Can KM replace System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts?

I use System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts: App Shortcuts to make apps easier to use. Everytime I get a new Mac, I have to go back into System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts: App Shortcuts, and redo all of them, one at a time. It is very tedious. I am hoping I can find a way to use KM to set up and sync these shortcuts.

In Keynote, I have set up Keyboard shortcuts for all of the features I use that do not natively have a shortcut. As an example, to create a new rectangle in Keynote, I press SHIFT + CMD (⌘) + [ and a rectangle appears on the stage. To create a circle, I press SHIFT + CMD (⌘) + 0 and a circle appears. This save me a lot of time, not having to use the User Interface to create shapes. I currently have 30 custom keyboard shortcuts set up for Keynote

I would like to use KM to set up these custom shortcuts so that I can migrate them to a new Mac in the future.

KM was recommended to me, assuming it could do what I need. The problem is that, if I search the forums for "Keyboard Shortcuts" I do not find anything related to my scenario. If I search KM help, I do not find anything. I am assuming that I am using terms that are not native to KM or I do not know what KM calls Keyboard Shortcuts.

Here is a screenshot of what I am trying to replace:

How to I replace System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts: App Shortcuts with KM?

The best way, IMO, is to assign a hot key trigger of what you like, and then use the KM Select or Show a Menu Item Action to execute the process in the app.

Of course you need to put each Macro in a Macro Group that limits macro activation to the specific app.

I’ve done this quite a bit with great success.

Thank you @JMichaelTX, this gives me a place to start. Never used KM before and finding it a bit challenging… but promising.

No problem. Welcome to Keyboard Maestro. It is a fantastic automation tool, that never seems to quit giving. Even after extensive use for several years now, I often discover a new feature, or use of an existing feature, that I didn't know about.

Getting Started with Keyboard Maestro

  • Read the Quick Start.
    • This is essential to become familiar with KM terminology
  • Do the tutorial (Help ➤ Tutorial) in the KM Editor.
    • Gives you a live walkthrough of creating a macro in the KM Editor
  • Review/Browse the Available Macro Actions
  • For Help with an Action in your Macro, click on the gear icon at the top right of the Action, and select "Help"
  • Start small, and grow your macros organically.
  • Be prepared for some trial and error in the beginning.
  • Make good use of this Keyboard Maestro Forum
    • Search for existing macros
    • Post your questions/issues if you get stuck

Best of luck!

@JMichaelTX I was able to get it working, not easily, but now I get it.

Things that were confusing:

  1. By default, the Group was Disabled, which was causing this error:

  2. KM's use of "X" and checks to indicate whether an item is Enabled or Disabled is confusing, when it is Enabled it has an 'X' and when it is Disabled it has a check. (It's the 'ol "Play vs. Pause" button problem. Is it currently playing or currently paused and which button state should be shown?)

For anyone else who comes along,what it looks like, and how I did it:

How I Did It: (Video)
Setting up Keyboard Shortcuts for Applications in Keyboard Maestro

That was one of my goals, too, when I started using KM.
One new Mac since then, and, yes, KM transferred over with zero effort.

At first, the learning curve is steep.
Everything looks confusing.
To learn quickly, post questions and problems on this forum.
You'll get lots of advice.


Have you considered putting those shortcuts into a floating palette for Keynote?
A palette is a menu of shortcuts.

KM offers unlimited palettes.
For example, I have different pallets for different spreadsheets, each with shortcuts specific to that spreadsheet.
Also different pallets for different websites that I use frequently.
Looking at your video, learning about KM palettes would have a lot of uses in Keynote.

Here is an example of my palette of shortcuts on this forum.

I looked briefly at your video -- not all, just some pieces.

  1. "Story line" is weak.
    Instead of jumping in and starting to talk, needs a plan.

  2. "Post production editing" is non-existent.
    That's bad.

  3. Basic "trade craft" about KM -- and about scripting in general -- you haven't learned, yet you are presuming to teach others.
    One glaring example is lack of comments.

If you post small segments of videos here -- say 30 seconds or less -- you'll probably get more opinions about your video technique, and you'll certainly learn more about KM at the same time.

I don't believe this is correct.

If you create a new Macro Group, it will be ENABLED by default.

So, for example, if I create a Macro Group for Safari, it will look like this:

I may have disabled it, confused by whether the “X” was active or not? I probably thought that I had to click the check to save it, or turn it on.

That threw me off, but I got it working.

@Mark I’ll take a look at the floating palette, but the objective I have is not to use my mouse to click if I don’t have to. Lots to learn.

Thanks for the video feedback. No time to edit, didn’t even use a mic, I just had to get it done quickly. The goal of the video is to helping others who Google the same thing I did and found nothing. Problem solved. Thanks for the feedback though.

@Mark turns out that the video is doing very well. 86% of people are watching it al the way through (according to my Vimeo stats).

I used to do video intros, but anything that gets in the way of making a point, or delays the solution, seems to decrease viewership - most intros and splash screens waste too much time for the fast-paced view/scanning audience of today.

Gonna’ keep an eye on things and see how it goes.

For beginners who may stumble on this thread, @chsweb’s assumption about palettes and mouse clicks is wrong.

I don’t want newcomers to be mislead, because palettes are one of the most useful features of Keyboard Maestro, especially for beginners.

In the palette example shown above, no mouse clicks are required.
Each action is triggered with just one or two keystrokes.
The keystrokes are clearly shown.

KM palettes can use mouse clicks, or keystrokes, or any combination.
That choice is not possible with system preferences > keyboard > shortcuts.

A more important point is that sys prefs shortcuts do not offer palettes at all.
KM does.

@Mark are you referring to the “Macro Palette?”

The Macro Palette trigger lets you add your macro to a floating palette, so you can trigger it by clicking on the macro name in the palette.

Documented here:

As @Mark mentioned, the floating “Macro Palette” may be of some use for folks.

What is a Floating Macro Palette?
It is a list of all of the shortcuts that have been created for the current application you are using… or all shortcuts that you have created, depending on how you configure your palette. It serves as a nice reminder of the shortcuts you can use and it also lets you click on them to trigger the shortcut you set up.

How Do I Create a Floating Macro Palette?

  1. Open Keyboard Maestro Editor
  2. Click on a folder in the “Group” column.
  3. In the far-right column, click on the menu for “Always Activated” and choose “Shows a palette until”
  4. Enter a hot key, I used OPTION + K
  5. Test out the other options to see what they do, such as “Place palette under mouse”

Note About Step 3: The ‘Always Activated’ menu in the right column may be different for you. It may be set to “Activated for one action when:” or “Activated/deactivated when:” instead.

Note About Step 4: You can also get the floating palette to work by choosing “Shows a palette for one action when:” or “Shows/hides a palette when:” during step 3 above.

The palette is a nice option in KM. While I have committed all of my shortcuts to memory, I am going to look for new ways to use the palette in my workflows. Thanks @Mark.

Good research; good question.

Answer: No.
The sample palette I posted above does not use any Macro Palette triggers.

That palette demonstrates how KM can not just replace, it do much more than Sys Prefs > Keyboard > Shortcuts.
In answer to your original question on this topic.

That palette also demonstrates that it is not required to memorize any KM triggers at all.
(But you may memorize, if you want to. Personally, I don’t.)

Going through the effort of learning KM can have many benefits, which are not apparent at the beginning.
Beginning to learn KM was frustrating and discouraging for me, with a lot of stumbling around.
I assume similar for many others.
So I try to provide encouragement.

@Mark, how do we do this in Keyboard Maestro?

Useful question.

This forum already has many topics about creating palettes.
Much helpful information in Wiki and documentation, too, as you've found.

So I respectfully suggest doing some more reading first, and trying "at home".
Then post your results and questions in a fresh topic on this forum.
You will get lots of helpful advice.

As you get started, one worthwhile topic to read is how to post KM macros here -- directly from the KM editor -- so others can see your actual macros.
Here's an example of doing that:
(This is not a macro for discussion -- just an example of posting a macro on this forum.)


You can find details about how to post like that, by searching like this:

Any questions or problems, please post again.

@Mark, you are missing the point. I searched everywhere, found nothing, and ended up posting here. This original post expanded to include multiple topics, and now this post is the best place to get answers for each topic.

###Currently, this post is the fastest place to learn:

  1. "Can KM replace System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts?"
  2. How to Create a "Floating Macro Palette"

Soon, it will be the best place to learn "how to create a floating palette in Keyboard Maestro," but I am beginning suspect that what you posted above as a "floating palette" is actually called something different in Keyboard Maestro's documentation.

For example, when searching for "how to create a floating palette" we get zero results. If we do a less useful search of "floating palette" here is what we get:

manual:Macro_Groups: 29 Hits
rom the Status Menu, or by clicking on the global floating palette. To have Macros that are remain active after you

trigger:Macro_Palette: 22 Hits
ro Palette trigger// lets you add your macro to a floating palette, so you can trigger it by clicking on the macro n

manual:Windows: 13 Hits
and off), and whether to display the macros in a floating palette. See also the [[Macros]] section. ===== Macro E

manual:Glossary: 10 Hits
efined set of applications | | Macro~~Palette | a floating palette containing any active Macros that have a Macro Pa

manual:Palettes: 10 Hits
alette trigger]] will be displayed in the Global Floating Palette. This palette appears whenever there is one or

manual:Macro_Triggers: 7 Hits
a string. Or you can display a Macro~~Group as a floating palette, or execute macros remotely via the built-in web ... ro >Palette trigger]] lets you add your macro to a floating palette, so you can trigger it by clicking on the macro n

Troubleshooting: 6 Hits
s appears resolved in Mavericks. ==== The Global Floating Palette has disappeared ==== If you close the global floating >palette it will not repeat until either you relaunch the Key

manual:Quick_Start: 3 Hits
icking on a context (front application) sensitive floating palette of macros and the Status Menu trigger which displ

None of those results above show us "how to create a floating palette." They only mention floating macro palettes, which I've already covered in a previous post, within this thread, with a video tutorial.

Some of the results above use the term 'floating palette' but nearly all of them refer back to a "floating macro palette," which is not the same thing as a 'floating palette' if what you suggest is accurate. @Mark are you sure that you mean "Floating palette" and not something else?

##Be Helpful
Since this thread now shows up as the number 2 result, when searching for "floating palette," and since none of the other Help sources (above) are addressing the question, we might as well answer the question here, where people can be helped. "Save time. Feel good."

All palettes in KM are "floating".

Here an example of a palette that I prepared to show "floating" more distinctly:

@Mark Showing screenshot of a palette doesn’t help answer the question.


Wiki + Docs is faster, because carefully organized and more thorough details than this casual conversation.

Best net-ettiquette is one topic per thread.