Mac Dictionary Shortcut: Everything You Need to Know

Mac Dictionary Shortcut Everything You Need to Know

The era of thumbing through large printed dictionaries to find out what a term implies or even how to pronounce it is over. However, rarely do Mac users remember how to get the most out of OS X’s integrated Vocabulary program.

Apple’s embedded dictionary is just one of several sets of programs that everybody employs but never mentions. Although the pop-up glossary has been available for a while, lots of Mac owners may be ignorant of its existence.

This convenient integrated system-wide mac dictionary shortcut is quite useful. Simply press this, and the meanings will appear right in front of your eyes. This seems to display all of the language families in your standard Dictionary app.

Key Takeaways:

  • On Mac, you can open a dictionary and search words using the built-in shortcuts. You can also customize the shortcuts by creating your own.
  • Spotlight options can help you if you forget the shortcuts. You can also use the text to speech option to make your dictionary talk.
  • By changing the sources, you can select what to show or what not to show.

Is There A Keyboard Shortcut To Open A Dictionary On Mac?

Yes, one of several quickest methods to seek up a phrase meaning using your Mac is simple to use the device’s built-in dictionary. It’s as simple as holding down Cmd + Ctrl + D from your keypad. The meaning(s) of whatever item is now under the mouse pointer will be shown within a pop-up window.

Is There A Keyboard Shortcut To Open A Dictionary On Mac

There are certain limitations to this method since it does not always work. It should operate throughout the Internet on most platforms; however, applications including Google Docs appear to be excluded.

Let’s look at how to check the meanings of terms and sentences fast while operating applications or visiting websites. More detailed steps will be provided in the later section of this article.

  1. Select your text: Control-click a text or term on the Mac, within an application or browser, or even in a picture or graphic (in certain apps, you might require to select it manually.).
    You may also use three fingers to press the touchpad (if the action is enabled in Trackpad settings). Whether your trackpad allows force touch, you can utilize it rather than a push for its Look Up command.
  2. Select lookup: Out from the shortcut option, select Look Up.
  3. Perform either of those the below throughout the Look Up screen:
    1. See the complete definition here: At the ending of the brief explanation, tap the “more” hyperlink.
    2. Look it up inside the Dictionary application: Click the Open in Dictionary button. Read the Dictionary Reference Manual for further information.
    3. More details are available at: If accessible, click a section, like Siri Knowledge, just at the bottom of that same Look Up pane, or glide left or right across the touchpad.
    4. Within the Dictionary application, you may modify the dictionary references: To enter the Dictionary settings box, select Configure Dictionaries. References can be selected or deselected. You may choose parameters for a certain source, including how to present pronunciations or even which Wikipedia region to search in.

modify the dictionary references

You have the choice of choosing Arabic-to-English, English US, or Chinese Modern. You may also change the language of the search queries to something other than English.

Whenever you add an additional Dictionary source, make sure it has finished downloading before looking for a term or phrase.

When reading a description, you’ll notice links to similar terms (blue writing). You can also hover the cursor over a term or text and select it to check its description.

Benefit Of Open Dictionary Shortcut On My Mac

The Dictionary application for Mac is useful since you can modify this with the references you desire. If you’re intrigued about this Dictionary application on the Mac and really want to learn further about the benefits of utilizing shortcuts, continue reading.

Supports App Opening and Customization While Browsing:

The Dictionary program may be found in your Installation directory or by accessing Spotlight.

When you access it, you may immediately enter a set of words utilizing the preset sources. However, to have it more helpful, consider tailoring it for the people who will use it the most.

Benefit Of Open Dictionary Shortcut On My Mac - Supports app opening and customization while browsing

From the navigation bar, select Dictionary > Preferences.

Most of the referencing sources are displayed at the head, with accessible languages mentioned just at the bottom. When you don’t find the language you’re looking for from the list, go to Additional Languages and look for it as well.

Benefit Of Open Dictionary Shortcut On My Mac

You may rearrange the references you pick in the listing at the beginning by dragging items to the desired order. This simplifies the process of opening and customizing the Dictionary.

Instant Searches with Sources:

Fill inside its Search box once at the head of your Dictionary window with a string of words. Then, choose the source that you wish to utilize. To get data from all sources, select All on the right. Choose the desired outcome just on the left, then you’ll see complete information just on right.

Instant searches with sources

Whenever your resource has a reference, it will load inside the Dictionary pane. As a result, you do not need to access your search engine, which is handy.

Instant searches with sources settings

Whether you wish to access Wikipedia using your browser after using this as a reference, navigate to its bottom and hit the Visit web page hyperlink. This website will load in your web browser, such as Safari.

Explicit Searches Restriction:

This is really a terrific method to utilize the Dictionary application for education if you wish to enable your kid to utilize it. However, you should make certain that kids do not see any sexual stuff using it.

For a Mac, that control is found under your Screen Time options. There are several handy tutorials for establishing Screen Time whether you need additional information. However, once you have previously done so and only need to confine the material for Dictionary, take these guidelines:

  • Launch System Preferences by double-clicking the symbol on your Desktop or by selecting Apple logo > System Preferences in the navigation bar.
  • Choose Screen Time.
  • Choose the account in the upper left corner and Items in the lower right corner.
  • Disable the Enable for Explicit Words in Siri & Dictionary option.

Disable the Enable for Explicit Words in Siri & Dictionary option.

How To Look Up A Word In The macOS Dictionary?

In addition to the keypad shortcut, Apple provides another easy option to look up word descriptions in applications or when surfing the Web.

  • Select a text: When you’re in an application or even on a webpage, hold down the Control option on your keypad and hit on the left pointer click.
  • Open the menu: Just above the text, a shortcut option will emerge. “Look Up” is the first choice.

How To Look Up A Word In The macOS Dictionary

There are several choices accessible within the Look Up screen:

  • Select a phrase to get its complete definition. Simply choose “more” there at the conclusion of the abbreviated definition.

choose more there at the conclusion of the abbreviated definition.

  • Select the option to view the item in the standard Dictionary application. “Open in Dictionary” should be selected.

Select the option to view the item in the standard Dictionary application. Open in Dictionary

  • Whether you need to see additional information, choose a category from the drop-down menu just at the bottom of that same pop-up. Additionally, you may switch across categories by swiping left and right over the touchpad.

switch across categories by swiping left and right over the touchpad.

  • Launch the Dictionary settings box by clicking the “Configure Dictionaries.” Choose whether or not to use the different Dictionary references. You can choose to view pronunciations from a certain resource or to explore Wikipedia in a specific language.

Launch the Dictionary settings box by clicking the Configure Dictionaries.

How To Create A Mac Dictionary Shortcut?

While Apple’s current keypad shortcut is sufficient for brief explanations, you may like something having a bit more information. You’ll need to create your individual Dictionary application keyboard shortcut in such a scenario. Let’s see how to create your own keyboard shortcuts.

Mac Dictionary Shortcut Everything You Need to Know

  • Navigate towards the Apple icon in the window’s top-left corner and select “System Preferences.”
  • Select the keyboard from the menu.

How To Create A Dictionary Shortcut On My Mac

  • The preferences page now has 5 options there at the top. Select the “Shortcut” button in the center.

Select the Shortcut button in the center.

  • Choose “Services” from the left column of the second window.

Choose Services from the left column of the second window.

  • Scroll down to “Look Up in Dictionary” just on the right column of the settings. On the right, this should state “none,” as there was originally no keypad command.

Scroll down to Look Up in Dictionary

  • At this stage, you must designate your chosen keyboard action. You are free to select whatever you want. For demonstration reasons, we’ll use Command + Shift + Z.

chosen keyboard action

  • Open any website or a Query on google, then tap on any phrase to check the shortcut. When you trigger your function keys instruction, the Dictionary application should launch.

Apple’s Dictionary tool, which enables you to seek up word descriptions on Mac instantly, is still a mainstay of the macOS platform. The Dictionary application, on the other hand, has a plethora of other features.


The capabilities in macOS Dictionary seem to be quite robust and allow a great level of interaction with compatible OS X programs. It’s not been easier or more enjoyable to look up descriptions, synonyms, and other terms in Wikipedia! So use Mac’s installed dictionary to spare yourself a few steps.

Using the Dictionary application, you can instantly search for a phrase’s meaning from a variety of resources from wherever on your Mac. Furthermore, the Dictionary is enabled by Siri, allowing the application to to provide results other than definitions. Rather, you receive more detailed, appropriate findings in one spot.

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