When you print any document in OS X, you can manage the print job as a PDF by accessing the small PDF menu at the bottom-left of the print panel, where you can open the PDF in Preview, save it as a PDF to disk, and embed it in an e-mail or chat message, among other options. While the PDF menu itself is not inconvenient, accessing it does require you use the mouse by default; however, you can also assign custom hotkey shortcuts to access these items even quicker.
Using hotkeys taps into Apple’s service where you can assign a custom hotkey to almost any menu item. While for the most part this is used for items in system menus, it does apply to other menus as well, including those within application windows such as the PDF menu in print panels. Setting this up only takes a few steps:
- Open the Keyboard system preferences
- Click the Shortcuts tab
- Select the App Shortcuts category
- Click the plus button
- Add the name of the PDF menu item you want, exactly as it is in the menu (capitals matter).
- Assign a desired hotkey (I recommend the following for the associated services):
Save as PDF... —— Command-S Open PDF in Preview —— Command-O Mail PDF —— Command-M
These command recommendations might seem like duplicates for built-in functions like saving and opening documents, and minimizing windows, but when the print window is open, your custom associations will take precedence. For instance, pressing Command-M will mail the PDF instead of minimizing the window.
One convenience this approach offers, is that while it works with the PDF services that Apple includes with this menu by default, it applies to anything in this menu, including custom print services you have created in Automator. These will show up in this menu, and can likewise be invoked either through the menu or by assigning a custom hotkey to them.