Q&A September 2013

These questions were asked at the September meeting:

  • I’m trying to add a custom ringtone to my iPhone but it’s greyed out in iTunes, how do I do it?
  • How can I add a keyboard shortcut to an application menu item when there’s more than one menu item with that name?
    Q. I’m trying to add a custom ringtone to my iPhone but it’s greyed out in iTunes, how do I do it?

A. Click a song in your iTunes Library which you wish to convert to a Ringtone for use on your iPhone. Choose File>Get Info (Command and I) and select the “Options” Tab. You will see two boxes “Start Time” and “Stop Time”. Ringtones can’t be any longer than 30 seconds so in the “Stop Time”, change this to 0:30 and click “OK”. This will give you a 30 second clip from the start of the song. If however you would like a 30 second clip from later in the song, this can be achieved by adjusting both the “Start Time” and the “Stop Time”. This is very useful if there is a long intro until your favourite part of the song.

Now, select File>Create New Version>Create AAC Version (other format options will be displayed if you have selected other formats in Preferences such as MP3 etc.). This will essentially create a duplicate of the song and will only be 30 seconds in length. Drag this to the Desktop. It will probably have the File Extension “.m4a”. In order for it to be recognised in iTunes as a Ringtone, change the File Extension to “.m4r” and then either double click it or drag to iTunes for it to be added under “Tones”. This can then be synced to your iPhone. Don’t forget to correct the Start/Stop times of the original song file. “Start Time” can be set to 0 and the “Stop Time” box unticked.

Q. How can I add a keyboard shortcut to an application menu item when there’s more than one menu item with that name?

A. An example of this problem is adding a shortcut to the Center option of Align Objects on the Arrange menu in Pages. If you try to add a keyboard shortcut just by referencing the Center menu item name the shortcut is added to the Center option of Text on the Format menu instead.

To get over this issue add the keyboard shortcut as follows:

  1. Open the Keyboard preferences pane within System Preferences and choose the Keyboard Shortcuts tab.
  2. Click Application Shortcuts in the list and click the add (+) button to add a shortcut.
  3. In Application select the application you want to add the shortcut to, in this example, Pages.
  4. In Menu Title type the menu name, followed by the sub menu (if any) and then the name of the menu item separating each with “->” (that’s a dash followed by a greater than symbol) to give the full path to the menu item. In the case of the pages Align Objects/Center menu this would be “Arrange->Align Objects->Center”. It’s important that each name is typed exactly as it appears on the menu.
  5. Click in the Keyboard Shortcut field and type the key combination you want to use. I chose Option+Command+C.
    Your chosen Keyboard shortcut should now appear against the menu item.

This tip was tested on Mac OS 10.8 Mountain Lion. I understand in 10.7 (Lion) you need to use “>” as a separator instead of “->” and this trick is not supported in 10.6 and earlier.