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keyboard maestro for macI’ve written several articles about Mac automation, including a MUO Automation Guide on how to get started with Apple’s Automator and the built-in OS X features for creating smart folders, playlists, albums, and mailboxes. But next to the application called Hazel Hazel - Performing Tasks On Your Mac So You Don't Have To Hazel - Performing Tasks On Your Mac So You Don't Have To I have previously written an entire MUO guide about using Apple's smart folders and Automator program, but a classic third-party application called Hazel is one of my personal automation assistants that works in the background,... Read More , which I also recently reviewed, the classic automation program Keyboard Maestro ($36.00) is my most used application for getting things done on my Mac. You can download it for a 30-day free trial.

For what it does, Keyboard Maestro for Mac is modestly priced, and in my experience very reliable. Keyboard Maestro is similar to Automator 10 Automator Hacks You Can Create & Use Today [Mac] 10 Automator Hacks You Can Create & Use Today [Mac] Read More in which you set up macros to perform tasks and steps that you perform manually. For example, almost any steps you take – to launch, hide, or quit applications; open folders and files; download webpages; input copied text; rate iTunes songs; email a family member; copy or paste a URL – can be done faster by Keyboard Maestro.

What It Can Do

If you’re new to Mac automation, Keyboard Maestro (KM) is made for you. You don’t have to know coding in order to build automations. You just need to take a little time to set up automations that mirror what you do manually, and from there Keyboard Maestro will perform the steps for you.

keyboard maestro for mac

Don’t let KM’s user interface scare you off. Granted, the UI looks very techie and a little complicated, but after you create a few simple workflows, you will see how easy it is to use.

The following is just a partial list of automatons I have KM perform:


The above are some of the basic automation workflows KM can perform (see a list of more features on its website.) Depending upon your needs, it can do even more advanced or complex automations, especially when you use it with applications like the mouse and trackpad program, BetterTouchTool Become A Power Trackpad User With BetterTouchTool [Mac] Become A Power Trackpad User With BetterTouchTool [Mac] Read More , or with the keyboard navigation application, Shortcat Are Your Ready For The Shortcat Keyboard Challenge? [Mac] Are Your Ready For The Shortcat Keyboard Challenge? [Mac] Shortcat, which is in alpha stage of development, enables you to keep your hands on your keyboard and navigate to any part of an application, webpage, or even System Preferences controls. Using a few keyboard... Read More .

Sample Workflows

Though Keyboard Maestro includes a manual, a more user friendly guide could also be written for the program. The following is a simple single-step workflow for an action performed manually by all computer users. Download the fully functional trial version of KM and follow the steps in this 5 minute demo that shows you how to have KM launch and/or quit an assigned application(s) at a specified time and day.

Other Features

The key to using KM is to open and explore its list of several hundred Actions to see which ones fit your needs. Notice it includes actions for copying and pasting text, launching its built-in application switcher, displaying text, hiding a specific application, playing a specific iTunes track or playlist, searching a particular website, pressing a button, etc.

keyboard maestro mac

KM’s Record Quick Macro can record a set of actions you perform on your Mac, and you can use the results as a macro. Also, you can assign and group macros to perform only in specified applications. I have macros that only work when Safari is in the forefront. For example :

  • I have a keyboard shortcut that will select and copy the URL of a webpage.
  • I can type the assigned letters, “nx” and KM will play the next track in iTunes without switching to the application.
  • If I want to close a Safari tab without using a keyboard shortcut, I can type “ccw.”

Note, with string triggers, the typed letters automatically activate the assigned macro and then disappear from where you typed them – all within a fraction of a second.

keyboard maestro for mac

If you download and try out Keyboard Maestro for Mac, let us know what you think of it. You can also visit my Google+ Community page on Mac Automation tips for additional ideas about using Keyboard Maestro.

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