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Keyboard Maestro - App switcher, macros, and more Pick of the Week
Keyboard Maestro icon The macosxhints Rating:
9 of 10
[Score: 9 out of 10]
This week's Pick of the Week is a revisit to a previous Pick of the Week. Back then, Keyboard Maestro was just an application switcher. In its new 2.0 incarnation, it's now an application switcher, a window switcher, a clipboard switcher, and (most interesting to me) a keyboard macro creation tool. The clipboard switcher lets you have any number of items on the clipboard, and you can then paste any specific clipboard with a simple keystroke. This is a great way to store often-used logos, signatures, etc. The application switcher has some very nice features, including the assignable hot keys, the ability to have the switcher window open under the mouse, and scalable icon sizes. For instance, here's my switcher panel:

There's also a separate window switcher which brings up a palette of open windows within any application -- this alone makes it worth the asking price for me! In Photoshop Elements, there's no simple way to switch between open images (unless I'm missing something obvious and yet well hidden!). You either have to click on a portion of the image or use the Window menu -- command-tilde won't even cycle between them. With KM 2.0, I just hit Control-Tab and pick the image I wish to work with from a floating palette.

Finally, the macro tool is quite well done. Macros are, by their very nature, complex to write. This makes it tricky to write an easy-to-use macro creation app. KM may not be perfect in this regard, but it's quite good. I was able to easily create some menu-activating macros that save me time each day. One of them selects Photoshop Elements 3's "New Image from Clipboard" menu item, which is buried in a sub-menu of File -> New. Now, regardless of which app I'm in, once I have a graphic on the clipboard, I just hit Shift-Command-Control-E (user assignable, of course), and the graphic appears in a new image in Elements. I've also set some macros up to set Artis' SmallScreen to various resolutions.

I've barely touched the surface of what KM can do; if you're interested in a good all-around utility to add to your tool set, give it a look.
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  You rated: 1 / 5 (9 votes cast)

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Keyboard Maestro - App switcher, macros, and more
Authored by: JonLaliberte on Nov 10, '04 11:25:14AM

I have been using KM 1.2.3 for quite some time now, haven't tried out the new version yet. 1.2.3 was free for I believe 20 macros. Well, ever since OS 8.x (Maybe earlier), I have had some sort of app switching macros. In the OS 8.x days I used OneClick (which I maintain would be amazing for OS X). Anyway, since then I have used these macros for some simple purposes, mainly frequently used applications. Plain and simple it is much quicker getting around when you have 10 apps open to have say, F1 assigned to go to the Finder and hide others. F2 which hides background apps, F3 goes to mail, F4 OmniWeb, F5 Calculator, ect. Then there is F9 & F10 which play/pause, next/previous iTunes (with shift). Those are just a few examples. I have Apple + F1 set to run an AppleScript which sets my screen to dim after 1 minute of idle, and Apple F2 set to run one which sets it to 20 minutes of idle. All in all, for the macro functions alone this app is great. Hope some of you try out using the function keys for something useful like I have mentioned.

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How do you remember all the shortcuts?
Authored by: hamarkus on Nov 10, '04 01:37:40PM

Is there a way to list all the shortcuts in all programs, especially in programs like Keyboard Maestro, Drop Drawers, YouControl etc. which have system-wide shortcuts, overriding those of other programs? I know there is a function for this in Word (and probably in all Office apps) and there is a shareware called KeyCue ( which displays shortcuts for the current application. Unfortunately, it does not display those system-wide shortcuts set within apps like Keyboard Maestro or YouControl and you cannot print the list.

Apart from forgeting some of the system-wide shortcuts I have a lot of cases where they conflict with application specific shortcuts and it's always a bit of a pain to track them down and especially to invent new ones which are not used by something else.

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Keyboard Maestro - App switcher, macros, and more
Authored by: nomaded on Nov 10, '04 04:10:33PM

Does the window switcher do Windows-style switching?

For example, I have 2 apps running, appA and appB.
Each app has 2 windows open, appA-0, appA-1 and appB-2 and appB-3.

If I have window appA-1 focused, I use my mouse to select window appB-2, can I use the window switcher (or even the app switcher) to quickly toggle between windows appA-1 and appB-2?

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Keyboard Maestro - App switcher, macros, and more
Authored by: aixccapt99 on Nov 10, '04 04:59:57PM

I know you're asking about Keyboard Maestro, but this can be accomplished by mixing cmd-tab and cmd-` (same key as the tilde ~) with just the regular OS X.

cmd-tab switches applications
cmd-` switches windows within the front application (you might have to turn this on in Keyboard prefs)

So if your two windows are in different apps, use cmd-tab to switch back and forth -- the ones you want will be topmost within their application. If they're in the same app, use cmd-`

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Keyboard Maestro - App switcher, macros, and more
Authored by: nomaded on Nov 11, '04 02:58:03PM

Unfortunately, the drawback to that is that cmd-tab will bring the previous app and all it's associated window up to the top. I just want to toggle between 2 windows, whether they're from the same app or different apps, without changing the z-order of all the other windows on my desktop.

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Keyboard Maestro - App switcher, macros, and more
Authored by: johnsbrn on Nov 12, '04 06:48:13AM

This isn't exactly what you're looking for, but command-` switches between windows of an open app just like command-tab switches between open apps

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Keyboard Maestro - App switcher, macros, and more
Authored by: mahakali on Nov 18, '04 12:42:50AM

There's a way to switch windows from one application to another by pressing control-F4. To change the shortcut, go to System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > Keyboard Shortcuts. Under "Keyboard Navigation", there's an item called "Focus on Window (active) or next window". Clicking on its shortcut column will let you to enter a new shortcut.

Pressing the shortcut+shift will reverse the behavior (e.g. if you have yours set to control-F4, pressing control-shift-F4 will activate the previous active window).

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Keyboard Maestro - App switcher, macros, and more
Authored by: dogboy on Nov 11, '04 07:28:00AM

Use ctrl-tab to switch windows in Photoshop CS. Don't know about Elements or older versions.

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Keyboard Maestro - App switcher, macros, and more
Authored by: jbondo on Nov 11, '04 11:45:22AM

Can't one simply use Expose's F10 feature to find a particular image window in PS?

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Keyboard Maestro - App switcher, macros, and more
Authored by: Lapo on Nov 11, '04 03:12:19PM

To switch between windows in an app, I use Exposť from Mac OS X.

Look in the preference pane of Exposť... You can link the action to a specific mouse button. This is very useful if you have a non-Apple mouse. Mine got a clickable scroll wheel. It's the "third" button. Very cool for Exposť...

(I use a Genius "Netscroll Mini Traveller" USB optical mouse)

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