold the Show All button at the top left to see this list and select an entry from it.

Using Spotlight

If you can remember the name of the various System Preference panes (Desktop & Screen Saver, Energy Saver, Network, and so on), then you can access them ultra-quickly using Spotlight. Just hit Command+Space to open Spotlight’s text field, and then type the name of what you want. Before you’ve finished typing, you should see it appear near the top of the list of results, if not at the top. Simply select it to start System Preferences with that particular pane viewable.

Using Hotkeys

If your Mac’s keyboard has hotkeys at the top for changing the volume or brightness or for activating Mission Control, you can quickly access the associated pane of System Preferences by holding Option before hitting the shortcut key.

For example, holding down Option and hitting the volume increase button will open the Sound pane of System Preferences. Holding down Option and hitting the Mission Control hotkey will open the Mission Control pane of System Preferences. Hitting Option and the keyboard brightness hotkeys opens the Keyboard pane of System Preferences.

Adding Specific System Preferences Icons to the Dock

If you find yourself using a particular System Preference option a lot, you can add it to the side of the Dock that contains the trash; you’re not allowed to add them to the other side of the Dock, where app icons live.

To do this, open Finder, hit Shift+Command+G, and type /System/Library/PreferencePanes. Then click Go. In the file listing that appears, click and drag the prefPane file you’re interested in straight to the right side of the Dock.

Clicking it within the Dock will now activate System Preferences, which will then jump straight to that pane when it starts.

To remove the Dock icon, just click and drag it off the Dock, where it will vanish.