1Password, LaunchBar and Image Smoothing

What do those three things have in common? A default keyboard shorcut that -- when activated -- will have you scratching your head and wondering where to look for the culprit.

I've been a user of 1Password and LaunchBar for a long time. They're two of a handful of utilities that immediately get installed any new Mac I get. 1Password is a password vault that synchronizes (via Dropbox, another "must have" utility) my web logins and other information across my Macs and iOS devices. LaunchBar gives me access to applications, files, and more with just a couple keystrokes.

Although I take advantage of only a small subset of LaunchBar's features, one that I use every day is Clipboard History. It keeps track of up to 40 of your last copy operations so you can paste any of them as needed. LaunchBar's Show clipboard history command ues command-option-\ as its shortcut by default. I'm not sure when I first noticed that, when I used that shortcut in Safari, any selected field in Safari would no longer hold the insertion point, but the annoying result was that LaunchBar couldn't paste into Safari. A bug in LaunchBar?

Occassionally I'd notice that 1Password would activate on that keystroke, even though its Fill Login shortcut is cmd-\. At first I thought that I'd just not gotten the option key down, since it didn't happen all the time. But then it occurred to me that perhaps 1Password was responding when the option key was down. I changed the shortuct for LaunchBar and -- sure enough -- LaunchBar started working. A bug in 1Password?

The cause was far more innocuous. Just over a year ago 1Password introduced a new Safari extension -- and a new keystroke to activate it. Cmd-opt-\, which was designed to show the All Logins pane at the time, now just opens the Logins list without filling your password. Even though it rarely showed itself on my machine, there was something about the process that caused a field in Safari to lose the insertion point every time I viewed LaunchBar's clipboard history.

I disabled 1Password's Show extension popup shortcut, since this wasn't a feature I needed. (I could have just changed the keystroke.) Problem solved, right?

Well, I wanted to change the shortcut for LaunchBar back to cmd-opt-\, which is what I've been using for years. Unfortunately, I couldn't: my Mac just ignored me when I typed that keystroke. Same thing if I changed the keystroke in 1Password. What the heck?

I started digging into the Keyboard preferences pane to see if there was a keyboard shortcut there that was interfering and found that Universal Access had a Turn image smoothing on or off command with the cmd-opt-\ shortcut. Aha! This explained another nagging problem I had; sometimes when I used cmd-scroll to zoom the display the text would be smooth and sometimes the text would be jagged. Everytime I activated clipboard history I was toggling this feature. Another shortcut to change.

A utility like KeyCue can't show you shortcuts across applications and it won't show you non-menu bar shortcuts like those used by 1Password, so when you have conflicts like this you may have some difficulty tracking down the cause. Remember to check the Keyboard preference pane, though.

See also: How to configure LaunchBar for use with 1Password