How to manage keyboard shortcut / combination issues on the border or keyboard maestro and karabiner elements


Let's say that I want to re-configure the native ⌥ 2 key combination to run a keyboard maestro macro instead of the "native" ™ which is useless.

Our beloved master @peternlewis says in a previous post that karabiner elements is better at changing native key combinations and he uses it himself.

As far as I understand I can only use karabiner elements to change one key combination to another, so how do I link the two, ie run a keyboard maestro macro with a native key combination.

A solution to this issue would allow me to increase the number of key combinations by simply reassigning those combinations which are not useful for my purposes

thank you for your time and help

Have you tried just setting your hotkeys as you wish? For me, it is enough to set a macro hotkey to Option-2. That then invokes the macro when run. Disabling the macro (or putting it in a group that excludes a writing app should I want to use the native key combo) still allows me to get ™ should that ever be needed.


thank you @rolian for your answer.

It works. Sorry for such a basic question. I had no clue.

I don't user Karabiner myself.

Option-2 is fine as a hot key. Personally, I would use Option-2 as a hot key, and create a Typed String trigger like =tm= (which is the style I use for Typed String triggers) to expand to ™ in case I ever wanted to type the ™ character.

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My apologies. I was quoting you from the forum. Just to clarify that I did not invent it out of the blue.
I am using Karabiner Elements to enable the Hyper Key and have no problem with the USB Device Key trigger, so I suspect it is something else blocking it (or some other interaction).

In fact the question is more complicated. I did not delve deeper because I did not want to bore forum members, but this may interest you.

I created a small macro (display hello) with Option2 as a trigger. I often switch keyboards US, german, etc
If I type Option 2 with the german (but no the US) keyboard BOTH the native Opt-2 and the KBM macro Opt2 are triggered, (quotes + display hello) (**) so the idea that KBM shortcuts override native shortcuts is not universal which is why I posted my question in the first place and asked if it could be solved by somehow reconfiguring the key with karabiner.

** If the opt 2 macro is simply to insert (paste or type) test, the both the native opt2 quotes and the macro text are displayed side by side.

I was using Karabiner Elements years ago.

I stopped using it because I couldn't be sure what interactions it might have and want to be running a system that is closer to a typical customer.

The hot key API overrides the normal behaviour of the key. However you can have multiple apps that all register the same hot key, in which case the normal behaviour of the key is still suppressed but multiple behaviour happens as multiple apps are notified of the hot key.

So, for example, if you had two applications like Keyboard Maestro operating (never do this with two versions of Keyboard Maestro! Just if there was some other macro program), and both had a hot key of Option-2, then the normal behaviour of Option-2 is suppressed by the system, and both macros would fire.

If the normal behaviour of the Option-2 key is still happening, then that indicates either:

  • The normal behaviour of the system is being subverted, maybe by Karabiner, maybe by something else


  • There is some other application (or even another macro with slightly different settings, like tapped or released) responding to the Option-2 and performing the other action.

Try Shortcut Detective:

Also sort your macros to see if you have two using the same shortcut


thank you Peter. You were right. It was a conflict with typinator, not the native keyboard shortcut.

One last question and I will leave you in peace.

You mention that you dropped Karabiner. I am sure that like many people, you found karabiner very useful to reconfigure the caps key to a hyperkey.

Did you just drop the idea of using the caps key for shortcuts or did you find an alternative ?

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excellent idea. I installed the app. It is very useful in most situations. Unfortunately it does not work for ⌥ 2. All the shortcut detective does is display "⌘V" with no app name for reasons I don't understand.
thanks very much ! As usual very original solutions !

I just hold all the keys down myself like an animal.

I tend to use the bottom three keys (Control-Option-Command) more often for this reason.


Yes, there is another way to enable hyper key functionality now, via BetterTouchTool. I and a few others have ended up going back to Karabiner Elements, but it is an alternative if you want to try it for yourself. More info here: Tip for Using BetterTouchTool to Create a Hyper Key Instead of Karabiner

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I have BTT and will have a look. thanks

Do you use Typinator ?

Try closing all apps, including all menu bar apps, and see if it still happens.
Also, do a double check there's no Option-2 assigned twice in KM

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thank you for your suggestion. I did not realize that global shortcuts are integrated into Typinator.
Thanks very much for all your research.

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