Can a mini USB Keyboard have remapped keys to be used as a dedicated macro trigger device?

I have two keyboards attached to my MacBook Pro. Is there a way to use the Mini USB Keyboard as a dedicated macro trigger device with different macros that the full size USB Keyboard? KM recognizes it as “Mini Keyboad key X” when I’m selecting a USB Device Key trigger, so why can’t I"Mini Key X" trigger a different macro than the “ÖPTION (Alt) X” HotKey on the fullsize USB keyboard? Isn’t it in theory like assigning different macros to the top left #1 key on the full size keyboard -vs- the #1 key on the numbers pad of the same keyboard?

You cannot really do this with Keyboard Maestro.

Keyboard Maestro has two primary key triggers: hot keys and device keys.

Hot keys intercept and swallow the key press but cannot distinguish between the same key on different keyboards.

Device Keys can distinguish the key on different keyboards, but do not swallow the key so the key continues to perform its normal function.

So you could use all the function keys (with associated modifiers) on both Macs using a device key trigger. But you could not use, for example, the “a” key on a second keyboard without also typing an “a” (or swallowing both a’s if you used a hot key).

An alternative is to use a non-keyboard keyboard, something like an XK-24 or the like, that does not perform any normal function. You can use device key triggers with that kind of keyboard.

To test that on my MacBook Pro, I bought two keyboards.
Now I can confirm @peternlewis’ advice: It doesn’t work.

For an external keyboard devoted to KM, yes, could use external number keypad.
I tried it.
Works nicely.
Using CMD and Option and Control and Shift offers hundreds of hot keys.

My opinion after experimenting a lot with external keyboards:
Don’t bother.
Just use typed string triggers.
That offers countless millions of hot keys.
And so much easier than fussing with keyboards.

Free to a good home -
2 keyboards.
Wireless USB.
Windows key layout, but works fine on Mac.
With built-in trackpad/number key pad.
Really free – just pay postage from Thailand.

I have an XK24. How do I set that up and program that for KM? I’m on a Mac so I assume Controller Mate must be installed and configured as well??? Can you use the standard modifier keys to exponentially open up more macro trigger options with the XK24?

If Xk24 won’t work as a KM triggering device what about some of the mega-button USB Mice or, Gaming Keypads or other button devices with programmable keys - for Mac?

I do have an extended USB aluminum keyboard attached to my MacBook Pro which I gather from what other’s have said offers a multitude of hotkey triggers - but since I’m very new to all this I have not yet figured out what they may be, Perhaps F-Key combinations for application specific hotkey triggers and num pad triggers for global finder macro operations. I don’t know there has to be some methodology behind it since all the good old lettered hotkey combinations appear to be in use.

To setup and program an external keyboard or number keypad for KM:

  1. open KM editor
  2. create a new macro – doesn’t matter where, this is just to test
  3. create a new hot key trigger for that macro
  4. hit a key on your external keyboard – any key
  5. take note of what you see in the hot key trigger field

Doing that for several keys (external key device) will show how KM sees the external keys.

Worth doing with typed string triggers, also.

Keep in mind that number pad triggers can be modified by Command, Option, Control and Shift.

If anything I’ve written here is not clear, you are welcome to ask again and I’ll revise to make it more clear.

No, you don’t need Controller Mate installed (and probably should not).

Just create a macro and configure a USB Device Key trigger and press the button on the XK-24.

I’ve got an XK-24 for testing, and it works fine.

can I also use modifier keys from my external usb mac keyboard in combination with the XK-24 to enable me to have a multitude of hotkey trigger combinations than just 24x triggers?

Yes device key triggers can be limited to specific modifiers, which can be pressed on whatever keyboard you have attached to your Mac.

Got the X-keys and it works PERFECTLY as a dedicated trigger keyboard. I didn’t even need to install their COMPLEX automation software to recognize the X-keys. Just program a USB DEVICE KEY trigger and push a button (and or a modifier key) and whoola it works. The modifier keys allow the XK-24 to hold 330+ dedicated device hot-key triggers. It works so well I wonder why it’s NOT mentioned elsewhere on this forum.


Don't forget the "PS" button at the back edge of the device which works as well :wink: