My use of Keyboard Maestro

It’s a little contradictory. Just when Apple releases Lion with all its fancy gestures, I am committed to become a keyboard ninja.

All I need is my memory to remember all the shortcuts and Keyboard Maestro 5. No training from Yoda on how using “The Force”. Keyboard Maestro will do.

What is Keyboard Maestro?

For the people who don’t know what Keyboard Maestro is, or does, it’s an app where you can configure various macro’s for all kinds of task on your mac.

I really, truly, struggle to define what Keyboard Maestro (‘KM’) does for most computer users. Simply put, it makes my life very easy. It isn’t a tool for the ‘average’ user, it is a tool for people who don’t like repetition, a tool for people who want speed. There’s a learning curve to the app, but it’s not insurmountable. -Ben Brooks

I will not be reviewing Keyboard Maestro. There are plenty of good reviews out there from much better writers and another review would just be a waste of time. If you want to read a review of Keyboard Maestro, I highly recommend reading Ben’s review.

In stead, I want to give you a few tips or inspiration. When I first tried Keyboard Maestro I didn’t know what to do or what shortcuts would help me work faster on my mac. Like Ben says, there is a learning curve. I was a bit overwhelmed by all the features Keyboard Maestro offers. There aren’t a lot of things you can’t do with Keyboard Maestro.

The first thing you need to do is try to see what actions you repeat regularly. Those can be very simple, like quitting apps, or something complex like creating Markdown links.

Keyboard Maestro and the use of Markdown

Since a few days, I am writing my posts in Markdown. What is Markdown? Well, who can explain better what Markdown is than the man who invented it himself:

Markdown is a text-to-HTML conversion tool for web writers. Markdown allows you to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML). -John Gruber

Markdown is very easy to use and super fast. And I configured a few macro’s that can help make it even faster and more productive.

One of the things I regularly do when I write a post is linking URL’s or quoting people. In stead of typing the brackets I simply make markdown links with 1 shortcut: Markdownlink

The same goes for quoting text: Markdown quote

I made a more complex macro to insert images in markdown style. First I take a screenshot. After I have done this, I select the image on my desktop and type the shortcut ⌘⌥⇧+ I. After this, Keyboard Maestro does the rest.

First, it prompts a dialog and asks me what the name of the image needs to be. When I click OK, the file moves from the desktop to my dropbox public folder. Then Keyboard Maestro makes the public link (because I can’t figure out a way to copy the public link from the dropbox context menu) and pastes it into Byword with the needed markdown editing.


The dialog: example

This is the result:

You obviously see this is a very fast way of creating those links or synthaxes. This saves me a lot of time.

Assigning macro’s to certain apps

One of the great features Keyboard Maestro has is the ability to assign macro’s to certain apps. For example, in Safari I made the shortcut ⌘ + I for sending stuff to Instapaper. This shortcut only works in safari and not in other apps.

Other great tips

You can find a bunch of awesome tips on The Brooks Review. Ben also has a macro for bottom posting in Sparrow. You can find it here.

Another very useful macro is the “Super Quit”. What it does is just quitting all the running apps (except the ones who are in your “exception list”). This seems useless at first sight, but soon you will see how much time you gain with simple macro’s like these.

Try it yourself!

If you want to try Keyboard Maestro you can! There is a trail available on the website. Alternatively, you can purchase the app from the developers website or purchase it in the Mac App Store.

If you want to use the macro’s I discussed above, send me an email.

If you have tips or comment, don’t hesitate to contact me!