Keyboard Maestro 9.0 Update

Stairways Software released its 9.0 update of Keyboard Maestro (KM), the granddaddy of all Mac automation applications. If you’re a current user of KM, you’re in for a few treats.

It seems that KM gets a major update every year, and each update brings an improved UI and more useful actions. The 9.0 version includes Keyboard Maestro Dark Mode and System Dark Mode actions, support for Elgato’s Stream Deck keypads, OCR actions, a Display Layout action, intergradation with 1Password 7.3, JSON across a range of actions, and more regex support.

This article highlights some of the new features and how they are useful.

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Dark Modes

Keyboard Maestro Dark Mode Action
Dark Mode Action

KM includes actions for not only toggling Dark Mode for the application itself, but for the System Dark Mode as well. Now you don’t have to open System Preferences to toggle Dark Mode on and off.

As with all the actions presented in this article, you can use one or more KM triggers to trigger the Dark Mode action, including a Keyboard Shortcut trigger, a Global Palette trigger, the Wake Trigger, etc..

OCR Support

Keyboard Maestro OCR action

One of the best surprises in the update is the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) action. That’s right, the action extrapolates text from a screenshot copied to the system clipboard. No need for a separate application to covert a scanned or screenshot image to editable text.

The OCR includes functions for saving text directly to the System Clipboard, a Named Clipboard, or a file.

Display Layout Actions

Keyboard Maestro Change Desktop Image Action
Change Desktop Image Action

For several years, I used an Automator workflow that changed my computer screens to specified images. Now that same functionality is available in KM.

If you frequently change your desktop screen for, say, the purposes of doing desktop video productions, this actions means that you can trigger than change by assigning the macro to one of several triggers, including a global trigger, an application trigger, an idle trigger, or a string trigger.

If you’re curious about the differences between Keyboard Maestro and Automator, read my overview here.

1Password 7.3+ Integration

Keyboard Maestro 1Password Bookmark
1Password Bookmark

Another nifty KM action includes the integration with the password manager, 1Password, which allows for creating a macro that opens a bookmark in your 1Password library.

When a 1Password bookmark is opened, it automatically inserts your login information for that page. This is especially useful for bank accounts and other sites that don’t always retain your login information after you log out.

The KM integration means that you can easily access any bookmark in your library from a global palette, or trigger it using keyboard shortcut, or even a string trigger.

Elgato Stream Deck Keypads

If you like additional ways to trigger KM macros, the latest version includes support for Elgato Stream (Amazon link) keypads.

Until the KM release, I had never heard of the Elgato keypads, but there are several YouTube videos about them. The keypads seem to be geared toward gamers, but I think they could also be useful trigging actions in photo and video editing applications, as well as providing another source to trigger regularly used macros.

Other Updates

KM 9.0 update includes dozens of other features that you can check out on this Wiki page. A few notable changes include the ability to have multiple KM Editing Windows open at the same time, a contextual menu for disabling, duplicating, and renaming selected macros and folders, and an menu action for displaying disabled actions at the bottom of the list.

There are several other advanced updates that I’m not familiar with how to use, including the support for JSON and regex.

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  • Great article, Bakari. Having your descriptions of the key features beats the heck out of the one-liner comments in the product description.

    • Thanks for your feedback. I know exactly what you mean. Seems like some developers spend a lot of time upgrading their apps, but they don’t always explain what and how to use the new features.

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