May 16, 2005

Keyboard Maestro

Posted in Mac OS X at 11:06 am by intermediatemacintosh

I’ve used Keyboard Maestro sparingly so far, despite owning it for at least 6 months. Certainly there are concerns about how stable such a low level tool is, and how well it survives operating system upgrades. But since I am not aware of any problems, I’m going to start assigning repetitive tasks to keystrokes, and see if I can save some time.

One task that I do in all three of my email readers is to delete the mail in the spam/junk folder and empty the trash. A couple of menu selections that could be combined into one keystroke. Since the steps are different in each program, I should be able to assign the same keystroke to three different programs.

Let’s start with Eudora, where I open the Junk Mailbox, select all the messages, and move them to the trash. Then I empty the trash.

I start a new macro in KM, name it appropriately, and choose the Interface Control choice in New Action. I select “Select Menu Item”, which pops open a form. I then switch over to Eudora, and execute the menu selection I want – Mailbox : Junk. That then gets filled into the appropriate slots in KM. I continue with the other 3 menu selections, and then assign it a Trigger of Hot Key F7. So now when I press F7 in Eudora, my junk mail gets deleted and the trash emptied.

So far, so good. Let’s do the same for MailSmith.

Well, a couple of issues come up. The first is that Mailsmith menus are variable, in that the Menu Item says – Discard Spam (11 messages). Not sure what happens when I press the trigger and there aren’t exactly 11 pieces of spam in the folder.

The second problem is that it won’t let me assign F7 as the trigger. Most likely because I assigned that keystroke to the Eudora version. So I want each keystroke to be unique to just the application I’m in. Let’s see if I can fix the second problem first.

Well, I read the manual, and the second problem is easy enough to fix. I simply need to create a new Macro Group, one for each application that I want to restrict macros to. I made my macros in the Global group.

So I create a new Macro Group, label it Eudora, restrict it to only the Eudora application, and then drag my macro from the Global group to the Eudora group. Pretty darn simple.

I also delete some of the pre-defined macros that came with KM. I certainly don’t want any keystroke to run the Update System Software, and I’m sure I can come up with a better use of F1 than to play a random song in iTunes.

I do see a very useful macro, that quits all running applications. I was just asking for such a gadget the other week.

I’m not sure about the Program Switcher, since I mainly use Launchbar to invoke all my applications. And with the Clipboard Switcher, I see the use but can’t think of a real need at this time.

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