Draft of "What is Keyboard Maestro?"

###Draft of "What is Keyboard Maestro?"
See What is Keyboard Maestro [Keyboard Maestro Wiki]

@peternlewis @ccstone

Hey guys, I went ahead and started a draft of this. Please review and/or edit as you see fit.

As I said in the "Best of ..." thread:

I hope you can come up with something because even I have difficulty describing just what Keyboard Maestro is.

Witness the Keyboard Maestro Documentation: Overview section which is far from clear.

I feel sure that working together, we can get this done.

Like Mark Twain, and others before him, said:
I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.

Writing clearly and succinctly is very hard.


Nothing encourages brevity like sore knees, to paraphrase Oliver Wendell Holmes. He wrote standing up. :smile:

Not sure this would fit the style or tone of your wiki, but could I offer the following: KM is an Anything Machine - almost anything you can do on your Mac with keypresses or mouse clicks can be done automatically by KM. For example: 1) open all the apps and docs you use everyday at once, with one click, or a hotkey, or a note from your midi keyboard 2) copy text from one app to another, with one click or keypress 3) copy text from one app, change the case, change the font, search and replace words, and paste to another app – all with one click or keypress (add lots more examples from other users). Take any sequence of key presses and menu selections that you use to accomplish a task, and KM can string them together like Legos to build a one-click mini-program, called a Macro.

I would suggest showing lots of example at the very beginning. Verbal descriptions of KM’s abilities never seem to click with me, until after I’ve seen them in action. I can read them over and over and never really get what they’re about, but when someone describes how KM detects that the laptop has been brought into the office network, and automatically hides the comic book they were reading and throws a spreadsheet onto the screen, that sparks my imagination!

–Bill G

Thanks for the suggestion, Bill. I'm sure we can use the examples you mentioned.

That's a double-edge sword, IMO. If they click, then great! But if the first few examples don't click, or the user thinks, "I don't need that", then they may stop reading.

So we need to select the examples carefully, and introduce them at just the right point, whatever that is. :smile:


User's – especially non-power-users can get overwhelmed pretty quickly.


###Point for Discussion

I’m thinking this “What is…” should focus mostly on regular, non-power, non-programmer, users.


Because, IMO, the largest untapped market for KM is regular users who are often (mostly?) intimidated by automation/programming/etc. They want the ease of automation, if someone can provide it to them, or spoon-feed them. They also often have a job to do, a task to get done, and really don’t have a lot of time to learn a new tool. And, IMO, they represent, by far, the greatest number of users.

It is pretty easy to hook the power users and programmer types. We crave automation, and enjoy the thrill of learning and building solutions. Just show me a tool that is powerful and can produce solutions with a modest amount of effort, and I’m off and running.

So, for regular users, what do we do?

One approach is canned, but customizable, solutions. I think KM already has a lot of these in the macro library. We just need to organize and present these in a way that is easy for the regular user to grasp and start using.

Your thoughts?

Hey JM,

I agree again, although I think some sophisticated workflows need to be demonstrated in the advanced section.

We should probably survey the forum members and ask for the first 3-5 things they did with Keyboard Maestro that they're still using.

  • How do you move a file?
  • How do you copy a file?
  • How do you rename a file?
  • How do you operate on files selected in the Finder?

More than just answering these questions we need to show real-world applications of them.

  • How do you open your morning coffee pages in Safari?

Yada, yada.



Agreed. And the list you gave could/should be part of the "canned solutions" that the user can use immediately.