Friday Favorite: How Keyboard Maestro saved my Mavericks macros

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Friday Favorite: How Keyboard Maestro saved my Mavericks macros

Bless Keyboard Maestro. It's not as if we haven't already given it coverage here at TUAW, but I fought to make it today's Friday Favorite because it pulled my grits out of the fire after I upgraded to Mavericks.

Me? I've been a Quickeys user since the freaking 1980's. One gets used to an app. Used to it enough that the thought of having to transition away from my decades-old keyboard macros to a new app was giving me hives. So I resisted, resisted, and then I resisted some more. After Lion debuted, I made excuse after excuse -- dropped a few of my daily macros, adjusted some others, and kept pushing forward with my old system just so I wouldn't have to start again from scratch.

Startly, the guys who now own the app, hemmed and hawed, made some noises about eventual upgrades, but I was basically running abandonware. Finally when Mavericks debuted, my decades old macro set gave up the ghost. Even doing some emergency tweaks like switching off App Nap couldn't save my workflow.

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Not now

TJ Luoma, who had had just about enough of my "but my system works...or at least it worked" nonsense finally hit me over the head with a very large clue mackerel1. (The size of the clue-fish indicates how much this matters.) "Just. Use. Keyboard. Maestro." (I paraphrase.)

So I did.

Several weeks later, I am a rabid Keyboard Maestro fan.

From its easy to use editor (with folders!) to its nuanced rule system (I can disable my keyboard Emacs equivalents for Terminal, Xcode, and Text Edit because they're already built into those apps natively), Keyboard Maestro is doing everything that Quickeys ever did for me but is doing it more smoothly, faster (seriously, no playback lag), and reliably.

I love this app.

It handles app launching, menu selections, complex sequences, and offers a solid Recording option that lets me demonstrate tasks rather than programming them. I can easily enable and disable shortcuts, which allows me to switch instantly from standard development mode to testing out Xcode betas. That's a huge time-consuming task for me usually. (Hint: You can bet I immediately remapped the new documentation keys for Xcode 5.1.)

It's not just useful for development. I'm using Keyboard Maestro to apply AppleScript to QuickTime Player, adding timed skip actions for moving forward and back through videos. I've got it set up to enter my family's library card in Safari for when we need to reserve books. It's working in mail, helping to sort mail as I work through my inbox.

In other words, it's not only doing all the tasks I normally relied on for my macros, it's opening new opportunities for me as I continue to explore its amazingly wide range of hooks.

Keyboard Maestro costs US$36. It's free to download and you have 30 days to try it out before buying. I think I made it to day 3 before whipping out my Visa card.

1 The mackerel was, of course, a holy mackerel.

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