errordomain=nscocoaerrordomain&errormessage=could not find the specified shortcut.&errorcode=4″ directly points to an issue within Apple’s Cocoa framework and, more specifically, a missing shortcut file. This post will delve into the causes and solutions for this error on your macOS device.

Overview of the error

The “errordomain=nscocoaerrordomain&errormessage=could not find the specified shortcut.&errorcode=4” error on macOS systems signals a problem with shortcut functionality. This error stems from the Cocoa framework, which is essential for building Mac applications. The message means your system cannot locate the shortcut it needs to execute a specific command or action. The “file not found” error code (4) hints that the shortcut file itself might be corrupt, missing, or stored in an inaccessible location. This error disrupts workflows, particularly for users who depend heavily on keyboard shortcuts for efficient navigation within applications.

What does it mean?

errordomain=nscocoaerrordomain&errormessage=could not find the specified shortcut.&errorcode=4
  • This error message indicates that your macOS system is unable to locate a specific shortcut that it needs to execute a command, action, or task within an application.
  • The error message provides several clues:
    • errordomain=nscocoaerrordomain: Tells us the issue is rooted in the Cocoa Framework, which is the foundation of macOS application development.
    • errormessage=could not find the specified shortcut:  It explicitly states the problem—the shortcut is missing.
    • &errorcode=4:  This code means “file not found,” implying the shortcut file itself might be missing, inaccessible, or corrupt.

What are the Causes of the error?

The primary causes of the “errordomain=nscocoaerrordomain&errormessage=could not find the specified shortcut.&errorcode=4” error are:

Mistyped or incorrect shortcut:

  • Simple typos when entering or assigning the shortcut combination can lead to an error, as the system will search for an exact match.
  • Incorrect Default: Applications sometimes have incorrect default shortcuts, leading to the error even if you haven’t personally modified anything.

Conflicting Shortcuts:

  • Overlapping Key Combinations: If two or more shortcuts use the same key combination (e.g., Command + S), your Mac won’t know which one to execute, resulting in the error.

Corrupted Preferences:

  • Damaged Preference Files: Application preference files (.plist) store your custom settings, including shortcuts. Corruption within these files can cause an error message.

Software Bugs:

  • Programming Errors: Applications aren’t immune to bugs, and the error might be caused by a programming error in how the software handles or locates shortcuts.

File System Issues :

  • Corrupt Shortcut File: The shortcut file itself might be corrupt or damaged.
  • Inaccessible Location: The shortcut file might be in a location that your system cannot access due to incorrect permissions or file system problems.

Remember: The specific cause can depend on the application in question and the circumstances surrounding when the error occurs.

How to fix errordomain=nscocoaerrordomain&errormessage=could not find the specified shortcut.&errorcode=4

Here’s a comprehensive troubleshooting guide to address the “errordomain=nscocoaerrordomain&errormessage=could not find the specified shortcut.&errorcode=4” error on your Mac:

Troubleshooting Steps

  1. Verify the shortcut:
    1. Double-Check: Open the application’s settings or preferences and carefully compare the assigned shortcut to the one you’re using. Even minor discrepancies can cause an error.
    1. Default Shortcut Issues: If you haven’t changed the shortcut, consult the application’s documentation to confirm the correct default shortcut.

Resolve conflicting shortcuts:

  • System Preferences: Navigate to System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts.
    • Review Assignments: Scan through all shortcut listings, paying close attention to the app where the error occurs.
    • Disable or Change Conflicts: Modify or disable other shortcuts that conflict with the problematic one.

Reset application preferences.

  • Locate Preferences: Find the application’s preference file (.plist), typically located in your user Library folder (~/Library/Preferences).
    • Caution: Before making changes, consider backing up the preference file.Reset or Delete: Look for a “Reset Preferences” or “Restore Defaults” option within the app’s settings. If it is not available, you may need to delete the.plist file manually.
    • Restart: Restart the application for the changes to take effect.

Reinstall the application.

  • Fresh Start: Uninstall the application completely and then download a fresh installer to reinstall it. This often fixes issues caused by corrupted files.
  • Check for macOS updates.
    • Apple Menu Go to Apple Menu -> System Preferences -> Software Update.
    • Available Updates: Install any pending macOS updates, as they might contain bug fixes related to shortcuts.

Additional Tips

  • Specificity is Key: When searching for help online, be sure to include the specific application’s name and version where you’re encountering the error.
  • Error Logs:  Consult macOS error logs, as they might provide more detailed clues about the problem’s root cause.

What should to do If none of these work?

  • Seek Advanced Support: Try searching online forums, the application developer’s support pages, or consulting an experienced Mac technician for more tailored solutions.

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The best way to minimize the chances of encountering the “errordomain=nscocoaerrordomain&errormessage=could not find the specified shortcut.&errorcode=4” error is prevention. Choose unique shortcut combinations, keep your applications and macOS system up to date, and avoid tinkering with preference files unless you are sure of what you’re doing. These steps will help ensure a smooth and productive experience on your Mac.


  • Q: The issue persists even after trying all the troubleshooting steps. What else can I do?
    • A: Here are some additional options:
      • Search Online: Check specific forums or support pages for the application where you’re experiencing the error.
      • New User Account: Try creating a new user account on your Mac to see if the issue persists, isolating whether the problem is system-wide or related to your specific user settings.
      • Reinstall macOS (Last Resort): Before a full macOS reinstall, back up important data and consider seeking professional technical support.
    • Q: Could this error happen because of a hardware problem?
      • A: It’s unlikely, but not impossible. If your keyboard itself has issues, shortcuts might not register properly. Try using a different keyboard to troubleshoot.
    • Q: This error appears in multiple applications. Is there a bigger problem?
      • A: Yes, if the error occurs across various apps, it could suggest issues with your macOS installation or file system. Consider using disk repair utilities or seeking professional technical advice.
    • Q: How can I prevent this error from happening again?
      • A: Here are some preventative measures:
        • Unique Shortcuts: Choose unique shortcut combinations to avoid conflicts. 
        • Regular Updates: Keep your applications and macOS updated to address potential bugs. 
        • Caution with Preferences: Exercise caution when modifying application preference files manually.

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