Automating metadata entry with Keyboard maestro -- any tips?

As I research long news stories and transcripts, I take a variety of notes, jotting down names, ideas, todos, and questions, as well as quick summaries of various facts and quotes. Over the years I've used various database and spreadhseet software for this (e.g. Scrivener, Excel, Airtable). Typically each row includes the note/name/thought etc. along with a URL of the story, the date of publication, author, etc in other columns.

It would be extremely helpful if I can avoid getting bogged down with entering all this supporting info -- while it's extremely important for later on, the repetitive entry really disrupts my focus and flow, and I often forget to keep up with it.

Anythoughts on how I might do this? With Scrivener I've tried a KM macro that involves a bunch of cutting and pasting to named clipboards and tabs from field to field, pasting blindly...but it can get off-track and messy.With Excel and Airtable I'm not sure how to use KM.

Does anybody have any experience automating data entry, or at least minimizing the boring, repetitive parts?

Hi @Burtyboy and welcome to the Forum!

I suspect a lot of the folks here have used Keyboard Maestro to do something similar. Once a repetitive task has to be done more than a few times it's worth taking a step back and seeing how Keyboard Maestro can help.

But to come up with a perfect elegant solution might just take too much time and delay the completion of the task.

For this reason most of my Macros that do something like you are suggesting tend to be bolted together key strokes and (as you say) blind copy and paste actions. They are not elegant but they get the job done and save me time and frustration. If I have to return to the same task day after day I then spend some time seeing how I can make the Macro more robust and even elegant.

As Excel is a spreadsheet format you could do exactly the same thing, using arrow keys to move around the table, saving the data as Variables and pasting it into the appropriate cells. I have done that with online Google Sheets and it works well. Just make sure the tables are in exactly the same layout with the columns where they are supposed to be.

To get the best use out of this Forum you could then post your Macro in its current state and ask for specific help with bits that don't work as expected or are not reliable. It's much better to upload the actual Macro (and an image of it) rather then trying to explain the task as then it's easy for the very helpful folks here to test it and suggest improvements or solutions.

To upload your Macro read this:

How to Upload Your Macro to the Forum