Time saving apps for more productive work

Keyboard shortcuts are nice—they prevent a couple of seconds each time you employ them. And when you use them usually, that’s a whole lot of seconds saved. However there’s one downside: simply because they’re shortcuts, doesn’t essentially make them higher. Which is why I closely depend on an app known as Keyboard Maestro.

Keyboard shortcuts ought to be straightforward to drag off and straightforward to recollect, however that’s not all the time the case. Take Choice+Shift+Command+I, for instance, which brings up a window for reporting a Google Chrome situation. Or Choice+Shift+Command+V to stick and match type in Safari. Granted, it’s possible you’ll not use these shortcuts fairly often, however 4 keys for a keyboard shortcut? Pfft.

Even among the more sensible keyboard shortcuts nonetheless require some dexterity. In Slack, Command+G brings up the search bar to discover a previous message, which I do usually. However attempting to hit that key combo with one hand—no less than with my small palms—is like taking part in a sport of Finger Tornado. (Sure, it’s a real game.)

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Granted, there are a whole lot of keyboard shortcuts which are lifeless straightforward—Command+C and Command+V are about so simple as it will get. However even then, why hit two keys after I may simply hit one? And what different prospects are there for one-key macros? That is the place Keyboard Maestro and my keyboard’s numpad make an epic duo.

What’s Keyboard Maestro?

At its most elementary, Keyboard Maestro is a device for creating all types of shortcuts and macros for automating stuff in your Mac. Open a web site, copy recordsdata into a selected folder, or launch an utility, all with keyboard shortcuts or different triggers. You may have stuff routinely occur once you give up a sure utility, when a file is moved into a specific folder, and even once you draw a sure gesture along with your mouse or trackpad. And that’s actually simply scratching the floor.

It’s not free, however at $36, it’s frankly a steal for the capabilities it provides you. Plus, it already does what a whole lot of different apps can do. (It’s already changed TextExpander and Magnet for me.)

For those who’re trying for free choices, Karabiner-Elements and Hammerspoon are respectable open supply options. And there’s Apple’s built-in Automator characteristic that can quickly be discontinued in favor of Shortcuts. None of those really examine to Keyboard Maestro, for my part, so when you can shell out $36 for it, it’s nicely value it.

For those who’re trying for one thing on Home windows, AutoIt and AutoHotkey are in all probability the closest options, however they’re type of script-y and aren’t as intuitive as establishing triggers and actions. There’s additionally FastKeys, however it’s not fairly as expansive as Keyboard Maestro.

Learn how to get began with Keyboard Maestro

When you’ve downloaded and put in Keyboard Maestro, open it up, and also you’ll be greeted with some pre-installed shortcuts and macros that you would be able to check out. However you in all probability wish to make your very personal customized shortcuts, so right here’s easy methods to get began creating a really primary one.

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We’re going to create a shortcut that can launch the Zapier dwelling web page by urgent Command+Choice+Z. To start out, click on the small plus button on the backside of the second column within the Keyboard Maestro window.

Give the shortcut a reputation, like “Open Zapier.com,” after which click on New Set off. That is the factor that should occur first so as for the motion to happen.

Choose Sizzling Key Set off from the listing, and kind within the shortcut you wish to use. On this case, I’m utilizing Command+Choice+Z.

Now, click on New Motion. That is what’s going to occur after I hit Command+Choice+Z.

An enormous listing of actions to select from will seem on the left facet. I wish to open a URL (zapier.com). I may scroll and look for it within the listing, however I’m going to look for it utilizing the search field on the high by typing in “URL” after which deciding on Open a URL.

A brand new field will seem to the appropriate the place you’ll sort within the URL. On this case. “https://www.zapier.com.” And sure, you want to embrace the https:// for the shortcut to work.

That’s it! Give it a strive. Hitting Command+Choice+Z will open a brand new tab in your default internet browser and take you instantly to the Zapier dwelling web page.

This won’t be essentially the most helpful instance, and it’s simply the very tip of the Keyboard Maestro iceberg. But it surely ought to offer you a greater thought of how Keyboard Maestro works as a way to go on the market and create your individual shortcuts and macros.

How I exploit Keyboard Maestro

To provide you an thought of the probabilities, let me describe one keyboard shortcut I’ve arrange. It’s for when a shopper emails me retailer numbers and I have to ship objects to these shops.

The shortcut brings up a window the place it asks for the shop quantity. After typing that in and hitting Enter, Keyboard Maestro opens up a brand new Chrome tab, performs a retailer quantity search on DuckDuckGo, clicks the primary outcome (as a result of it’s all the time the primary outcome), finds the shop’s handle on the web page, copies it to my clipboard, after which closes the Chrome tab. From there, I can paste the handle wherever.

All of that occurs with a easy keyboard shortcut.

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That’s one of many only a few intensive macros I’ve in Keyboard Maestro. Most of my shortcuts and macros accomplish more primary duties, however they’re nonetheless actually useful. The kicker, although, is utilizing my keyboard’s numpad as form of a built-in macropad, part of the keyboard that I wouldn’t use in any other case. Keyboard Maestro can differentiate between a quantity key alongside the highest row and a quantity key on the numpad, so it really works out nice for one-key macros.

Listed here are some shortcuts and macros I’ve arrange, all of which occur with the faucet of a single key:

  • Click on the mouse and transfer the cursor all the way down to the following checkbox. (The timecard software program we use doesn’t have a Choose All characteristic, so that is my workaround.)

  • Finish a Zoom name by placing the Zoom window in focus (if it isn’t already), hitting Command+W to finish the decision, after which hitting Enter if it asks for affirmation.

  • Toggle mute in Zoom calls by placing the Zoom window in focus and hitting Command+Shift+A. (Sure, you may maintain the spacebar to quickly unmute, however the Zoom window must be in focus first. My shortcut takes care of that half.)

  • Save a picture from the net by right-clicking, deciding on “Save Picture As,” and hitting Enter. (Three clicks is just too many, so I made a shortcut for this.)

  • Resize home windows to predetermined sizes (full display, proper half, left half, and many others.)

  • Shut the window in sure purposes with the escape key. (Some purposes assist this, however many don’t.)

  • Copy, paste, transfer, and delete recordsdata. (Yeah, these are simply two- and three-key shortcuts, however one secret’s even higher.)

  • Obtain a YouTube video utilizing yt-dlp and Terminal. This grabs the video’s URL, opens a Terminal window, sorts within the command together with the URL, after which hits Enter.

  • Sort out frequently-used phrases, like my electronic mail handle, canned responses in Slack, and more. (Keyboard Maestro can be a text expansion tool!)

For those who’d just like the macro file for any of those, hit me up and I can share it with you. However more importantly, I hope this offers you some inspiration to consider even cooler shortcuts and macros than what I’ve. Go forth and automate!


This article initially appeared on Zapier’s blog and is reprinted with permission.