Steps to Resolve errordomain=nscocoaerrordomain&errormessage=could not find the specified shortcut.&errorcode=4

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

The error message “errordomain=nscocoaerrordomain&errormessage=could not find the specified shortcut.&errorcode=4” can seem cryptic at first glance. But understanding what it means can help troubleshoot the underlying issue. This guide will explain what the error signifies, potential causes, and steps you can take to resolve it.

What the Error Message Means

This error occurs within Cocoa, the native application framework for macOS and iOS. The “nscocoaerrordomain” indicates the Cocoa error domain is returning the error. Essentially “could not find the specified shortcut” means the system cannot locate the keyboard shortcut you tried to use. The “&errorcode=4” provides the specific internal error number.

So in plain language, this error occurs when trying to perform a keyboard shortcut on a Mac. But macOS cannot find where that shortcut is defined.

Potential Causes

There are a few root causes that can trigger this error message:

The shortcut definition was removed – If an app, service, or system function previously had a keyboard shortcut defined, and that definition was removed in a later update, trying to use the old shortcut would return this error.

The shortcut conflicts with another – If a new app, service, or system function defines a keyboard shortcut that conflicts with an existing one, the original would stop working and produce this error when pressed.

 System file corruption – Corrupted files related to keyboard shortcuts and other system functions could lead to macOS being unable to find or define certain shortcuts.

-Third-party apps conflicting – Some third-party apps define global keyboard shortcuts that can inadvertently break other shortcuts already defined at the system level.

Steps to Resolve the Error

If you encounter the “could not find the specified shortcut” error, there are a few troubleshooting steps to resolve it:

1. Identify which shortcut is returning the error – Make note of the exact keyboard shortcut that produces the error message.

2. Check System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts – Review the shortcuts listed here to see if the problematic shortcut is assigned to another function.

3. Review shortcut definitions in app menus – Open the application menu bar items related to the shortcut, and inspect their keyboard shortcut definitions for conflicts.

4. Disable problematic third-party apps – Use the Shift key while booting into Safe Mode, then test the shortcut again. If it works properly in Safe Mode, a third-party app is likely the culprit.

5. Reset NVRAM/PRAM – For system-level shortcuts, resetting NVRAM could clear out corruption related to shortcut definitions.

6. Repair system files with Apple Disk Utility – Using First Aid to verify/repair system files could resolve errors from file corruption.

7. Update apps and macOS – Install app and system updates in case shortcut conflicts or errors have been addressed in later versions.

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Could not find the specified shortcut

If the keyboard shortcut previously worked properly and none of these steps resolve the issue. It’s possible the shortcut definition was removed intentionally in a later version of macOS, an Apple app, or a third-party app update. Checking the app release notes for mentions of shortcut changes can confirm if this is the case. You will then need to identify and use the new shortcut, if defined, to perform the function moving forward.

In summary, the “could not find the specified shortcut” error indicates macOS cannot locate the shortcut definition when pressed. Conflicting shortcuts in System Preferences, menus, or third-party apps often cause this issue. Following the troubleshooting sequence outlined above can typically get shortcuts functioning again or determine if they were intentionally removed or changed by a recent update.

When and How the ‘errordomain=nscocoaerrordomain&errormessage=could not find the specified shortcut.&errorcode=4’ Error Came?

The cumbersome “errordomain=nscocoaerrordomain&errormessage=could not find the specified shortcut.&errorcode=4” has likely bewildered. Mac users for as long as keyboard shortcuts have been integral to Apple computers. These handy shortcuts rely on their definitions being stored in macOS to function when invoked. So when pressed shortcuts cannot be located by the system, this vague shortcut not found error gets returned.

But when did this exact error message first appear? Given the role of both shortcuts and the underlying Cocoa frameworks that power them within macOS, the origins of this error likely trace back to the initial release of OS X in 2001. With the debut of custom keyboard shortcuts came the potential for scenarios where shortcuts could not be successfully referenced. And some permutation of this error was probably born alongside those initial shortcuts over 20 years ago.

Through endless Mac shortcut customizations over the years and continuing macOS evolutions, the context for the “could not find the specified shortcut” error persists anytime shortcuts cannot be found. So while cryptic, this obscure message has been perplexing Apple users since shortcuts first arrived. Whenever shortcuts fail to be located by the system.

Preventive Measures  for the Error

The ambiguous “errordomain=nscocoaerrordomain&errormessage=could not find the specified shortcut.&errorcode=4” message can certainly be inconvenient when it randomly appears while working on a Mac. Though not always preventable, there are some proactive steps users can take to reduce encountering this verbose shortcut failure.

One prevalent trigger is conflicting shortcut definitions introduced in Apple or third-party software updates. Making a practice of reviewing the release notes for major macOS updates like new iOS versions or app updates can warn of impending shortcuts changes. If a shortcut you use often will be reassigned or removed. You can address it ahead of time before being caught unaware.

Additionally, carefully considering installation of third-party applications with extensive custom global shortcuts can minimize conflicts. Limiting the number of apps defining their own keyboard shortcuts reduces the potential for unwanted overrides that could lead to errors.

While not an absolute guarantee, monitoring upcoming shortcuts changes and judiciously installing apps with custom shortcuts can assist in dodging the wordy “could not find the specified shortcut” message when possible. Catching conflicting assignments in advance is the best way to avoid this irritating error.

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About the Author

Steve Hooker is a veteran IT professional with over 15 years of experience in end-user computing support and writing technology troubleshooting content. He specializes in providing friendly, accessible computer tips and training for both workplace IT teams and everyday Mac users.