Keyboard Maestro Blog Posts
|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.
- Create a new Group and Call it Firefox.
- Make the group available for only Firefox Application.
This is what the Firefox Group should look like. Most people will only have one Firef
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
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.
|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.
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.
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.
|January 30, 2018|
Add Hyperlink to Clipboard Content
Wouldn't it be great if there was a way to automatically add hyperlinks to common text? Especially when sending emails? For example, if you reference Jira tickets in your email, wouldn't it be nice that they automatically had Hyperlinks?
You can do this using a Keyboard Maestro Macro in a four simple actions.
Creating Macro to Add Hyperlink to Text
To get this done, I am going to use the Unix textutil command. This will help convert an HTML file to Rich Text Format, which will allow the links to show in Mail, Pages, Microsoft Word, or any application supporting RTF format.
The goal of this Macro is to take the content of the clipboard, add hyperlinks, convert to rich text and then put the final product back on the clipboard ready to paste any place. Feel free to customize this to your own needs!
In Atlassian Jira, the Software Project name is the first three letters. If your linking up to Jira make sure to match the project name and the company name.
Cool Features to Think About
The nice thing about Keyboard Maestro is that you can add as many Regular Expressions as you want, such as a link to the company website where ever the company name appears.
Known Issues with this Method
Since this is using a temporary file, the data is still stored on the computer after the action is completed. So anyone with computer access can read the contents of the temp file (Simply add a cleanup step at the end to fix this)
When pasting rich text in Mail the text appears to be smaller, that is because the font changes from Helvetica 12 to Times 12.
|January 23, 2018|
Clipboard History Switcher
Keyboard Maestro and LaunchBar both offer the ability to retrieve previous Clipboard content. Once you enable this feature, you'll find it very useful to get back old clipboard content.
The Clipboard History feature is a pretty powerful function in both applications. Here's a general overview of the differences between the two.
Description from Stairways Software:
Clipboard History Switcher saves a copy of each clipboard every time you copy something. You can then paste any previous system clipboard by triggering the Clipboard History Switcher macro. Clipboard History Switcher will present you with a window allowing you to select any of the past clipboards and paste them.
Description from LaunchBar:
LaunchBar's Clipboard History preserves the data of your most recent Copy operations, allowing you to use the copied objects again later.
You can have both LaunchBar and Keyboard Maestro Clipboard History running at the same time - you just need to use different Keyboard shortcuts.
Here's a snapshot of the two windows side-by-side. See how helpful Keyboard Maestro version is with images in the clipboard:
Five Key Differences between the Two Applications
- Content Display - Keyboard Maestro gives you a nice preview of any images in the clipboard, whereas LaunchBar only shows an image icon, the dimensions and the application where the image was the clip from.
- Combine Content Functionality - LaunchBar has a Double-Copy functionality that combines the current copy content with the previous copied content.
- Favorite Clips - In Keyboard Maestro, You can save clip content as a favorite so it doesn't disappear from the Switcher.
- Search Capabilities - Keyboard Maestro allows you to search the Clipboard Switcher making it easy to find previously copied text.
- Display Limits - Keyboard Maestro last two hundred times you have copied something to the System Clipboard. With LaunchBar you can set the duration to be 10, 20, 30, 40, 100 items or by number of days... 1,2, or 3 day or a week.
|January 16, 2018|
Computer External IP Address
Using Keyboard Maestro and AppleScript it's really easy to quickly display the computer's external IP address. This is similar to functionality that I created using TextExpander.
Using Keyboard Maestro, users have a lot more control. In this updated version of the script, I can display the IP address to the screen in large letters, and add it to the clipboard - ready to paste it where ever needed.
You can modify this any way you want to fit your needs.
Execute the Apple Script
The first step is to execute the AppleScript and set the results to a variable:
Credit to www.applehelpwriter.com*
set myTemp to do shell script "mktemp -t txt"*
do shell script "curl -s http://checkip.dyndns.org &> " & myTemp & " &2> /dev/null"*
# CHANGE THE DELAY HERE... *
set extIP to do shell script "sed 's/[a-zA-Z/<> :]//g' " & myTemp
Display the Results to Screen
Use Keyboard Maestro's large text display and show the IP address on the screen:
Add to Clipboard
Add the IP address to the clipboard in case I need to paste the information into a working document.
|January 9, 2018|
Evernote Cleanup Macro
I do a lot of copy/paste between Evernote and HTML. Since Evernote has RichText features, I decided to create a Keyboard Maestro Macro to clean up the clipboard before pasting into BBEdit, or another text editor.
Evernote Cleanup Macro
- I have setup the Macro as a menu item because I don’t need it all the time, and I don't want to accidentally enable the Macro without realizing it.
- If this is a feature that you see handy to implement, I would recommend using an F key to enable it, or use ‘=clean' as the trigger key.
- There is an extra step to convert any bullet items to HTML List items. After I paste the text, I just need to add an Unordered list tag at the beginning and the end.
Why not use BBEdit zap Gremlins Tool?
The BBEdit Zap Gremlins feature is awesome when I am in BBEdit. The nice thing about Keyboard Maestro is that it will work every application. I don’t have to memorize the command to “Paste and Match Style"
It comes in handy when copy/paste text from a website to an email - and I want to strip out all the formatting.
|January 2, 2018|
Keyboard Maestro Application Switcher
Apple's Application switcher is pretty cool, using Command-Tab users can quickly navigate to any open application. This is a fast way to switch around applications.
Keyboard Maestro takes it one step further. You have a lot more control. You can decide what applications that show up and the look and feel of the Application Switcher.
Keyboard Maestro Application Switcher
Basically Keyboard Maestro Application Switcher gives you an extended Dock.
Macintosh users put applications in the Dock because they use the app a lot. They don't want to have to keep going to the Application folder to open up the app over and over. With Keyboard Maestro Application Switcher, you can add the application to the switcher. This helps declutter the Dock.
This is very useful for those applications where you don't need to drag and drop a document to open it for the first time.
How to Enable the Application Switcher
The Application Switcher is enabled as one of the Macros that you set up. Which is pretty cool because you can have multiple Application Switchers set up with different hotkeys. So you could have one set up for Internet Applications and other Application Switcher for the Graphics Applications.
There's lots of information about the Application Switcher on Keyboard Maestro help site.
|December 15, 2017|
Keyboard Maestro Browser Version
Keyboard Maestro has a great integration with some popular browsers. Some macros that I created comes in handy when filing Jira Issues.
Note: This is similar to a tip I reported a couple of years ago - "Getting the Browser Version" for TextExpander.
When reporting an issue, often I need to include the browser that I used so that Developers can see if the reported issue is related to a specific browser version. Since most of the modern browsers auto-update it can be a pain to track them.
Execute the following AppleScript:
tell application "Google Chrome"
set theVersion to "Chrome " & version
So whenever I need to identify the version of Chrome, I just type in Chrome.Version and instantly the version of Chrome is deplayed. This saves me a lot of time to open up the 'About Chrome' and write the version number. Having this macro makes it easy to add this information to any Jira Issue or Slack chat.
I also have macos setup for Firefox and Safari.
Bonus Browser Version Macro
There's a 'super' macro that will display all the browser versions that I have. Again, this just makes it easy to identify the browsers that I am testing with:
|December 1, 2017|
Headless Chrome and Keyboard Maestro
In May, Google shipped headless functionality with Google Chrome 59. Google description of the feature:
A headless browser is a great tool for running automated tests and server environments where you don't need to see the rendered output or have a visible UI shell.
Thanks to Google Chrome Autoupdate, everyone should have this feature by now.
Here's a simple script to take a screenshot of any particular website:
Shell Script Code:
alias chrome="/Applications/Google Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS/Google Chrome";
chrome --headless --disable-gpu --screenshot --window-size=1280,2696 http://www.cryan.com/blog;
Chrome saves every file as screenshot.png. There's currently no way to change the filename during command run. So I added the Keyboard Maestro built-in file rename immediately after the screen capture.
The "window-size=1280,1696" is the size of a standard letterhead
The iPhone 8 browser window size is 375x667
The iPhone X browser window size is 375x812
The Samsung Galaxy S8+ browser window size is 360x740
Good Use of Keyboard Maestro v8 Cron Feature
I added Keyboard Maestro's cron feature so that the screenshot process would run automatically. Here some example uses:
- Take a screenshot of your company website every morning. At the end of the year, you can see how the site has changed
- Take a screenshot of your company website in different browser sizes. (What are Mobile users seeing.)
- Take a screenshot of your website after posting a blog entry
- Take a screenshot of your CNN, Drudgereport or MSNBC. What were the top news of the day?
- Take a screenshot of Amazon and BestBuy homepage.
Setting this up as Cron feature allows you to set it and forget it. These will run as long as your computer is up and running.
|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.
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.
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.
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.
Date Time Display
This is a sample Macro that I have set up to display the current date time.
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|
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.
I have found that EverNote helper is good way to remember things when you don't want to interupt your current task.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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|
A "blast from the past," this is from TidBits #259 (January 17, 1995)
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
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.
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.
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.
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.