Inbuilt Assistance

I’m going to try to write a series of tips describing the new features of Keyboard Maestro 8. You can mute the “whatsnew” tag in your forum preferences if you’re not interested.

There are a couple relatively common cases where things are unexpectedly happening or not happening, and the new Assistance window is largely designed to resolve two issues:

  • Something unexpected is happening.
  • Something expected is not happening.

You can open the window by selecting Assistance from the Help menu, and then you can choose from either of those options.

The Something unexpected is happening will show you how to ensure it is Keyboard Maestro Engine that is related to the problem, and also show you any macros that are triggered which will likely show you what is causing the unexpected behaviour, since it is very rare that Keyboard Maestro causes any unexpected behaviour except as part of a macro execution.

The Something expected is not happening will help you resolve the common “my macro is doing nothing” issue. It will do a health check on the system and engine, and assuming everything is ok, will let you select a macro and explain whether it is active or if not, why not and tell you when it fires (which would then indicate the issue is with the actions not working).

Of course, the usual problem with this sort of thing is that when people originally make this sort of issue they don’t think to look for this sort of assistance, but it’s there if you remember, and it gives me an easy thing to point to for these sorts of support problems (and I’ve had several people successfully use it already).


I think this is a great addition to Keyboard Maestro, and in my limited time trying it I think it’s well done. One thing I wondered is if it would help users in need of this capability if the feature were more discoverable. I’ve seen it in many places, including this forum, where people didn’t see an application had a menu item for something. It’s almost as if a feature that isn’t inherently visible could then cause some users to be unaware of its existence.

Looking at the KM Editor for a logical place to add more explicit access to this feature, it seemed as if a button at the bottom of the window, below a macro, might work. It looks like there’s enough space, and an Assistance button near the Edit, Try, and Record buttons makes sense to my eye.

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