Keyboard Maestro IconKeyboard Maestro

Conduct your Mac Like a Pro!

Quick Start

Keyboard Maestro is relatively easy to use once you understand how it operates. But it does take a few minutes to understand the way the Editor and Engine, Macro Groups and Macros, Triggers and Actions work together.

The Keyboard Maestro application is the editor, it lets you create and modify macros and configure preferences. You use it when you want to make changes, and then you quit it. It does not need to be running normally. Whenever you launch Keyboard Maestro, it also launches the Keyboard Maestro Engine which continues running until you log out (you can have the Keyboard Maestro Engine launched automatically when you login by enabling the “Launch Engine at Login” preference).

The Keyboard Maestro Engine is a background only application that enables all of Keyboard Maestro’s features. It responds to your Hot Key presses, watches the time, tracks applications and the clipboard, handles remote web requests, and executes your Macro Actions. It should be running at all times, so it is a good idea to enable the “Launch Engine at Login” preference.

Keyboard Maestro organises your macros into Macro Groups which are like folders of macros. Each Macro Group controls when the macros it contains are active. A Macro Group can target or exclude specific applications, which means the macros it contains will only be active in those desired applications. For example, you can have macros which are active only in A Macro Group can also act as a container for specific-use macros which are enabled only after a Hot Key press. The Hot Key press will enable all the contained macros, either for a single execution or until the Hot Key is pressed again, and can optionally display a palette of the macros. For example, you could create a Macro Group containing macros that resized or repositioned windows using the arrow keys, but those macros would only be active after the Hot Key was pressed so that the arrow keys could be used normally at other times. You create a Macro Group by clicking the ƒ button in the Macro pane in Keyboard Maestro. You can disable or enable Macro Groups by clicking the button. You can configure a Macro Group by double clicking on it.

Keyboard Maestro’s main purpose is to execute Macros. A Macro lives in a Macro Group and consists of a set of Triggers that determine when the macro is executed, together with a list of Actions that define what the macro does when it is executed. You create a Macro by clicking the + button in the Macro pane in Keyboard Maestro. You can disable or enable Macro Groups by clicking the button (remember that a Macro can only be active when the Macro Group that contains it is active). You can edit a Macro by double clicking on it.

A Trigger defines when a macro will be executed. There are a variety of Triggers available, the most commons is the Hot Key trigger which executes the macro when a specified Hot Key is pressed. Another common trigger is the Macro Palette which lets you trigger a macro by clicking on a context (front application) sensitive floating palette of macros. You can also trigger a macro when you login or when your Mac wakes from sleep, at a specific time or on a specific day, when an application launches, activates or quits, by executing a script, or remotely using a web browser. A Trigger will only execute the macro if the Macro Group and Macro are enabled and currently active. You create Triggers by creating or editing a Macro and selecting from the New Trigger menu.

When a Macro is Triggered it executes a list of Actions. Keyboard Maestro performs each of the Actions in order. There are a wide variety of Actions allowing you to control applications, simulate user interface events like key presses, mouse clicks and menu selections, open files, control your Mac or the clipboard, or display a variety of powerful switchers (Process, Window, Clipboard and Clipboard History Switchers). You can also execute a script (AppleScript, Unix Script or Automator Workflow). You create Actions by creating or editing a Macro and selecting from the New Action menu or by clicking on the Record button and performing the action while Keyboard Maestro records your actions to your Macro.

By using these six things (Editor and Engine, Macro Groups and Macros, Triggers and Actions) together, you can dramatically enhance your Mac user experience.

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Keyboard Maestro

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