Start Automating Your Mac Tasks and Shortcuts With Keyboard Maestro

The best program I recommend for automating nearly any task on your Mac is Keyboard Maestro.

Keyboard Maestro is available for a free 30-day download, which provides lots of time for learning the program and creating dozens of automations. Once you learn what KM can do for computer workflow, you’ll never want to be without it.

This article is written those who are new to the program. If you haven’t already downloaded it, I encourage you to do so, and then work through the following tutorial to create your first macro automation.

Default KM Tutorial

When you first download KM, you can complete a quick tutorials for creating your first macro. Note, a “macro” is basically made up of one or more actions that constitute an automation, or workflow.

The KM default tutorial is a great start, but the one I’m going to show you includes two ways to trigger the same automation.

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Time and Hot Key Macro

In my tutorial, we’re going to create an automation that automatically opens one or more of your favorite websites on a specified times and day. This macro can also be triggered by an assigned hot key (another name for keyboard shortcut.)

Create a New Macro

1. To get started, select the Global Marco Group folder in the KM editor. Macros saved to this folder will work from within any application.
2. Select File > New Macro in the menu bar, or by clicking the + button in the Macros section of KM Editor.
3. Give the new Macro a name, such Open Mac Automation Tips, or whichever website or webpage you choose.

Intro_to_KM-1

 

Add the Webpage

1. Click on the + button in the Macro editor.
2. Select the Safari Folder under Categories.
3. Select and drag (or double-click) the action, “Set Safari URL.”  “Open a URL” action.
4. Now change the default URL to your favorite web pages or website.

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Adding Triggers

Now we need a way to trigger the macro. Every macro needs a trigger.

1. Click on the New Trigger button, and select the Time Trigger.
2. Click the plus button again, and select Hot Key Trigger.

The Time trigger is one of my favorites because it executes without me having do anything. It’s automation in the real sense of the word.

Update: be sure to use “Open a URL” action, and not Set Safari URL.

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 Set the Triggers

1. Now choose the time and days you want KM to automatically open the specified webpage. By default each day of the week is already selected, so deselect the days you don’t want the macro to execute. Note: your computer has to be on and not asleep in order for the macro to trigger. So you might choose to have it trigger when you know you’ll be working at your computer, or when your computer is set to awake in the morning.

2. Now set a hot key for triggering this macro. Click on the hot key box and press the keyboard combination of keys you want to use. The combination needs to include one or more modification keys, such as Shift+Command 9.

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1. You can test to make sure the macro works by either clicking on the Try button in the macro or the Try button at the bottom of the Macro editor. Also, you can also use the assigned hot key.
2. Now close the Actions menu by clicking on the x button, or by using the keyboard shortcut, Command+K.

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Save Action As a Favorite 

Note: if you want, you can scroll up the Categories section and drag the “Set Safari URL” “Open a URL” action into your Favorites actions folder for quicker access.

mac automation

Now you can see that your new macro is saved to your Macro library, in the Global Macro Group.

Enable KM Engine

You don’t need to the have the Keyboard Maestro editor open in order for macros to run. You need to make sure the KM Engine is running. Open KM preferences and enable Launch Engine at Login.

Keyboard Maestro_preferences

You can also quit the KM application in your Dock, and macros will run as long as the Engine is running in the back ground.

You now have created you first macro. There’s much to learn about KM, but in the nutshell those are the steps you take create a macro.

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