Am I missing something? Not feeling the KBM love

I downloaded the trial and don’t see what the fuss is about, so I’m probably doing something wrong.

I thought KBM would make short work of a few things:

  1. Open and close the ScanSnap Manager software depending if it saw the device.
  2. Send an open PDF as an email, complete with subject.

It does neither.

I copied Katie Floyd’s ScanSnap recipe, but it doesn’t work unless I open KBM, click on the recipe, then click Try. THEN it works, which totally misses the mark of automation. Before this, I used Alfred to launch the ScanSnap Manager.

The email recipe: I recorded the steps and assigned a quick keyboard trigger and tried it out. No joy. The script says it fails. I divided the recipe up and it worked until it hit the email. I tried it twice. The first time, it launched email and messed up the subject and recipient, then bailed. The second time the script simply returns an error about the clipboard and fails. So I clicked Try on each individual step and it works until it tries to paste the clipboard (I use Alfred), into the subject field.

Before this, I used Hazel to open a scanned doc, which called out an Automator Workflow.

I’ve rebooted to see if that’s it. Nope.

I really want to like this app, but am currently not feeling the love. What am I missing?

The ScanSnap Attached macro is pretty straight forward. You need to ensure the macro is in a macro group that is always active (the Global Macro Group is a good first choice). And then you need to add a USB Device trigger. Not all ScanSnaps actually have a device name that contains ScanSnap, so put your text insertion cursor in the name containing field and then open up your ScanSnap (with it plugged in). The field should be filled in for you.

If things aren't working for you, then you need to give us a bit more information about exactly what you are doing so we can help you figure out where you are going wrong. Post an image of the macro you are using for example. Keyboard Maestro is pretty straight forward at its basics - a macro is just a set of triggers and a list of actions - everything else comes from that. So if a macro isn't working, its a matter of figuring whether the trigger is not firing or the actions are not working.

Excellent, Peter! Thank you so VERY much!

I was using Open instead of Activate.

One down, one to go. I’ll rebuild the email one again and grab a screen shoot of it. Essentially, I’m attempting to get KBM to send a specific person an email, attach the currently open PDF, grab the file name as the subject. I used Record to run through the steps. I was at a loss because I can get it to work via an automator workflow and Hazel.

But I’ll try it again and see if a clearer, less frustrated mind works better.

Thank you!

Recording will generally only give you an outline of the steps - for anything but straight key strokes you will almost certainly need to consider where pauses are required to ensure Keyboard Maestro does not go faster than the Mac.


Oh no! Wishing you a very speedy recovery. Thank you for the pointers about pauses. I’ll try that since most of the steps seemed to work fine. It was when two or more were strung together that the problem began. I’ve got about 28 more days on the trial, so I think I have time to see if KBM is right for me. To save time, I’ll seek out macros others have done to speed things along.

Take care, and thank you again for the help and tips.

Don’t know if this helps, but it’s pretty easy to grab the current document’s info in AppleScript and fire up an email message with it attached. (Substitute Outlook or whatever for Mail if you need to.)

global docPath
tell application "Preview"
  set docPath to path of document 1
end tell

tell application "Mail"
  open docPath
end tell

I can assure you that KM is a great system, and very full featured.
Prior to KM, I used AppleScript and TextExpander, and both of these often fell short of doing what I needed.

Since the KM syntax/method is different from other tools I had used, I found it to have somewhat of a steep learning curve. I was a bit slow to get started.

But once I got a few KM macros under by belt, with the help of the great folks here in the KM forum, I was off and running. I now make extensive use of KM many times a day.

KM is one of those apps where you can’t figure out everything intuitively. It definitely helps to read the “manuals”, which you can access from the KM editor Help menu.

If you get stuck, or need some ideas, please feel free to post here. Almost everybody is very friendly, and willing to help.

Good luck!

Some apps are not scriptable, and for some of them the technique used here may work:


Thanks, everyone! I was feeling somewhat overwhelmed and frustrated. I’m still debating if it’s one of those apps I MUST have, or just want.

I was finally able to create macros to open and close the Scansnap app whenever I opened or closed the lid. I found the recipe for a Word macro that autosaves every couple of minutes.

All useful, but I’d like more helpful macros to justify keeping it.

Send PDF via Email: If I add a bunch of pauses, it looks like I can get KM to gather the front PDF’s filename, attach it to an email, and send it out with custom text. It worked once or twice, and then it stops until after a reboot.

I’ll move on to other possible uses that TextExpander, Alfred, Default Folder X, Hazel, and Pathfinder don’t already solve and revisit the email macro if I keep KM.

  1. Wordprocessing could be a good use: instead of a simple search and find for a particular word or phrase, perhaps I could figure out a way to get KM to highlight it and then keep going throughout the document. That would be very helpful.
  2. Or maybe there’s a way to make KM do what Freedom, Focus, or Self Control does - keep me focused on the task at hand instead of social media or other time-sinks?
  3. Or find some way to get KM to reconnect my Synology volumes that inexplicably disconnect overnight even though they’re all in my startup

Thank you so much for all the help, assurance, and warm welcome.

I’d LOVE to hear what all of you use KM for.