Do I have too many great macros in my library?

With Keyboard Maestro, is it possible to have too many great macros? If this question piques your interest, this thread might help you.

I've been using Keyboard Maestro for years. Since discovering this forum, I've downloaded some incredible macros that users have generously shared. Also I've created many and shared a few myself.

With all this goodness, my Keyboard Maestro library has grown beyond 1600 macros; and paradoxically I sometimes I forget to use one of the many useful macros within.

I've partially mitigated this issue by creating a hierarchy of Keyboard Maestro palettes. Originally these were Conflict Palettes but later I started applying the Show Palette of Macros action. One feature that was particularly appealing with the latter, was that each could include a unique style.

I was really pleased when I found Show a Palette of Macros - Auto-Create and Populate developed and contributed by @noisneil (with help from @Nige_S). I've been using it since because it makes it incredibly easy to populate the palette with the macros of interest. But with 1600+ macros, even my hierarchy of palettes didn't completely solve the problem.

I searched for additional tools. Since I also use and love Alfred, I installed the powerful workflow, Conductor, developed and shared by Stephen Millard. Like all workflows that Stephen has shared, it's first-class. If you use Alfred, I suggest you give it a try.

But I was still searching for a method to quickly access and run certain classes of macros. I say classes, not groups, because these macros aren't necessarily within the same Macro Group. For example, I have tens of utility macros that I don't use everyday, but when I need them, they save me so much time.

I could have created a few giant palettes, or a sub-hierarchy of palettes, but that didn't seem ideal. I sometimes used Conductor, but in the cases I didn't necessary even remember the name of the macro, Conductor wasn't ideal because all library macros appeared in the long scrolling list.

Enter Trigger Macro by Name. I had forgotten about this versatile action that includes the ability to generate a Prompt With List-like list. It's now even better; with one of the recent Keyboard Maestro releases, the action displays metadata for each macro.

But for me, the key feature is that the Trigger Macro by Name list can be limited two ways: 1) the list of macros or/groups can be configured, and 2) the allowed group (Active macros | Enabled macros | All macros ) can be specified.

Since the Trigger Macro by Name action include a list of macros structured like the Show Palette of Macros action, I became motivated to borrow the logic from Show a Palette of Macros - Auto-Create and Populate to create a similar utility macro to configure Trigger Macro by Name actions.

With @noisneil's permission to steal shamelessly, I've created and shared a similar macro: Create a Macro Selection Macro

If you have other methods to efficiently find and use the macros in your library, please share your experience below.


I think I also have too many macros. I recently started writing one that I had already solved/written some time ago :frowning:


Hi, @jonathonl; I’ve done that too. I've even finished a second version and then discovered that the first was better. :upside_down_face:


I won't say I've also done it, but I will say I have been surprised by the appearance of a conflict palette because some new macro I wrote used the same keyboard shortcut as an existing macro.

The fact that both macros did the exact same thing is merely coincidence, not my failure to notice I already had a macro doing that work on that hot key :).



To me, your question is fundamentally about design and specifically about developing a UI that works for a large number of items.

This issue/question of overloading a system's (and people's) built-in design for handling large volumes of information is old. Basically, we seem to do well with small groups of things and eventually fail when the numbers go up past a certain point unless we create a way to regroup large numbers into smaller ones by creating new groupings or ways to think about the large numbers.

Perhaps, perhaps a fruitful path would be to more deeply explore or consider what makes something (a Keyboard Maestro macro in this case) great for you? To be clear, by deeper, I mean more than just that it makes some tasks easier or more convenient. Like looking at why you're doing the task in the first place and going all the way to why am I here and what is the remaining time I have going to be used for. That kinda deep.

Sometimes, a deep dive can shake things up so something new and previously unseen shows up.

Good question, thanks.

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Well that was deep but food for thought.

Given all the time KM is saving us, it must be extending our life expectancy as well in increasing our efficiency and reducing our stress levels.
I would like Peter to come up with a special action that does this more explicitly and also to report back progress on "Extended life expectancy hours" on the KM banner page.


Hi, @BernSh; thanks for your comments!

Deep, yes, but also wise.


In theory, we create/use automation so that we can do important tasks more efficiently. In practice, ...

“Important” tasks… what makes them important? Are they intrinsically important? If so, says who? Does everyone give ever task the same importance?

If there’s a task to do and no one is around to do it is it still important? For that matter, who defined a task to be a task? Who's scripting this stuff anyway?

I demand to talk to the author about this two-bit sidekick role I have. After all, I coulda been a contender. I got rights too ya know. You’ll be hearing from my lawyer, soon!

Oh, sorry, wrong script. Damn assistants. Ya just can't find good help these days…

Or, don't take deep stuff too deep. You know how it went for the dwarfs… :grin: