Keyboard Maestro Blog Posts

October 27, 2017

Keyboard Maestro Global Macro Palette

In my first job out of college, I was using a Window's Terminal Emulator solution that allowed me to have floating button palette. Can't recall the name, but similar to PowerTerm . The buttons were configurable to type out anything I wanted. This made it easy to type out frequent commands.

Well you can pretty much achieve the exact same experience today with Keyboard Maestro. You can create a group that is only active for the application that you are using - in my case its iTerm2.

Keyboard Maestro Palet

Basic Configuration

Setup a New Group in Keyboard Maestro and call it 'iTerm' or whatever the name of the application that you want the button functionality to appear.

Make sure under 'Available in these Applications' that the application you want the pallet to appear in is selected.

Create a bunch of Type Macros of common tasks. Think of different queries that you run on the command line. Make sure to have a good Macro Name so you can identify the action.

Enable the action to be triggered by the Global Macro Pallet. What's nice is that you can have an icon in the palette which makes it easy to identify actions.

iterm Adwords Report2
Sample Entry

Super Productive

Having the floating pallet is great. It's nicely hidden away until I mouse over the floating icon. So the screen isn't cluttered and the pallet appears only when I need it.

My pallet is small - for now, but I suspect that I will add things as needed. Certainly a time saver.

The pallet is better for me than to have to remember the various text trigger actions. The action is just a point and click away!

September 29, 2017

Keyboard Maestro Date Formatting

Last week Keyboard Maestro was upgraded to version 8. It’s packed with a lot of features, and I thought it would be time to do a change up and switch from TextExpander 5.1.4 to Keyboard Maestro.

Note: I didn't upgrade to TextExpander 6 because I didn't like to have to pay for a yearly subscription for a Macintosh utility program.

I have been moving a lot of my TextExpander Snippets to Keyboard Maestro's Macros. It’s been a slow transition as it’s a bit hard to get used to Keyboard Maestro’s interface. It’s complicated for a reason - they're so much more you can do using Keyboard Maestro.

Date/Time Variable Reference Chart

Here’s a handy chart to convert Day/Time data from Text Expander to Keyboard Maestro. This is useful when converting your snippets to Keyboard Maestro and want to keep the same date format.

DateTimeChart_sm.jpg
Click on image for a larger version.

Date Time Display

This is a sample Macro that I have set up to display the current date time.

USA Date Format

I have three macros to easily display the current date in the following formats:

  • Standard US Date
  • European Date Format
  • ODBC Date Format (Database Format)

Try Out Keyboard Maestro

Try out Keyboard Maestro 8 as its more user-friendly. Watch the YouTube videos to get an idea on how best to use it. The forum is a great place to get ideas and tips from other users.

June 28, 2017

Evernote Helper

Have you ever worked on a document and then an idea came up for something completely unrelated to what your working on?

Ya, it happens to everyone.

The problem is if you completely stop what you're doing - you'll loose focus on the task at hand.

EverNote Helper (Menu Item) can be a real life saver. When you encounter a distraction thought, such as "I should really check out that Tom Cruise - Tom Gun Music Video" you can just make a quick note without closing the program you're in. This is possible because EverNote Helper is a Macintosh/Windows system-wide utility.

Evernote Helper Graphic

I have found that EverNote helper is good way to remember things when you don't want to interupt your current task.

Screen Capture

As an added bonus, you can take a quick screenshot with your quick note. You don't need to take a full-screen shot - you can just take a picture of a selected area of the screen or any window.

Audio Recordings

Macintosh users can add a voice recording but I don't see any use for that. At my office it's pretty quiet - I don't think I would ever use this.

Some real world examples

Don't think it's something you need to use? Check out some real world tasks that have happen to me:

  • Thought of a cool gift idea while browsing Amazon? Take a screen shot and make a note.
  • See a cool graphic design on social media that you would like to duplicate? Take a screenshot of it and comment on why you like it.
  • Need to bring some supplies to work tomorrow? Take a note.
  • Found a bug but don't have time to file a report? Take a screenshot and jot down some notes.
  • Wouldn't it be great if.. Take a quick note.
  • On a call, need to jot a phone number or address?
  • Discovered a cool Alexa saying? Take a note.

At first I thought having another menu item didn't make any sense. However, I discovered that it makes perfect sense for just a quick note.

Once you remember the keyboard commands you'll be using this feature all the time.

Evernote Menu Help
Quick Cheat Sheet Guide.

One last Thought

Think about it - when was the last time your desktop sticky note had a screenshot?

June 7, 2017

Emoji in Evernote

EverNote is a great tool to organize everyday notes. You can put notes in Notebooks and tag them so you can easily find them later.

Did you know that EverNote Supports Emoji icons? It's a cool way to highlight notes or notebooks. Check out this example of the Done and Food Notebooks.

Notebook Emoji

As you can see it's pretty easy to identify the use of those particular notebooks.

What are Emoji icons?

Emoji are a small digital image or icon used to express an idea, emotion, etc., in electronic communication.

Emoji in Evernote

You can use emoji within your documents. But did you know that you can use them in headers and in Notebook names?

This can make it easier for certain notes or notebooks to stand out. As in the above example, my 'Done' notebook is where I store completed Blog notes.

All Emoji are Not the Same

Androd Emoji and Apple Emoji are different, this is important to know if your using EverNote on different devices types.

Emoji

Also keep in mind that Apple and Android don't have the same Emoji library. When Android encounter an Emoji that is not in their library, you'll get a box to indicate an incomplete emoji, If you keep a single OS platform, then this isn't a problem.

Emoji Technique

Using Emoji is a good way to make ordinary notes stand out. This is a great idea for those reference notes that you may need to use all the time.

Just remember to not throw an Emoji on synced Notebooks. (i.e. Notebooks that are being used by IFTTT, such as Twitter and IOS Photos.) If you add an Emoji, you're essentially changing the name and that may cause the sync to fail.

December 17, 2016

TidBits #259

A "blast from the past," this is from TidBits #259 (January 17, 1995)

**Peter Lewis** comments regarding the heat-sensitive paper we mentioned in TidBITS-258_: Now what we really need is paper that changes colour when you run it through a laser printer, and then changes back after a few days. That way you could print out stuff, read it, and then reuse the paper the next week after the print had faded. Think of all the saved trees. Not to mention the fun you'd have using it for contracts.

In case your wondering, yes this is famous Peter Lewis - the author of Stairways Software's Keyboard Maestro!

I am surprised that Epson/HP hasn't come up with this yet. This would seem like a perfect product to be announces on April 1st.

July 29, 2016

Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad

Macintosh Keyboard

Apple currently manufactures two kinds of keyboards - a wireless version and a wired version. I have had the chance to use both for about a year and here's my thoughts on them.

Wireless Keyboard

I was very excited that Apple came out with a wireless version as it makes it easy to move the keyboard around. The wireless keyboard and mouse are a nice addition to the USB real estate. On my iMac, I only have 4 USB slots, so it's nice knowing that my mouse and keyboard isn't going to use up my USB slots.

The nice thing about the wireless keyboard is that it's very easy to move it out of the way when I am not using the computer. The bad part is that it needs a battery and about once a month I need to replace the battery. Not a big deal since I do keep a spare set of AA batteries so that I don't encounter any downtime.

Wired Keyboard

The wired version is very handy at work. I find that I use the 'Home' and 'End' buttons frequently in Chrome. They are great when navigating large web pages.

Recently I discovered that I could use Keyboard Mastro to assign actions to some of the F keys that I don't use in any of my applications. Keyboard Mastro also lets me assign actions to the numerical keys, which I don't use at all.

I am not concern about the USB slots at work since I don't really have any external devices.

Recommendation

I think the wired keyboard is the way to go. Using Keyboard Mastro, and some AppleScript knowledge, I can be much more productive with the Wired Keyboard.

Since I have a 10 slot USB hub at home, I am no longer worried about the keyboard using up a USB slot.

There's no problem with moving the keyboard around when I don't use it, the USB cable is long enough for me to move it out of the way for anything that I want.

I have pulled out my old Macally iceKey Slim USB Keyboard for a few times that I wanted to use the extended keyboard. As much as I like the Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad, I can't justify spending $49 when the Macally keyboard works perfectly fine.

February 26, 2016

How to Scan to Evernote on a Mac

If you do a search around the internet for instructions on scanning documents directly to Evernote on a Macintosh, you'll find that many are out of date. You may think it's no longer possible. Well it still is...and it's very easy to set up.

Evernote Scan

Here's my simple instructions on how to capture scan images and put them directly into Evernote using Image Capture version 6.7 (OS X El Capitan)

  • Open Image Capture
  • Click on the "Show Details" button on the bottom right window
  • On the pull down menu next to the "Scan To: text, Select "Other..."
  • Select the 'Applications' Folder and then find 'Evernote'
  • Click 'Open'
  • You'll see the EverNote now appears in the pull down menu

Scan file items will appear as individual notes in Evernote. Immediately after the scan, you will have an opportunity to make some notes. This is a good time to comment on why you scan the item.

Evernote recommends to use Color as the "Kind:" and to scan at 72 dpi resolution. (See the example screenshot)

If you have Evernote Premium, the text in the scan items will be searchable. This includes photos. This means if you have a photo with an inspirational quote, you can search for it.

Note: This is backward compatible, which means that if you upgrade to Premium today, anything that you already have in Evernote account will be searchable. Make sure to give Evernote some time to scan and index all your document and photos after you upgrade.

January 8, 2016

Skitch and Evernote

If your looking for a productive Macintosh screen capture tool, I highly recommend checking at Skitch by Evernote. This is a free tool that works very well with your existing Evernote account. You don't need Evernote to use Skitch, but they work so well together, why wouldn't you?

About Skitch

Use an existing image or capture a new one, then add shapes, write on it, draw on it, annotate it any way you like, and save it to your Evernote account so that it is available everywhere Evernote is.

About Evernote

Evernote is a notes application designed to help you stay organized that goes far beyond what you'd typically think of as a notebook. You can add text, images, audio, scanned documents, files, and more to your notebook, synchronize everything across all of your devices in Evernote's beautiful, free apps, and then quickly find anything with powerful search that can even recognize text inside your files and images.

Your Screen Capture on Steroids

The key thing to remember is you can "quickly find anything with powerful search." This means that when you use Skitch and save the screenshot in your Evernote account, you can search for text that is in your screen shot.

That's the power of Evernote and Skitch.

Skitch has all the image annotation that you come to expect from a screen capture tool. You can add arrows, Text, Shapes, Highlights, predefine stamps, Pixelate, and crop images. You can easily export the image out of Skitch so that you can add it to a Jira issue.

Skitch_sm.jpg
Click on image for a larger version.

The good thing about Skitch is that it will create a notebook to store all the images, so the screenshots won't clutter up your default Evernote notebook. In addition, you can manage the notebook how you want, so if you don't want the files, simply delete them. You can tag the notes so that you can find them even easier.

EverNoteAccount.jpg
I have plenty of space in my Upload Allowance.

Feature Requests

I would like to have the ability to record video as I can do with other applications, such as MonoSnap and Snap Z Pro X. Sometimes it's a lot easier to describe a bug when you see it in action.

Image/Shape Library - This would be a personal library of shapes and images that users could add to the screenshot. Knowing the image was issue happen in Firefox or Chrome could add a lot of value to the screen shot.