Keyboard Maestro is a super useful Mac app

Keyboard Maestro is one of the must-have, first installed apps on my Mac. Why? Because it does so much for me: little things, bigger things, things that I could do just as well all by myself or some other way, but they’d take longer and be annoying.

There’s one actually useful Facebook page I sometimes want to visit. To do that I click a button on the KM Global Palette that sits in the top left of my screen. That’s easy: it just opens a web page in my default browser.

Another button takes text I’ve copied to the Clipboard and uses that text to search That is especially handy when publishers use a service to hijack links in newsletters and send me to the Australian Amazon Store which I don’t want to use.

I have a couple of other similar buttons that open a daily set of web pages, plus a couple of documents, and two crosswords in Black Ink. I have a modified copy of that macro that I use on holidays when I prefer to omit a couple of the web pages and documents.

Every Sunday at 3.30 pm KM automatically opens a specific web page and Numbers document ready for me to record rainfall information and how much water is in our rainwater tank. It flashes up an alert on my screen to remind me to do the measurement.

A button on the KM palette allows me to enter the amount of rainfall in mm and converts it to litres of water added to the tank. The spreadsheet itself could do that conversion, but for various reasons I don’t always enter the exact amount the KM calculation returns to me. I prefer to be in control.

The Clipboard is an invisible kind of thing on the Mac. I have buttons on my Palette to display the Clipboard, clear the Clipboard, add text to the Clipboard, do maths on copied equations, search and replace the Clipboard, get the title and URL of a web page and put them on the Clipboard as a Markdown link. There’s so much you can do with the Clipboard in KM.

Oh, and I’ve set these up to be triggered by a button on a palette but actions can be triggered other ways too, such as with a hot key, or if something happens like plugging in a USB device, or at a specified time.

I’m fussy about how my screen looks. A keyboard command tells KM to put the front window in Safari in a particular location and to hide all other apps.

When I launch my jigsaw app KM automatically makes my screen brighter and hides the KM palette. When the jigsaw app quits, KM automatically dims the screen back to how it was before and puts that palette back.

I watch certain real estate listings and save the ad along with all the photos of the property. Saving those photos is mega tedious: Command Click, choose Save Image As, wait, click OK. That’s why KM does that for me. I haven’t figured out how to make KM move to the next image in the carousel so I do that myself and then press the trigger key to have KM do the next several steps. That’s a big saving of effort when there are 24 photos on a listing!

In MarsEdit I sometimes want to grab the link for a post I’ve published. ME itself gives me that raw link very easily, but I use KM to allow me to choose how I want the link: as a MD link, an HTML link, a plain text title and link…

Type some text into somewhere via a KM trigger — handy on those web pages that prevent you from pasting.

Type a long command into Terminal — I need to do this occasionally when I change Regions for watching TV.

Use Command 3 to attach items to a Mail message. I’m so used to using Command 3 in MarsEdit to add photos that I keep trying to add attachments that way in Mail. Now that works.

Eject my external backup drive and close the Time Machine window.

The thing is, Keyboard Maestro can do all sorts of amazing things and I don’t use it anywhere near its full potential. But every time I use one of those key commands or click a button on a palette it saves me a few seconds, some aggravation or sometimes some memory failures.

I put the command to Erase Junk in Mail on a button as sometimes my finger slips on the menu command and I erase Trash by mistake. KM doesn’t make such silly mistakes.

Above is just a sampling of my KM macros. It can remove tedium, add reliability, do tasks that would otherwise take numerous keystrokes. It allows you to set up palettes of buttons (like toolbars) so you can click to do something an app’s Toolbar might not include.

KM has a free trial and a demo video that provides a quick introductory overview. If you’re smart and are a member of TidBITS you’ll get a 20% discount on the KM price. TidBITS has offered thoughtful, detailed coverage of everything Apple for 32 years and is the goto place for definitive accurate and reliable information on things Apple.

Note: thanks to @Pratik who asked how I use Keyboard Maestro.

Miraz Jordan @Miraz