⌘ Creating “workspaces” with Keyboard Maestro

A workspace is a group of apps, files, and folders that open while working on a project. For example, when working with Katalon, I open Katalon, SnippetsLab, CodeRunner, the Reports folder in Finder, Stackoverflow in a browser, and the Katalon forums.

When I work with Scrivener, I open PaperEdit, WordWeb, MWeb and WordPress.

This gives me a consistent work environment and I don’t have to stop what I’m doing because an app wasn’t ready.

When I’m done, everything closes without searching for each app or folder and closing it down.

This is also the time to close down apps that might interrupt or derail my work, for example closing Messages, Slack, or Discord.

A workspace is also good when you have to share your screen if you work remotely. This keeps your personal email notifications from popping up, iTunes from launching, and other distractions while you’re presenting information. People don’t need to see personal emails or see when a friend comes online.

While there are a couple apps out there to help, this process can easily be handled in Keyboard Maestro.

Keyboard Maestro has commands to launch an app, close an app, open a file, and open a folder location. It can also launch a browser and navigate to a URL, so when you put it all together, you get a very consistent and productive work environment.

To get started, within Keyboard Maestro, you would select Activate a Specific Application. This launches an app if it’s closed or brings it to the foreground if it’s running.

You can also use Open a File, Folder, or Application. This also opens an app, but you can select to open a specific file in a specific application or its default, or open particular folders. When working with Katalon, this opens the Reports folder so I can review the entire run of an automation suite.

To do the reverse, use the Quit a specific application. As the name implies, it closes the application≈. If you want to close a window for an app, there is Manipulate a Window which has the option to Close a window with a specific title.

Timing comes into play with a macro like this. You may need to add the Pause command to add small delays between actions so they don’t overrun. Per the documentation this only needs to be like 0.3 seconds, but something to keep in mind. Still, faster than clicking by hand.

This may be a simple macro, but it’s an effective one. I have a coding workspace, a writing workspace, and a screen sharing workspace. I focus on the apps I need, when I need them.

Another option is to combine the Launch and Quit actions with the Time of Day feature to make sure apps are open in the morning, then closed at the end of the day. I’ve had that running for Teams for almost a year now.

This space for rent.
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