docs » hs.application

Manipulate running applications

Submodules

API Overview

API Documentation

Variables

Functions

applicationForPID
Signature hs.application.applicationForPID(pid) -> hs.application object or nil
Type Function
Description

Returns the running app for the given pid, if it exists.

Parameters:

  • pid - a UNIX process id (i.e. a number)

Returns:

  • An hs.application object if one can be found, otherwise nil
applicationsForBundleID
Signature hs.application.applicationsForBundleID(bundleID) -> list of hs.application objects
Type Function
Description

Returns any running apps that have the given bundleID.

Parameters:

  • bundleID - An OSX application bundle indentifier

Returns:

  • A table of zero or more hs.application objects that match the given identifier
enableSpotlightForNameSearches
Signature hs.application.enableSpotlightForNameSearches([state]) -> boolean
Type Function
Description

Get or set whether Spotlight should be used to find alternate names for applications.

Parameters:

  • state - an optional boolean specifying whether or not Spotlight should be used to try and determine alternate application names for hs.application.find and similar functions.

Returns:

  • the current, possibly changed, state

Notes:

  • This setting is persistent across reloading and restarting Hammerspoon.
  • If this was set to true and you set it to true again, it will purge the alternate name map and rebuild it from scratch.
  • You can disable Spotlight alternate name mapping by setting this value to false or nil. If you set this to false, then the notifications indicating that more results might be possible if Spotlight is enabled will be suppressed.
frontmostApplication
Signature hs.application.frontmostApplication() -> hs.application object
Type Function
Description

Returns the application object for the frontmost (active) application. This is the application which currently receives input events.

Parameters:

  • None

Returns:

  • An hs.application object
infoForBundleID
Signature hs.application.infoForBundleID(bundleID) -> table or nil
Type Function
Description

Gets the metadata of an application from its bundle identifier

Parameters:

  • bundleID - A string containing an application bundle identifier (e.g. "com.apple.Safari")

Returns:

  • A table containing information about the application, or nil if the bundle identifier could not be located
infoForBundlePath
Signature hs.application.infoForBundlePath(bundlePath) -> table or nil
Type Function
Description

Gets the metadata of an application from its path on disk

Parameters:

  • bundlePath - A string containing the path to an application bundle (e.g. "/Applications/Safari.app")

Returns:

  • A table containing information about the application, or nil if the bundle could not be located
launchOrFocus
Signature hs.application.launchOrFocus(name) -> boolean
Type Function
Description

Launches the app with the given name, or activates it if it's already running

Parameters:

  • name - A string containing the name of the application to either launch or focus. This can also be the full path to an application (including the .app suffix) if you need to uniquely distinguish between applications in different locations that share the same name

Returns:

  • True if the application was either launched or focused, otherwise false (e.g. if the application doesn't exist)

Notes:

  • The name parameter should match the name of the application on disk, e.g. "IntelliJ IDEA", rather than "IntelliJ"
launchOrFocusByBundleID
Signature hs.application.launchOrFocusByBundleID(bundleID) -> boolean
Type Function
Description

Launches the app with the given bundle ID, or activates it if it's already running

Parameters:

  • bundleID - A string containing the bundle ID of the application to either launch or focus.

Returns:

  • True if the application was either launched or focused, otherwise false (e.g. if the application doesn't exist)

Notes:

  • Bundle identifiers typically take the form of com.company.ApplicationName
nameForBundleID
Signature hs.application.nameForBundleID(bundleID) -> string or nil
Type Function
Description

Gets the name of an application from its bundle identifier

Parameters:

  • bundleID - A string containing an application bundle identifier (e.g. "com.apple.Safari")

Returns:

  • A string containing the application name, or nil if the bundle identifier could not be located
pathForBundleID
Signature hs.application.pathForBundleID(bundleID) -> string or nil
Type Function
Description

Gets the filesystem path of an application from its bundle identifier

Parameters:

  • bundleID - A string containing an application bundle identifier (e.g. "com.apple.Safari")

Returns:

  • A string containing the app bundle's filesystem path, or nil if the bundle identifier could not be located
runningApplications
Signature hs.application.runningApplications() -> list of hs.application objects
Type Function
Description

Returns all running apps.

Parameters:

  • None

Returns:

  • A table containing zero or more hs.application objects currently running on the system

Constructors

find
Signature hs.application.find(hint) -> hs.application object(s)
Type Constructor
Description

Finds running applications

Parameters:

  • hint - search criterion for the desired application(s); it can be:
    • a pid number as per hs.application:pid()
    • a bundle ID string as per hs.application:bundleID()
    • a string pattern that matches (via string.find) the application name as per hs.application:name() (for convenience, the matching will be done on lowercased strings)
    • a string pattern that matches (via string.find) the application's window title per hs.window:title() (for convenience, the matching will be done on lowercased strings)

Returns:

  • one or more hs.application objects for running applications that match the supplied search criterion, or nil if none found

Notes:

  • If multiple results are found, this function will return multiple values. See https://www.lua.org/pil/5.1.html for more information on how to work with this
  • for convenience you can call this as hs.application(hint)
  • use this function when you don't know the exact name of an application you're interested in, i.e. from the console: hs.application'term' --> hs.application: iTerm2 (0x61000025fb88) hs.application: Terminal (0x618000447588). But be careful when using it in your init.lua: terminal=hs.application'term' will assign either "Terminal" or "iTerm2" arbitrarily (or even, if neither are running, any other app with a window that happens to have "term" in its title); to make sure you get the right app in your scripts, use hs.application.get with the exact name: terminal=hs.application.get'Terminal' --> "Terminal" app, or nil if it's not running

Usage: -- by pid hs.application(42):name() --> Finder -- by bundle id hs.application'com.apple.Safari':name() --> Safari -- by name hs.application'chrome':name() --> Google Chrome -- by window title hs.application'bash':name() --> Terminal

get
Signature hs.application.get(hint) -> hs.application object
Type Constructor
Description

Gets a running application

Parameters:

  • hint - search criterion for the desired application; it can be:
    • a pid number as per hs.application:pid()
    • a bundle ID string as per hs.application:bundleID()
    • an application name string as per hs.application:name()

Returns:

  • an hs.application object for a running application that matches the supplied search criterion, or nil if not found

Notes:

  • see also hs.application.find
open
Signature hs.application.open(app[, wait, [waitForFirstWindow]]) -> hs.application object
Type Constructor
Description

Launches an application, or activates it if it's already running

Parameters:

  • app - a string describing the application to open; it can be:
    • the application's name as per hs.application:name()
    • the full path to an application on disk (including the .app suffix)
    • the application's bundle ID as per hs.application:bundleID()
  • wait - (optional) the maximum number of seconds to wait for the app to be launched, if not already running; if omitted, defaults to 0; if the app takes longer than this to launch, this function will return nil, but the app will still launch
  • waitForFirstWindow - (optional) if true, additionally wait until the app has spawned its first window (which usually takes a bit longer)

Returns:

  • the hs.application object for the launched or activated application; nil if not found

Notes:

  • the wait parameter will block all Hammerspoon activity in order to return the application object "synchronously"; only use it if you a) have no time-critical event processing happening elsewhere in your init.lua and b) need to act on the application object, or on its window(s), right away
  • when launching a "windowless" app (background daemon, menulet, etc.) make sure to omit waitForFirstWindow

Methods

activate
Signature hs.application:activate([allWindows]) -> bool
Type Method
Description

Tries to activate the app (make its key window focused) and returns whether it succeeded; if allWindows is true, all windows of the application are brought forward as well.

Parameters:

  • allWindows - If true, all windows of the application will be brought to the front. Otherwise, only the application's key window will. Defaults to false.

Returns:

  • A boolean value indicating whether or not the application could be activated
allWindows
Signature hs.application:allWindows() -> list of hs.window objects
Type Method
Description

Returns all open windows owned by the given app.

Parameters:

  • None

Returns:

  • A table of zero or more hs.window objects owned by the application

Notes:

  • This function can only return windows in the current Mission Control Space; if you need to address windows across different Spaces you can use the hs.window.filter module
    • if Displays have separate Spaces is on (in System Preferences>Mission Control) the current Space is defined as the union of all currently visible Spaces
    • minimized windows and hidden windows (i.e. belonging to hidden apps, e.g. via cmd-h) are always considered to be in the current Space
bundleID
Signature hs.application:bundleID() -> string
Type Method
Description

Returns the bundle identifier of the app.

Parameters:

  • None

Returns:

  • A string containing the bundle identifier of the application
findMenuItem
Signature hs.application:findMenuItem(menuItem[, isRegex]) -> table or nil
Type Method
Description

Searches the application for a menu item

Parameters:

  • menuItem - This can either be a string containing the text of a menu item (e.g. "Messages") or a table representing the hierarchical path of a menu item (e.g. {"File", "Share", "Messages"}). In the string case, all of the application's menus will be searched until a match is found (with no specified behaviour if multiple menu items exist with the same name). In the table case, the whole menu structure will not be searched, because a precise path has been specified.
  • isRegex - An optional boolean, defaulting to false, which is only used if menuItem is a string. If set to true, menuItem will be treated as a regular expression rather than a strict string to match against

Returns:

  • Returns nil if the menu item cannot be found. If it does exist, returns a table with two keys:
    • enabled - whether the menu item can be selected/ticked. This will always be false if the application is not currently focussed
    • ticked - whether the menu item is ticked or not (obviously this value is meaningless for menu items that can't be ticked)

Notes:

  • This can only search for menu items that don't have children - i.e. you can't search for the name of a submenu
findWindow
Signature hs.application:findWindow(titlePattern) -> hs.window object(s)
Type Method
Description

Finds windows from this application

Parameters:

  • titlePattern - a string pattern that matches (via string.find) the window title(s) as per hs.window:title() (for convenience, the matching will be done on lowercased strings)

Returns:

  • one or more hs.window objects belonging to this application that match the supplied search criterion, or nil if none found
focusedWindow
Signature hs.application:focusedWindow() -> hs.window object or nil
Type Method
Description

Returns the currently focused window of the application, or nil

Parameters:

  • None

Returns:

  • An hs.window object representing the window of the application that currently has focus, or nil if there are none
getMenuItems
Signature hs.application:getMenuItems([fn]) -> table or nil | hs.application object
Type Method
Description

Gets the menu structure of the application

Parameters:

  • fn - an optional callback function. If provided, the function will receive a single argument and return none.

Returns:

  • If no argument is provided, returns a table containing the menu structure of the application, or nil if an error occurred. If a callback function is provided, the callback function will receive this table (or nil) and this method will return the application object this method was invoked on.

Notes:

  • In some applications, this can take a little while to complete, because quite a large number of round trips are required to the source application, to get the information. When this method is invoked without a callback function, Hammerspoon will block while creating the menu structure table. When invoked with a callback function, the menu structure is built in a background thread.

  • The table is nested with the same structure as the menus of the application. Each item has several keys containing information about the menu item. Not all keys will appear for all items. The possible keys are:

    • AXTitle - A string containing the text of the menu item (entries which have no title are menu separators)
    • AXEnabled - A boolean, 1 if the menu item is clickable, 0 if not
    • AXRole - A string containing the role of the menu item - this will be either AXMenuBarItem for a top level menu, or AXMenuItem for an item in a menu
    • AXMenuItemMarkChar - A string containing the "mark" character for a menu item. This is for toggleable menu items and will usually be an empty string or a Unicode tick character (✓)
    • AXMenuItemCmdModifiers - A table containing string representations of the keyboard modifiers for the menu item's keyboard shortcut, or nil if no modifiers are present
    • AXMenuItemCmdChar - A string containing the key for the menu item's keyboard shortcut, or an empty string if no shortcut is present
    • AXMenuItemCmdGlyph - An integer, corresponding to one of the defined glyphs in hs.application.menuGlyphs if the keyboard shortcut is a special character usually represented by a pictorial representation (think arrow keys, return, etc), or an empty string if no glyph is used in presenting the keyboard shortcut.
  • Using hs.inspect() on these tables, while useful for exploration, can be extremely slow, taking several minutes to correctly render very complex menus
getWindow
Signature hs.application:getWindow(title) -> hs.window object
Type Method
Description

Gets a specific window from this application

Parameters:

  • title - the desired window's title string as per hs.window:title()

Returns:

  • the desired hs.window object belonging to this application, or nil if not found
hide
Signature hs.application:hide() -> boolean
Type Method
Description

Hides the app (and all its windows).

Parameters:

  • None

Returns:

  • A boolean indicating whether the application was successfully hidden
isFrontmost
Signature hs.application:isFrontmost() -> boolean
Type Method
Description

Returns whether the app is the frontmost (i.e. is the currently active application)

Parameters:

  • None

Returns:

  • True if the application is the frontmost application, otherwise false
isHidden
Signature hs.application:isHidden() -> boolean
Type Method
Description

Returns whether the app is currently hidden.

Parameters:

  • None

Returns:

  • A boolean indicating whether the application is hidden or not
isRunning
Signature hs.application:isRunning() -> boolean
Type Method
Description

Checks if the application is still running

Parameters:

  • None

Returns:

  • A boolean, true if the application is running, false if not

Notes:

  • If an application is terminated and re-launched, this method will still return false, as hs.application objects are tied to a specific instance of an application (i.e. its PID)
kill
Signature hs.application:kill()
Type Method
Description

Tries to terminate the app gracefully.

Parameters:

  • None

Returns:

  • None
kill9
Signature hs.application:kill9()
Type Method
Description

Tries to terminate the app forcefully.

Parameters:

  • None

Returns:

  • None
kind
Signature hs.application:kind() -> number
Type Method
Description

Identify the application's GUI state

Parameters:

  • None

Returns:

  • A number that is either 1 if the app is in the dock, 0 if it is not, or -1 if the application is prohibited from having GUI elements
mainWindow
Signature hs.application:mainWindow() -> hs.window object or nil
Type Method
Description

Returns the main window of the given app, or nil.

Parameters:

  • None

Returns:

  • An hs.window object representing the main window of the application, or nil if it has no windows
name
Signature hs.application:name()
Type Method
Description

Alias for hs.application:title()

path
Signature hs.application:path() -> string
Type Method
Description

Returns the filesystem path of the app.

Parameters:

  • None

Returns:

  • A string containing the filesystem path of the application or nil if the path could not be determined (e.g. if the application has terminated).
pid
Signature hs.application:pid() -> number
Type Method
Description

Returns the app's process identifier.

Parameters:

  • None

Returns:

  • The UNIX process identifier of the application (i.e. a number)
selectMenuItem
Signature hs.application:selectMenuItem(menuitem[, isRegex]) -> true or nil
Type Method
Description

Selects a menu item (i.e. simulates clicking on the menu item)

Parameters:

  • menuitem - The menu item to select, specified as either a string or a table. See the menuitem parameter of hs.application:findMenuItem() for more information.
  • isRegex - An optional boolean, defaulting to false, which is only used if menuItem is a string. If set to true, menuItem will be treated as a regular expression rather than a strict string to match against

Returns:

  • True if the menu item was found and selected, or nil if it wasn't (e.g. because the menu item couldn't be found)

Notes:

  • Depending on the type of menu item involved, this will either activate or tick/untick the menu item
title
Signature hs.application:title() -> string
Type Method
Description

Returns the localized name of the app (in UTF8).

Parameters:

  • None

Returns:

  • A string containing the name of the application
unhide
Signature hs.application:unhide() -> boolean
Type Method
Description

Unhides the app (and all its windows) if it's hidden.

Parameters:

  • None

Returns:

  • A boolean indicating whether the application was successfully unhidden
visibleWindows
Signature hs.application:visibleWindows() -> win[]
Type Method
Description

Returns only the app's windows that are visible.

Parameters:

  • None

Returns:

  • A table containing zero or more hs.window objects