⌘ Getting started with Keyboard Maestro – a simple mouse macro
When I bought Keyboard Maestro over two years ago, I didn’t realize how much I would come to use it. It’s now an essential tool for the way I work. As I learn more about it, I find more ways to use it. My macros have gone from simple shortcuts to applications with user input and output data.
However, when you look up what Keyboard Maestro can do, it seems confusing. It is for shortcuts? Is it a clipboard manager? Is it a text expander? Does it playback keyboard commands?
It’s yes to all the above, and more. But, out of the box, Keyboard Maestro seems to do everything and nothing. There’s building blocks galore, a clipboard, an app launcher, and a host of other options that you need to connect together. But, where to begin?
Let’s have a look at a simple example to get started with Keyboard Maestro.
I have a Razer Naga gaming mouse with a keypad on the side, and two trigger buttons by my right index finger. These can be used to trigger some useful macros.
As a simple example, I have the top button set as “Copy.” I have the lower button set as “Cut.” It may not sound all that useful, but here’s what happens.
When I click the top button, Keyboard Maestro actually triggers two separate actions. It performs a triple click to select the entire line of text. It then copies the selected text to the clipboard.
Conversely, the other button performs a triple click and cut to the clipboard.
Still, doesn’t sound very exciting or useful, but let’s break it down even further.
First, there is the triple click. This would normally be three clicks on the mouse.
Next, there is the Command-C to copy, two keys pressed.
That’s 5 actions taken, plus the time it takes to put your hands on the keyboard for the copy/cut, then back to the mouse for the next action.
It’s now one button click, and no touching the keyboard.
It’s simple, but this is efficient and time saving. It’s not going to save hours per day, but it will save hours per year.
It’s also more accurate. The triple click always works. The copy always works. There is no over or under clicking. There is no fat fingering.
While simple, it’s a good example of automation.
Automation brings consistency and speed.
Consistency and speed brings efficiency.
Efficiency creates productivity.
Productivity lets you get more done which brings in more money.
This is a two line macro that can be implemented without any coding knowledge.
The first line is the trigger, which is clicking the mouse button.
The first “code” block is to triple click at the current location. Keyboard Maestro supports single and double click actions.
The next and last code block is the Copy command. Whatever was selected in now on the clipboard.
That’s it. Now when that specific button is clicked, whatever line the cursor is on is selected and copied to the clipboard. I use this multiple times per day to transfer information from one app to another.
The Cut version is perfect for working through a list. The selected line is taking out so I know how much of the list is left.
As a bonus, since this is a gaming mouse, I use the number pad as my Paste key. The zero (0) key is set as a paste macro. This means I can copy/cut and paste without taking my hands off the mouse. I can move data from one place to another as fast as I can click.
I’ve also added the action of adding a Return, so I’m on a new line the next time I need to paste.
To get fancy and be even more efficient, I couple this with CopyLess, which has a serial copy/paste function. This means I can copy dozens of things, one after the other, then switch to a different app and paste everything in order. This chaining effect can save a huge amount of time.
Need to copy a dozen things out of Jira or from a Requirements doc? This is the way to do it.
This is a very simplistic example of what Keyboard Maestro can do, however it shows that even small macros can make big gains over the course of the week, month, and year.
There’s plenty more to look at like opening and closing apps on a schedule.