Common Keyboard Shortcuts

Adds single-key shortcuts for commonly-used tags (roads, buildings, huts, landuse).

Examples of workflows after the shortcuts have been added.

  • Draw non-rectangular buildings, press 'q' to square the corners, press 'd' to set 'building=yes'.
  • Draw two points defining the diameter of a round hut, press Shift-'o' to create the circle, press 'h' to set 'building=hut'.
  • Draw a road, press 't' to set 'highway=residential'.
  • Draw a polygon around a small settlement, press 'k' to set 'landuse=residential'

All of the most common road types* are available in this preset, though major roads are usually already drawn. Any of them can be added to the Toolbar, but unclassified, residential, track, service and path are probably the most useful to hotkey, especially for HOT mapping.

(* e.g. highway types listed here:

Please send questions or suggestions to Chase Stephens at


Note: All three of the following steps need to be performed for single-key shortcuts to work.

  1. Adding the presets to the JOSM Menu
  • In JOSM Preferences, open the Map Settings-Tagging Presets dialog. (Currently third icon from the top in the left column, then the third tab.)
  • Find 'Common Keyboard Shortcuts' in the Available Presets list on the left. Click '>' to add it to the 'Active presets' list.
  • Press OK
  1. Adding the presets to the JOSM Toolbar
  • In JOSM-Preferences, open the Toolbar-Preferences dialog. (Currently fifth icon from the top in the left column).
  • In the Available pane, open the Presets folder, select a preset, and click the ‘<‘ button to add it to the toolbar. Suggested presets to add are: Residential, Service, Unclassified, Track, Tertiary, Path, Building, Hut, and Residential Area.
  • The presets should now be visible in the toolbar.
  1. Assigning shortcut keys to the presets
  • In JOSM-Preferences, open the Keyboard Shortcuts dialog. (Currently seventh icon from the top in the left column).
  • Sort the Actions alphabetically, by clicking on the 'Actions' column title.
  • Assign an unused key to each desired preset using the next steps. Suggested keys are: Residential=’T’, Service=‘Y’, Track=‘U’, Building='D', Hut='H', Unclassified (or Residential Area)='K'.
  • Find the preset in the Actions list. For example, 'Toolbar: Residential' refers to the 'Residential' preset.
  • Deselect both the "Use Default" and "disable" checkboxes. Set the shortcut key in the dropdown menu. Press OK. Restart JOSM when prompted.
  • You should now be able to use the shortcut keys to tag objects that have been selected.

The preset file

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<presets xmlns=""
  author="Chase Stephens"
  shortdescription="Common Keyboard Shortcuts"
  description="Allows easy tagging using keyboard shortcuts for very common tags.">
  <item name="Motorway" type="way,closedway">
    <key key="highway" value="motorway" />
  <item name="Primary" type="way,closedway">
    <key key="highway" value="primary" />
  <item name="Trunk" type="way,closedway">
    <key key="highway" value="trunk" />
  <item name="Secondary" type="way,closedway">
    <key key="highway" value="secondary" />
  <item name="Tertiary" type="way,closedway">
    <key key="highway" value="tertiary" />
  <item name="Residential" type="way,closedway">
    <key key="highway" value="residential" />
  <item name="Service" type="way,closedway">
    <key key="highway" value="service" />
  <item name="Unclassified" type="way,closedway">
    <key key="highway" value="unclassified" />
  <item name="Track" type="way,closedway">
    <key key="highway" value="track" />
  <item name="Path" type="way,closedway">
    <key key="highway" value="path" />
  <item name="Building" type="closedway">
    <key key="building" value="yes" />
  <item name="Hut" type="closedway">
    <key key="building" value="hut" />
  <item name="Residential Area" type="closedway">
    <key key="landuse" value="residential" />


Last modified 3 years ago Last modified on 2020-09-23T21:12:16+02:00
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