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Time saving apps for more productive work

Keyboard shortcuts are nice—they prevent just a few seconds each time you employ them. And in case you use them usually, that’s plenty of seconds saved. However there’s one downside: simply because they’re shortcuts, doesn’t essentially make them higher. Which is why I closely depend on an app known as Keyboard Maestro.

Keyboard shortcuts ought to be simple to tug off and simple to recollect, however that’s not all the time the case. Take Choice+Shift+Command+I, for instance, which brings up a window for reporting a Google Chrome subject. Or Choice+Shift+Command+V to stick and match model in Safari. Granted, it’s possible you’ll not use these shortcuts fairly often, however 4 keys for a keyboard shortcut? Pfft.

Even a number of the more sensible keyboard shortcuts nonetheless require some dexterity. In Slack, Command+G brings up the search bar to discover a previous message, which I do usually. However making an attempt to hit that key combo with one hand—not less than with my small palms—is like taking part in a sport of Finger Tornado. (Sure, it’s a real game.)

Granted, there are plenty of keyboard shortcuts which can be useless simple—Command+C and Command+V are about so simple as it will get. However even then, why hit two keys once I might simply hit one? And what different prospects are there for one-key macros? That is the place Keyboard Maestro and my keyboard’s numpad make an epic duo.

What’s Keyboard Maestro?

At its most elementary, Keyboard Maestro is a instrument for creating all kinds of shortcuts and macros for automating stuff in your Mac. Open an internet site, copy recordsdata into a particular folder, or launch an software, all with keyboard shortcuts or different triggers. You may have stuff robotically occur while you give up a sure software, when a file is moved into a specific folder, and even while you draw a sure gesture along with your mouse or trackpad. And that’s actually simply scratching the floor.

It’s not free, however at $36, it’s frankly a steal for the capabilities it offers you. Plus, it already does what plenty of different apps can do. (It’s already changed TextExpander and Magnet for me.)

In case you’re wanting for free choices, Karabiner-Elements and Hammerspoon are respectable open supply alternate options. And there’s Apple’s built-in Automator characteristic that can quickly be discontinued in favor of Shortcuts. None of those actually evaluate to Keyboard Maestro, for my part, so in case you can shell out $36 for it, it’s properly value it.

In case you’re wanting for one thing on Home windows, AutoIt and AutoHotkey are most likely the closest alternate options, however they’re type of script-y and aren’t as intuitive as establishing triggers and actions. There’s additionally FastKeys, but it surely’s not fairly as expansive as Keyboard Maestro.

Easy methods to get began with Keyboard Maestro

When you’ve downloaded and put in Keyboard Maestro, open it up, and also you’ll be greeted with some pre-installed shortcuts and macros that you may check out. However you most likely wish to make your very personal customized shortcuts, so right here’s learn how to get began creating a really fundamental one.

We’re going to create a shortcut that can launch the Zapier house web page by urgent Command+Choice+Z. To start out, click on the small plus button on the backside of the second column within the Keyboard Maestro window.

Give the shortcut a reputation, like “Open Zapier.com,” after which click on New Set off. That is the factor that should occur first so as for the motion to happen.

Choose Sizzling Key Set off from the listing, and sort within the shortcut you wish to use. On this case, I’m utilizing Command+Choice+Z.

Now, click on New Motion. That is what’s going to occur once I hit Command+Choice+Z.

An enormous listing of actions to select from will seem on the left aspect. I wish to open a URL (zapier.com). I might scroll and look for it within the listing, however I’m going to go looking for it utilizing the search field on the prime by typing in “URL” after which deciding on Open a URL.

A brand new field will seem to the best the place you’ll kind within the URL. On this case. “https://www.zapier.com.” And sure, you want to embrace the https:// for the shortcut to work.

That’s it! Give it a strive. Hitting Command+Choice+Z will open a brand new tab in your default net browser and take you instantly to the Zapier house web page.

This won’t be essentially the most helpful instance, and it’s simply the very tip of the Keyboard Maestro iceberg. However it ought to offer you a greater concept of how Keyboard Maestro works so to go on the market and create your personal shortcuts and macros.

How I exploit Keyboard Maestro

To present you an concept of the chances, let me describe one keyboard shortcut I’ve arrange. It’s for when a consumer emails me retailer numbers and I have to ship gadgets to these shops.

The shortcut brings up a window the place it asks for the shop quantity. After typing that in and hitting Enter, Keyboard Maestro opens up a brand new Chrome tab, performs a retailer quantity search on DuckDuckGo, clicks the primary end result (as a result of it’s all the time the primary end result), finds the shop’s handle on the web page, copies it to my clipboard, after which closes the Chrome tab. From there, I can paste the handle wherever.

All of that occurs with a easy keyboard shortcut.

That’s one of many only a few intensive macros I’ve in Keyboard Maestro. Most of my shortcuts and macros accomplish more fundamental duties, however they’re nonetheless actually useful. The kicker, although, is utilizing my keyboard’s numpad as kind of a built-in macropad, part of the keyboard that I wouldn’t use in any other case. Keyboard Maestro can differentiate between a quantity key alongside the highest row and a quantity key on the numpad, so it really works out nice for one-key macros.

Listed here are some shortcuts and macros I’ve arrange, all of which occur with the faucet of a single key:

  • Click on the mouse and transfer the cursor right down to the subsequent checkbox. (The timecard software program we use doesn’t have a Choose All characteristic, so that is my workaround.)

  • Finish a Zoom name by placing the Zoom window in focus (if it isn’t already), hitting Command+W to finish the decision, after which hitting Enter if it asks for affirmation.

  • Toggle mute in Zoom calls by placing the Zoom window in focus and hitting Command+Shift+A. (Sure, you possibly can maintain the spacebar to quickly unmute, however the Zoom window must be in focus first. My shortcut takes care of that half.)

  • Save a picture from the net by right-clicking, deciding on “Save Picture As,” and hitting Enter. (Three clicks is simply too many, so I made a shortcut for this.)

  • Resize home windows to predetermined sizes (full display, proper half, left half, and so forth.)

  • Shut the window in sure purposes with the escape key. (Some purposes assist this, however many don’t.)

  • Copy, paste, transfer, and delete recordsdata. (Yeah, these are simply two- and three-key shortcuts, however one key’s even higher.)

  • Obtain a YouTube video utilizing yt-dlp and Terminal. This grabs the video’s URL, opens a Terminal window, varieties within the command together with the URL, after which hits Enter.

  • Kind out frequently-used phrases, like my e mail handle, canned responses in Slack, and more. (Keyboard Maestro can also be a text expansion tool!)

In case you’d just like the macro file for any of those, hit me up and I can share it with you. However more importantly, I hope this provides you some inspiration to think about even cooler shortcuts and macros than what I’ve. Go forth and automate!

This article initially appeared on Zapier’s blog and is reprinted with permission.

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