keyboard maestro

Keyboard Maestro Update

Last month saw the release of the latest major update to Keyboard Maestro. Version 9 adds several new features, including multiple editor menus, a method for extracting text from images, and dark mode. That’s just the start. They also added support for the Elgato Stream Deck, which is pretty fun. I’m going to be doing a free update to the Keyboard Maestro Field Guide adding videos on the version 9 features just as soon as I get done shipping the new Shortcuts Field Guide, which is imminent.

Keyboard Maestro Script for Automating Contact Creation with Cardhop

Here’s a small Keyboard Maestro script that I use just about every day to create contacts on my Mac with Cardhop. The problem this is designed to solve is Basecamp project email addresses. Every new Basecamp project I create has a specialized (and nearly unreadable) email address attached. Any email I copy or forward to that address gets added to the project. Handy. Right?

But the process of creating a new contact card for each project is tedious, particularly with the Apple Contacts app that requires much clicking and typing. So I made this script that queries me for the project name and then grabs the magic email address from my clipboard to create a contact in the Basecamp Projects group in my contacts database. Cardhop’s quick entry system makes all the difference.

You can download the script here:

KM Script Download

And see the script in action in the below video. Note there is a discount code for the Keyboard Maestro Field Guide at the end of the video.

Also, here’s a screenshot of the script.

Last Call for Introductory Pricing on Keyboard Maestro Field Guide

The response thus far has been pretty amazing for the Keyboard Maestro Field Guide. Thanks to everyone that purchased it. I really enjoyed making it and I’m happy it is resonating. I’m already hearing about some cool automations that customers have created and incorporated into their daily lives.

If you are thinking about buying the Keyboard Maestro Field Guide, now’s the time. The introductory price ends this weekend.

Window Management with Keyboard Maestro and Screencast

A few weeks ago, I posted about my new two-screen setup. I explained that I have started using the second monitor as a "reference" monitor to the right of my iMac screen. I’ve received emails and questions in the forums about how I manage windows between the screens.

I explained in the post that I do use Apple's Spaces feature—although to a much lesser extent—with the new two-screen setup. What I didn't explain, however, is how I like to manage windows using keyboard shortcuts and our old friend Keyboard Maestro.


First, a Word about Window Managers

There are a lot of applications for the Mac that will manage windows for you. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and range from simple to complex. You can also manage windows with an AppleScript, if that's your thing. If I had to pick one window manager, it would be Moom. I've used it for years, and I still have it installed despite the Keyboard Maestro shenanigans listed below.


Keyboard Maestro FTW

I think Keyboard Maestro is an ideal tool for window management for several reasons.

First, it is hyper-customizable without being hyper-difficult. 

The second reason for using Keyboard Maestro is that it does so much more. I am a big fan of "stacked" automation. This is the idea that you take two relatively simple automation tasks that you often perform in order and stack them together in the same script. For example, when I want to plan a day, I often open up OmniFocus and my calendar, and I arrange those two applications in a certain way that makes it easy to see data in both. Moreover, in OmniFocus I will open particular tabs so that I can click through them quickly. I demonstrate this below. 

These are all simple automation steps, but when strung together (or stacked), they become a powerful tool to manage my day. Using Keyboard Maestro for window management, not only can I make simple scripts to move the current window to the left side of the screen, but I can also stack more complicated scripts that create a working space based on the task at hand. Since I need Keyboard Maestro to do that second part, it might as well do the first part as well.


And Now, a Screencast

So now it's time to dive into the technical details of how I do all of this. For that, I think a screencast is a lot easier than a bunch of words. Here you go.


The YouTube Plug

You may note with the above screencast that I’m distributing it through YouTube. I have finally set up a YouTube channel for MacSparky, and I'm going to be adding more content going forward. For that reason, I respectfully ask that you subscribe and push whatever other buttons you're supposed to push to make me feel special.


Finally, Some Screenshots


Grabbing a Safari Link with Keyboard Maestro

Keyboard Maestro is a really powerful tool for automating work on your Mac. Here's a simple Keyboard Maestro script I use every day. When you write for the Internet, you often include links. This little script, upon me activating the magic keyboard combination, jumps to Safari, selects the URL (⌘L) then copies the link (⌘C), then jumps back the app from which I triggered the script and pastes the link at the current cursor location (⌘V). I've been doing this so long that it feels second nature. Below is a screenshot of the script along with a short video of the script in action. Enjoy.

Keyboard Maestro Version 6


 Keyboard Maestro is one of my favorite Mac utilities. They’ve recently released version 6 and it is a really great update. If you’re unaware of this application, you need to check it out. It lets you automate nearly anything on your Mac. The new version includes some great nerdy fodder. For instance, you can now trigger a macro when you plug in a USB device. Do you have a ScanSnap scanner and want the ScanSnap software to load when you plug it in? Keyboard Maestro can make that happen. The new version also can run macros when your Mac connects to a new network. For instance, if you want certain application to run when you arrive at work, Keyboard Maestro can do that. I also dig the new icon.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. We are going to do an updated Mac Power Users show on this application. (We last covered it in 2011.) If you want to get ahead of the curve, check it out now. If you bought version 5 from the Mac App Store (like me), you need to transfer your license and buy an upgrade from the developer directly. There is no way this app could comply with Apple’s sandboxing rules.