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Most computer users, probably spend most of their time in their web browser of choice for either searching for information, regularly navigating to specific will pages, and creating content in web applications. Because I spend so much time in Safari, I rely on Keyboard Maestro and BetterTouchTool to open and navigate web pages, close tabs, copy URLs, show all tabs, and to quickly bookmark articles to Safari Reader.
I’ve written a lot about how to use Keyboard Maestro and BetterTouchTool with Safari, so this article is mainly a summary of hacks and automations for those not familiar with these automation programs. Included in this article are links to more information about the automations I highlight.
If you’re not familiar with how to use Keyboard Maestro and BetterTouchTool, check out these two articles: Best Mac Automation Software: Automator or Keyboard Maestro? and How to Easily Navigate Safari Using BetterTouchTool Tool.
Let’s get started.
1. Download Specific Webs on Specific Days and Time Use Keyboard Maestro
One of my favorite fully automated Keyboard Maestro macros is a time trigger to open specify webpages unspecified days and times. I call this hack fully automated because once the macro is set up I don't have to do anything else to trigger it. For example, I have KM open the local Ralph's website every Wednesday at 11:30 AM so that I can check out grocery sales for the week.
If I'm too busy at the time the macro runs, an alert action in the macro allows me to council the action before it runs.
Here's how to create a timed macro:
- Create a New Macro and Set Time Day and Time Trigger
In Keyboard Maestro, create a New Macro. In the macro, click on the green New Trigger + button and select the “Day of Time Trigger”, and set day and time you want the macro to fire. Note, your computer has to be awake for the macro to run.
- Optional: Add Alert Action
Click Actions > Show Actions and search for the “Alert” action and add it to the macro. Next, select the gear button on the right of the Alert action, and select Set Action Timeout. Adjust the time for your needs.
- Add Open a URL Action
Go back to Show Actions panel and do a search for the “Open a URL” action and drop it in the macro editor. Replace the Keyboard Maestro URL with the URL you want to have open. Note: you can add more than one URL action.
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2. Paste the Front Most URL
Say you’re writing an email or working on an article, and you need to embed a URL. Ordinarily you would copy and paste the URL from Safari, but with a Keyboard Maestro string trigger or keyboard shortcut, you can have the frontmost URL pasted in any document you want. Here’s how.
3. Paste the Safari Title
You can create a similar macro as above to show the title of a Safari document page. In the example below, I use the Display Text action which presents Keyboard Maestro text window with the name of the front most title of the Safari page. You can of course use the Paste Text action instead. I don’t use this macro very often, so I trigger it in the Global Macro palette.
4. Copy a URL
When I need to a copy URL from open webpage, I simply do a Three Force Click on my Magic Trackpad and it automatically selects and copies the URL for the webpage. This single click saves me a few steps, and it’s done using BetterTouchTool. Here’s how to set it up:
Create a New Action in BTT by clicking on the + button at the button of the user interface
Select a Trackpad finger gesture you’re comfortable with, and in the Notes box type a description of the action you’re creating as I have done.
Select the “Click here and select action” button and then click on the “No Action” button. From the drop-down, click in the “Click to record shortcut” window and press the Command+L keys. This maps the KM macro to the BTT action.
Now go back to the action, and click on the “Attach additional action” to add new action. In the Actions panel, select the search window and do a search for the Delay Next Action action and click on it. Set a time lay of 0.43 seconds. Add one more action and add the keyboard shortcut Command+C which copies the selected URL.
5. Click and Close Single Tabs
When my hand is already on my Trackpad, I can quickly close a tab in Safari by using the assigned TipTap Left finger gesture. This action triggers the Command+W keyboard shortcut for closing Safari tabs. This keeps me from having to bring my hand back to my keyboard to press the keyboard shortcut.
6. Click and Show All Tabs
When I want to to trigger Tab Overview in Safari, I can use my assigned 4 Finger Force Click gesture to trigger the Safari menu item, View>Show Tab Overview.
In BTT search for the “Trigger Menubar Menu Item” and then type “View;Show Tab Overview” (without the quotes) in the text box. Read the instructions for additional details. Select and add a finger gesture that’s most comfortable and memorable for you. I found that a click gesture works best for this action.
7. Go Forward and Backward
When I want to go back or forward between webpages I use two finger gestures to trigger the Command+[ and Command+] Safari shortcuts respectfully for navigating webpages.
8. Send Page to Safari Reader
When my hand is already on my Trackpad, I perform a 3 Finger Swipe Left to trigger the Add to Safari Reader menu item. Its shortcut is Shift+Command+D.
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9. Swipe to First Tab
When I’m working on an article like this one, I typically set the webpage as the first tab in the Safari browser. By making it the first tab, I can use a Keyboard Maestro macro and BetterTouchTool finger gesture to quickly get back to the first tab from within any application as I’m working on an article.
Here’s how to set it up.
Instructions for Keyboard Maestro Macro
You need to create a Keyboard Maestro macro that consists of two triggers:
1. If All Conditions Met Execute Actions, which is for bringing Safari to the front if it’s in the background.
2. The “Select Safari Tab…” action in which KM will switch to the 1st tab or the tab number you designate.
To use this macro with BetterTouchTool, use a keyboard shortcut trigger to trigger the macro.
Instructions for BetterTouchTool Action
Create a BTT action that triggers the keyboard shortcut for the KM Macro. Since the 1st tab is on the left side of the Safari browser that helps me to remember my assigned finger gesture, 4 Finger Swipe Left.
10. Open URL in Private Page
Often when I’m working on web development or when I need to troubleshoot a website issue, I might need to view a webpage in a Private Window. In order to quickly do this, I use a Keyboard Maestro macro that copies the URL of the current page, opens the new Private Window, and then pastes the copied URL so it can be downloaded in private mode. If you know how to use Keyboard Maestro, the set up is pretty self-explanatory.
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