How To Disable KM Shortcuts Without Disabling the KM Engine

I'm still new to KM. I keep getting stopped when making KM macros because of certain shortcuts present when the KM engine is running. They won't let me test my procedure.

For example, I need to include the shift-command-v keystroke in my macros, and yet when the KM engine is running I cannot use that keystroke since the "Named Keyboard Switcher" pops up instead.

My first thought was that I could go the the System Preferences and disable this KM shortcut. But I didn't find any KM shortcuts there. So the only way I have to work around this problem is to turn off the KM engine.

There must be a better way. Please let me know.


Why would you look in the System prefs for a Keyboard Maestro macro?

Look in the Keyboard Maestro Editor.

Change the keyboard shortcut for the problematic macro or disable it.

Wiki ⇢ Keyboard Maestro Editor Window user manual section.

Note all the ways you can sort macros (including last used):


Note how you can select macros:

I was not going to the System Preferences "for a Keyboard Maestro macro", but rather to look for a shortcut. As I understand it, the Keyboard section of the System Preferences is the standard way that Apple has for managing keyboard shortcuts that work system-wide, or for particular Apps. Yet, when I look for Keyboard Maestro shortcuts in the App shortcuts section, I did not find them there.

As I wrote, I was looking in the System Preferences to "disable this KM shortcut" - specifically the shift-command-v shortcut which is only present when the KM engine is running.

If I turn off the KM engine, I'm able to use that shortcut (in the Photos app) when testing my macro procedure.

Hope that makes sense.

Thanks for the help.

Keyboard Maestro triggers (including hotkey triggers) are handled by Keyboard Maestro and not by the macOS.

The one and only place to manage those is in the Keyboard Maestro Editor.

Thanks for that info. But my question remains. In your original post you discussed how to change a macro keyboard shortcut, sort macros, and select macros.

But I don't want to do any of those things.

I want to know how I can avoid the "Named Keyboard Switcher" popping up whenever I try to use the shift-command-v keystroke when testing the steps of in my macro in the Photos app. The only way I know how to avoid this is by disabling the KM engine.

Sorry if I've not been clear.

Do you mean the Named Clipboard Switcher? If so, you can change the hotkey for this to something that doesn't conflict or you can disable it entirely.

As you can see, I don't use it, so it's disabled and has no hotkey assigned to it.


Yes, and I told you.

Apparently you don't realize that the “Named Keyboard Switcher” is a Keyboard Maestro macro...

To clarify – find the “Named Keyboard Switcher” macro in the Keyboard Maestro Editor and adjust it as needed.

If you need to familiarize yourself with how Keyboard Maestro works see this:

There is a very organized commercial tutorial:

Keyboard Maestro Field Guide | MacSparky Field Guides

And many free videos on YouTube, although the quality and content vary enormously.


@noisneil You are right: it is "named clipboard switcher" -- my first mistake.

My second mistake was not realizing "named clipboard switcher" is a macro -- thanks to @ccstone for correcting me on that. I thought it was just a part of Keyboard Maestro.

As I wrote at the beginning, this is just an example. I have had this problem in the past with other keystrokes not allowing me to test the steps of my procedure when KM was running. Since I didn't understand the source of the problem, I just gave up using KM and looked for other solutions.

So, the next time this happens I guess I'm supposed to look for the offending KM macro? But what if that macro doesn't display a window like the "named clipboard switcher" did? In the past I remember just having nothing happen when I typed the keystroke, unless, again, I turned off the KM engine.

Is there a way to search by keystroke? Or what do you recommend?

Thanks again,

You're in luck! This is a relatively new feature. Make sure you've selected All Macros in the Groups pane. Next, in the KM search field (top right), type "hotkey: " followed by one of the keys that makes up the hotkey you're looking for. In my experience it will also return a few other macros that don't contain that hotkey, but it narrows it down considerably.

This feels like a good time to point out Macro Group options. With your macro group selected, pay attention to the far right panel. The most important thing to be aware of is which apps the macros in this group are available in. Generally, macro groups should either be set as available in one app or in all apps. As an example, if your Keyboard Maestro macros are set as only available in the Keyboard Maestro Editor, then you'll be able to reuse the same hotkeys in other apps without conflict.

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@noisneil thanks, but it doesn't seem to work well in my hands.

For example, using the same example I mentioned (shift-command-v) If I select "All Macros" and then type in the search box "hotkey:", immediately I see ⌘Tab appear. I then remove that and type in the shift-command-v keystroke, and instead of it appearing in the search box, the "named clipboard switcher" window appears.

Typing "command", or "shift" is no help, but typing "v" does help. Apparently the only way to search for command or shift is to use Edit>Emoji and then go to the trouble of finding ⌘ or ⇧. This seems quite strange since when entering the hot key for a KM macro those symbols appear when you press those keys.

Don't get me wrong, I think KM is great. But I think it needs a lot of work in the user-friendly department in order to have it's greatness appreciated by more than a select few. Just my 2¢

This is expected behaviour. When you're in the search field, you're trying to search for the constituent parts of your hotkey; what you were doing was invoking the macro using its hotkey. If "hotkey: v" isn't granular enough, you can search for the modifiers too.

Nope. When you're in the search field, simply tap the modifier on its own and its symbol will appear as a search term. So, to search for ⇧⌘V, do the following:

type "hotkey: "
tap ⇧
tap ⌘
tap v

Someone who's never ridden a bicycle would say bicycles could use a bit of work in the user-friendly department. There's a learning curve with KM for sure, but considering all the problems it can solve, I'd say the user experience is about as bloat-free and transparent as you could hope for. @peternlewis is responsive to suggestions and is constantly improving what many already consider to be a fairly comprehensive automation tool. Once you get your head around some core concepts, working with KM gets a lot less daunting. There's a great online reference manual, and this forum is just about the nicest and most helpful you're ever to find on these here internets.

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@noisneil I was trying to use the modifier keys just as I would when executing commands and, believe it or not, I never thought of "tap ⇧" -- tapping on shift as if it were a letter I was typing. Now that you've helped, it works great. Thanks.

The best tool always seems to be the tool you're most familiar with, but this is actually a sort of blindness if better tools exist.

One of the principles of teaching difficult material is that those really familiar with a concept are often blind how a novice sees it. I worked among academics and scientists my whole life, and I saw this time and time again: they tend to be the most blind in this sense.

Therefore, the best judge of whether an experience is user-friendly is not an expert, but a novice. One novice saying it's user-friendly means much more than 100's of experts saying the same.

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For what it's worth, I only really dipped my toe into the KM waters when I bought a Stream Deck last summer and wanted to expand its uses, so I haven't forgotten what it feels like to be just getting to grips with the basics.

Hey @Tony - you might want to check out this discussion for your own amusement!

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After triggering a macro, if you want to know what macro was triggered, an easy way is to select the All Macros macro group, and then sort the macros by Date Used. Then the macro in question will be at or near the top of the list.

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