I’ve had a lot of questions about the relationship between Keyboard Maestro and Shortcuts for Mac. Specifically, is Shortcuts for Mac going to replace Keyboard Maestro? In a word, no.
I’ve spent a lot of time working with Shortcuts for Mac. It’s had a rocky start, but the Shortcuts team has the right idea for Shortcuts for Mac, and they are increasingly overcoming the significant technical changes between the iPhone/iPad and the Mac. I fully expect they will get things sorted out over time, and in the end, we’ll have a stable version of Shortcuts for the Mac to go along with an already stable version of Keyboard Maestro.
Regardless, the two tools will remain very different.
If you’ve ever used Shortcuts on your iPhone or iPad, you get essentially the same toolset on the Mac with Shortcuts for the Mac. Some of the better uses of Shortcuts are for working with personal data like contacts and calendar entries. Those things are possible with Keyboard Maestro but in ways that are not nearly as user-friendly as Shortcuts. For example, I usually write AppleScripts when working with contacts in Keyboard Maestro. It can work, but it takes a lot of work.
Another thing Shortcuts is good for is inter-app automation, provided those apps have Shortcuts support. There is no faster way to create simple automations between applications than Shortcuts when you have robust built-in support in the participating apps.
All that said, Keyboard Maestro is significantly more powerful. With Keyboard Maestro, you can create conflict palettes, script menu bar selections, and do so much more that is not and never will be possible with Shortcuts. One of my Keyboard Maestro scripts looks at the website and pushes a button on the screen, no matter where it is. Don’t hold your breath for getting that feature in Shortcuts … ever.
I’ve come around to thinking a lot lately about the idea of Project Scope with regard to Apple products and software. From the outside, things are always a bit murky, but if you pay attention, you can see what they are aiming for with most of the things they make. To me, the Scope of Shortcuts for Mac is to help users create simple automations to help them be more productive with their Macs. Apple is aiming at things like opening a window or creating a calendar event. Shortcuts for Mac is not aimed at the Keyboard Maestro feature set. That is a power user thing that they’re happy to leave in the hands of Keyboard Maestro. Think of Keyboard Maestro and Shortcuts for Mac more like complementary tools. A mallet is nice. A chisel is nice. But it is all the better having both.