Keyboard Maestro blog postings

Keyboard Maestro Postings

Earliest: July 29, 2016Latest: August 28, 2018Total: 31

June 19, 2018

Quick Way to Add Actions in Keyboard Maestro

Quickest way to add an action to a Keyboard Maestro Macro is to use Control - Command A

This will bring up a Spotlight like search:

Add KM Action

Type in a word that best describes the action you are looking to add - For example, type 'Chrome' if your looking for action that's around Google Chrome.

After using this for a while, you'll see how this is much better than using the 'Add Action' button in the Macro.

Remember to add an action to a Macro type in: Control Command A.

June 12, 2018

Smart Groups in Keyboard Maestro

Smart Groups in Keyboard Maestro is a way to filter macros based on any search criteria. This works very similar to how Smart Folders work in Finder. Anything you search for can be a smart group.

Legacy Macro Smart Group

Wouldn't it be great to track macros that you're not using? Perhaps these macros are from an old project? It would be handy to know which macros that you're not using to declutter your Keyboard Maestro library.

There's a Smart Group query for that -it's easy to find active Macros that you haven't used in a while. Here's a query that I have set up:

nonuse Macros

Search Query: e: -use:5w

This query basically says, "Show me all active macros that have not been executed in the past 5 weeks.

Here's an alternative version:

Search Query: e: -use:365d

This query basically says, "Show me all active macros that have not been executed in the past year.

Some Other Smart Group Ideas

Here are some other ideas for Smart Groups for Keyboard Maestro:

  • Search Query: %Variable%release - Show macros that are using a certain variable
  • Search Query: curl - Show macros that are using curl
  • Search Query: ?php - Show macros that have PHP scripts enabled

Search Query Help

You can find a list of all the queries on the Keyboard Maestro Help page. There's a lot of cool search queries commands available.

Smart Groups are Great

Keyboard Maestro Smart Groups are a great way to find similar macros. This functionality comes in handy when you need to update a bunch of macros - for example: if you updated a common library file.

June 5, 2018

Keyboard Maestro Macro Library

The Keyboard Maestro Macro library is a good Macro Library where you can some good ideas on Macros to create. Before you spend any time creating a Macro, it's worth looking to see if someone already created one.

Keyboard Macro Library

Type in Command-2 to view the Macro Library. There is a search box on the bottom if you are looking for a certain functionality. Just make sure that "All Entries" category is selected.

Keyboard Macro Library

Online Help

In the Keyboard Maestro forum, you can find additional Macros that people have created. This is a great way to learn about the application and get some ideas on how to use Keyboard Maestro.

There are two Libraries to pick from:

May 29, 2018

Milliseconds to Seconds Converter

This is a quick Macro that will activate when I need to convert the number on the clipboard (Milliseconds) to seconds.

In Action...

I simply select the value, then type in my trigger action keys: .mill then the value gets typed in.

So 23893 will become 0:24 - you can configure this so that it can output whatever format works for you.

Keyboard Maestro Script


The Javascript that I used for the calculations:

var app = Application.currentApplication()
app.includeStandardAdditions = true
var kmInst = app.systemAttribute("KMINSTANCE");
var kmeApp = Application("Keyboard Maestro Engine")
var myLocalVar = kmeApp.getvariable("Local__MyVar",  {instance: kmInst});
kmeApp.setvariable("Local__FromJXA", {instance: kmInst, to: "Set in JXA Script"})
function millisToMinutesAndSeconds(millis) {
  var minutes = Math.floor(millis / 60000);
  var seconds = ((millis % 60000) / 1000).toFixed(0);
  return minutes + ":" + (seconds < 10 ? '0' : '') + seconds;
millisToMinutesAndSeconds(myLocalVar); // "4:59"

May 22, 2018

Random Keyword

Having a random word comes in handy when you need a word but want to be creative and something more than just 'abc? or ?xyz?.

Random Keyword in Keyboard Maestro

Here?s the random keyword macro that I have setup in Keyboard Maestro.

Click on image for the full view of the macro.

$words_file = fopen("/usr/share/dict/words","r");
$words_length = filesize("/usr/share/dict/words");

function random_word() {
  global $words_file, $words_length;
  $rand_offset = rand(0,$words_length - $words_length % 1024);
  fseek($words_file, $rand_offset - $rand_offset % 1024, SEEK_SET);
  $words = explode("n", fread($words_file, 1024));
  $rand_word = utf8_decode($words[rand(1, count($words) - 1)]);
  $description = str_replace("'s", "", trim($rand_word));
  return trim(ucfirst($description));

echo random_word();

There are many ways to generate a random keyword from the Apple System dictionary file. Using the above PHP method has worked for me. In the above example, I remove any 's in any keywords because they were breaking some testing that I was doing. In addition, the keyword isn't returning any breaking space and the first letter will always be upper case.

A couple of Problems with a Random Keyword

The only problem with this is that the keyword is always random. I have no idea the word is that I used. Well, what if I wanted to remember the last random keyword that I used? (Filename or something.)

That's why Keyboard Maestro comes in handy! In the above example, I have the random keyword set to a variable before it was displayed.

Getting the Last Random Keyword

Here?s a Keyboard Maestro's Macro that I have set up to get the last used random keyword:

Repeat Word Y Y

The Other "Problem"

Every now and again the random keyword generator will echo an inappropriate keyword. The best way around this is to use a different dictionary file.

Easy Way to get a Random Keyword

Whenever I need a random keyword, I type in xx. When I want to recall the last random word generated, I type in yy.These are quick and easy strings that I don't have to worry about accidentally typing.

May 15, 2018

Simple Date Calculation

At my company we do weekly software releases. It's important for everyone to know the date of the next release and Code Freeze.

Here's my simple Keyboard Maestro macro on when the next release will be - we do releases on Thursdays.

Next Release

This is the Unix command that I used: date -v +Thur "+%B %d, %Y"

Two Weeks From Now

I have another macro that shows the release in two week: date -v+2w -vThur "+%B %d, %Y"

Code Freeze Info

Code Freeze is important to know in any release planning. Even though our code freeze hasn't changed much in four years - I still get asked when is code freeze.

That's why I have this macro set up. With it, I can instantly tell anyone how many hours until the next code freeze - without interrupting my current train of thought.

This macro is perfect for slack or as a response to an email inquiry.

I type in...
Keyboard Maestro Response is : The next Code Freeze is at xxx that's xxx hours from now.

Here's the action part of the Macro:

Release Info

I used PHP in this example because it's a lot easier to do the calculation than to have multiple actions. One improvement that I could do would be to use the data from the "Next Release" macro to populate the release date.

Engineering and Product are impressed by how quickly I answer their question. It's as if I am sitting at my computer waiting to give them the answer.

You can see how nice it is to use Keyboard Maestro for repetitive tasks - it's even better when calculations are involved.

May 8, 2018

Slack Based Greeting

Frequently I talk to offshore team members in Slack. The problem that I encounter is that I don't know the time of day its at their location - is it Morning, Afternoon or Night time? So should I say good morning or good evening?

I have a Keyboard Maestro and PHP it makes it real easy to say the proper introduction regardless of where they are in the world.

Real World Example

There is a macro in my library for 'ggi' and this will automatically display the correct greetings when I am talking to my India team in chat. So if it's night time, it would say 'Good Evening' and if it's before 6 pm their time, 'Good Afternoon.' I have similar macros for ggsfo, ggj and ggk .

Now I will always say the correct greetings, I just need to remember where they are located.

This is the PHP code that I use to get that done:
function greeting(){
    $timeOfDay = date('H');
    if($timeOfDay > '17'){
        return 'Good evening. ';
    } else if ($timeOfDay > '12'){
        return 'Good afternoon. ';
    } else {
        return 'Good morning. ';
echo greeting();

You can see the thing that makes the difference is the PHP's date_default_timezone_set function.

This is what the Macro looks like in Keyboard Maestro, your best to use whatever string command works best for you:

India Time Zone

May 1, 2018

Adding Keyboard Short to hide Firefox Bookmark Bar

Firefox doesn't provide a Keyboard Shortcut for Hiding/Unhiding the Bookmark Menu. This is a problem when you want to take a screenshot of the active Firefox window and want to hide the bookmark bar since it may contain information unrelated to the screenshot.

With Keyboard Maestro, you can easily setup a keyboard shortcut by using the "Select or Show a Menu Item" action command. This is a little known Macro action that gives users a lot of flexibility.

Steps to Add a Hot Key to Firefox

To get started, you should create a new Firefox folder to execute macros only when Firefox is the frontmost application. This way you won't trigger the action when running the same command in another application.

Application-Specific Group

  • Create a new Group and Call it Firefox.
  • Make the group available for only Firefox Application.

Fire Fox Group
This is what the Firefox Group should look like. Most people will only have one Firef

New Macro

Simple steps to create the actual Macro:

  • Create a new Macro in the Firefox Group
  • Select the "Select or Show a Menu Item" Action.
  • In the field to right of 'Menu Title' type: View
  • Click on the green '+' to create a Submenu field
  • In the field to right of ' Submenu' type: Toolbars
  • In the field to right of 'Menu Item' type: Bookmark Toolbar

Fire Fox Bookmarkbar
This is what the Keyboard Macro should look like.

What Happens Next

Now you can type in Shift-Command-B to hide the Bookmark Menu in Chrome and Firefox. This is certainly easy to remember and now you don't have to navigate through menus to hide it.

Once you know how to do this, it opens the door to add additional keyboard shortcuts to any other feature within Firefox or other applications.

March 20, 2018

Evernote Linking

Having a homepage-type note to other notes is a good way to keep your note collection organized.

It better to have a single note in the Evernote "shortcut" section than a bunch of notes which can make your notebook appear unstructured.

For example, I have a personal Home Appliances note that has links to all my home appliances manuals and past work orders. I do this so I am not having to spend much time sorting through search results.

When I am interested in my furnace manual, I go to the homepage note and then scroll to the furnace info. It's quick and easy. In addition, I know the document will be accurate. In effect, it saves me time.

In addition, I can keep general information such as the filter size or a link to the person who last repaired it.

Evernote does provide a shortcut to linking the Note that you have opened:

Evernote Keyboard Link

The problem is that it only generates the raw HTML. Which is good for most situations.

If you're on a Macintosh, and have Keyboard Maestro, this is a cool way to generate a more useful link:

Simple in-note linking

The following Keyboard Maestro Macro will generate a useful link to an Evernote note. This is useful if you want to quickly create add a link from another note. For example, if you're building a reference page that will be used as a shortcut.

AppleScript to Get the Evernote Link

First I need to get the current Evernote link. I am using a type string, but you can easily set this to be a keyboard shortcut.

Evernote Keyboard Maestro

Download part of the AppleScript Code from Schrader GIT project.

Convert the HTML Link to Rich-Text Format

Once I have the URL, I convert it to Rich text so that I can just paste the clipboard text:

Converto Rich Text
This will create a link with the Note Title as the link object.

To Dos

There are a couple of clean-up items that need to be done:

  • Whenever I paste the text it always appears as Times 10-point. I need to change this to be Helvetica 14. (The extra parameters in textutil isn't really working.)
  • The AppleScript could be a lot cleaner. I am sure there's a better way to do this task. I don't see any performance issues, so there's no immediate next to fix this up.
  • I should have another Macro to do the exact same task for the public version of the note.

February 6, 2018

Keyboard Maestro Control

If your using Keyboard Maestro, you should be aware of the the companion iOS App - Keyboard Maestro Control. The app gives you the ability to execute any Keyboard Maestro macro - basically another point of macro execution.

IOS Description

Keyboard Maestro Control is the iOS adjunct to Keyboard Maestro. It allows you to log in to Keyboard Maestro and execute macros from your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

You need to ensure that the Keyboard Maestro Web Server is running and configured with a username and password.

Keyboard Promo2018

Ten things I learned

  • There are 11 Macros positions available on the screen - which gives you the ability to have 11 macros visible at any given time.
  • The Macro icon isn't displayed in the App.
  • You can use Emoji to make the line item a bit more visible. Unfortunately, this means you're limited to the icon selection.
  • iOS last update was on July 14, 2014! Still works fine 3.5 years later.
  • The iPhone landscape feature works weirdly and changing the phone from landscape to vertical can cause the App to display 1/2 screen. I fix this by quoting out of the App and restarting. I think this is related to the App being out-of-date by several iOS versions.
  • While you can use any group, after playing with the App, I found having a single group an easy way to manage which macros I want to execute.
  • Most commands I have are easily defined as a typed command, it was difficult to figure out which commands to use in the iOS.
  • The Keyboard Maestro Control app uses the built-in web browser functionality, so it's important to select non-destructive commands.
  • There is no sleep feature, as there is in Quadro, so the screen stays open for a while.
  • Other than connecting to a Keyboard Maestro server, there are no additional settings or configurations.

At the End of the Day..

Dispite the App being out of date, the app still works fine on iOS 11.2.5 (15D60). My complaints are just basic cosmetic changes that would make the application even better.

I would encourage anyone that uses Keyboard Maestro a lot to give it a try. The toughest part is figuring which macros you would want in the app.