⌘ 101 Things to do with Keyboard Maestro

To be fair, I don’t have 101 macros written, yet. But, I’m well on my way. Although, reading the forums, there are others who have done that and more. A few sophisticated users have a couple hundred macros covering dozens of different areas. I have jealousy and hope to be that proficient one day.

What I’ve learned is that Keyboard Maestro is far more than a “macro” tool. It’s every bit a development environment. A development environment that with a small time investment and a bit of research, can create custom solutions for all sorts of situations. It’s even possible to replicate the functionality of off the shelf software, or in some cases replace it. It may not be 100% parity, but it will accomplish the core functionality.

For example, here’s a few of the applets I’ve created so far.

  • Filter the clipboard to remove extraneous text from Amazon links
  • Rename files as they are added to a folder
  • Move or delete files out of Downloads
  • Create a consistent folder structure
  • Position app windows so I get the same look and feel each day
  • Schedule simple maintenance tasks such as emptying the Trash, emptying the Trash out of DevonThink, starting and stopping apps on a schedule.
  • Prepend name, author, location, date, company name to file names
  • Run commands in the Shell
    • Show me files of a certain size
    • List files that haven’t been touched in a year
  • Create consistent text templates for copy and paste
  • Generate random numbers and text for QA testing
  • Generate strong password of varying lengths
  • Sync, merge, and find folders
  • Disk Usage tools
  • Disk catalogs

In fact, now that I’m getting the hang of how to make macros, it’s become easier to make new macros. It’s easy to iterate over a list of files in a folder and perform an action. It’s easy to parse and manipulate text to remove junk and strip out non-text characters. It’s easy to pass data into and out of the Shell to create tools.

With that, the power of the Shell/Terminal should not be underestimated. There are so many powerful tools at the heart of Unix. In many cases, all I’ve done is made a small UI wrapper around some core Unix commands and I have the functionality of a $9.99 app.

In many cases, Unix has a tool that accomplishes the task. It might take piping a couple of commands together, but StackOverflow has so many examples to follow. They might even have the exact answer. If not, 80%+ will be available. A small bit of work puts the rest together.

Keyboard Maestro is one of the best development tools I’ve ever used. It’s my top pick for a tool every Mac user should have. Keyboard Maestro and Alfred make the Mac incredibly powerful and empowering. They enable you to accomplish work in an incredibly efficient way.

There is no, “If only there was a tool that could …” You can create that tool.

If you’ve come as an elf, see it through as an elf.
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