I’ve used Keyboard Maestro to simplify my daily and weekly routines for a little over a year now. I thought I’d share some of my favorite macros that I’ve used on a daily and weekly basis.
Keyboard Maestro is a unique system-wide app available on MacOS that allows us to customize our computer and truly make it our own. It doesn’t take a programming degree to customize our Macs. It uses a series of actions that can mimic any keyboard or mouse interaction.
I’ve been interested in customizing my Mac to reduce friction whenever I use my Mac. Simplifying multi-steps processes can offload many tasks that I would normally have to do manually. Keyboard Maestro has been the biggest reason for my return from an iPad-oriented lifestyle into a multi-platform lifestyle where I can split my time equally between MacOS and iPadOS.
I don’t create a lot of macros or shortcuts. But when I do create a macro, I use it a lot. It’s not about amassing a large number of macros. It’s about customizing my apps to fit my work style. I might find an app not behaving exactly as I want it to. I could send an e-mail to Customer Service with a feature request. Or I can take matters into my own hands and create a macro that will mimic how I think the app should behave.
Here are a few routines that I’ve been using to speed up my workflow. These are just examples of the different types of routines I have encountered.
Arrange My App Windows Easily
There are times I want to arrange my app windows perfectly each time. I have a macro that opens my OmniFocus “Today” perspective on the left side and Fantastical’s Day view on the right side.
Original Number of steps: 7
Switch to perspective showing all available actions
Arrange window to desired size
Switch to Day View
Arrange window to desired size
Go to tomorrow
Now that I have my window arranged, I can drag-and-drop OmniFocus task into my Fantastical Day view to create a time block. This macro makes time blocking easy for me by automatically arranging my windows.
Perform a repeated action
I love Things 3’s task view. OmniFocus can be overwhelming because I can see my left-side Sidebar, outline, and right-side inspector.
I find this view helpful only when I’m in “planning” mode. I can tinker with all of my task details with the sidebar and inspector panels open. But it is quite distracting when I am in “action” mode. After I complete my planning session, I can hit a keyboard shortcut to switch between a “detailed” view and a “simplified” view.
When I see OmniFocus in this simplified view, I know I am in action mode. All I see is my outline. This view reminds of Things 3’s streamlined view. I can work easily in here because I don’t need to tinker with task attributes. I can focus on the tasks presented in this list.
Original Number of steps: 4
Hide or show the Toolbar
Hide or show the Inspector
Hide or show the Sidebar
Resize the window
Automate A Daily Chore
As part of my daily planning sessions, I look at OmniFocus and choose three tasks as my Most Important Tasks (MITs) for the day. I created a macro that will automate this multi-step process. First, I highlight 3 tasks in OmniFocus and then hit my keyboard shortcut.
Copy the tasks to the clipboard
Open Apple Notes
Create a new note
Paste clipboard contents holding my OmniFocus tasks
Select all text in the note
Change text style to Bulleted List
Increase font size by 4 points
Add descriptive text “My Most Important Tasks (MITs) for <date>”
I like to use my task manager when I am curating my projects and checklists. Moving my tasks to an Apple Note keeps me from tinkering inside my task manager. If I need more information, the copied text are hyper-linked back to my task manager.
Create a Guided Checklist
I can create a guided checklist with prompts that remind me about the next step to take in a lengthy workflow such as the Mind Sweep. I took the GTD mindsweep and converted it into a Keyboard Maestro macro. The steps are very simple. Show a prompt with instructions. Open the appropriate app (calendar, CRM, task manager, notes taker) and go through the mind sweep. When I click on the
Next button, I advance to the next step.
Customizing my Mac has never been easier. Automation is part of the process needed to simplify our workflows. I can spend 30 minutes to set up a macro that will save me time every day or week I use it. Some other macro ideas include:
- If I turn on my MacBook Pro and it logs on to my office wi-fi network, Keyboard Maestro will open up my task manager and show my office task list.
- If I connect a specific USB hard drive, it will copy a folder to the USB hard drive.
- Create text-based macros that will type in my address, today’s date, next Friday’s date, or create a text template for longer e-mail responses.
- If I launch Apple Mail, re-arrange the windows exactly as I want it.
I can offload multi-step processes to Keyboard Maestro. I can hit a keyboard shortcut or trigger a macro via floating palettes. I cut my time considerably by automating my routines. This is part of my “simplification” project for my productivity system.
I’ve explored many Discourse forums and see the common feature requests that my favorite app should have had this feature built-in because I paid a lot of more for it. That’s probably true but I am not willing to wait for the app developer to add features X, Y, and Z. I can customize my Mac and my apps to fit my work style easily. I spent a few nights watching Sparky’s Keyboard Maestro Field Guide and absorbed what I needed from it. Take control of your Mac. Invest a little time into adding one new macro a week. You’ll be happily using your Mac more frequently because you customized it with Keyboard Maestro and made your own little hot rod.
Download the Keyboard Maestro examples and adjust them to suit your preferences. Share some of your favorite Keyboard Maestro macros here or ask a question about Keyboard Maestro. I’d love to hear from you!