Is it possible to create a KBM macro which triggers a BTT gesture?

It sounds crazy, but there is a BTT action which provides quick and simple access to the context menu and sub-menus.
thanks in advance for your time and help


Hi @ronald,

  1. Exactly which BTT action are you talking about? Can you provide a specific example of something you’d like to use this for?

  2. Would you want to use this functionality in a self-contained macro (in other words, a macro that does nothing else but invoke this BTT capability as an end in itself) or as an action in other macros, as a means to another end?

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I am specifically looking at the BTT action ‘Trigger Context Menu item’ because as far as I understand, it is the only action where BTT is more functional than KBM.
I would like this functionality in a self-contained macro (sole purpose if to trigger the BTT gestures/actions)
thank you for thinking about this.

Okay then, how about this: it looks like you can copy a link to a BTT gesture by right/control clicking on it:

When I tried that on a sample Trigger Context Menu Item gesture, I got a link like this:


From there, it seems like you could use that URL in a KM Open URL action to trigger the gesture:


Hey @gglick

I tried this but instead of triggering the action/gesture. It opens the gesture/action inside BTT. :disappointed:

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@gglick Thanks very much for the solution. It works very nicely. Brilliant ! In case it would interest you, this allows KBM users to take advantage of the BTT context menu, and conversely allows BTT users to extend their single finger gesture library by adding the KBM mouse gestures.

@nikivi I don’t see exactly the same thing: yes it did open BTT, but only the first time I used gglick’s technique, and it did execute the macro at the same time. Thanks for testing.

@gglick @nikivi

it works but it executes only the first action, not any additional action attached in sequence to that same gesture.

But thanks for looking into the issue.

I found the same thing when testing this, but only if the BTT window is still open. Try closing BTT and see if it doesn't work as expected for you then.

Yes, this is definitely a handy way to take advantage of the few things BTT offers that KM doesn't inside KM, so I'm also glad to know this is possible.

This seems to be the case in my testing as well, but the workaround seems simple enough: just use KM for the rest of the actions instead of BTT.

EDIT: It seems I spoke too soon, and executing multiple actions in BTT does work with a single Open URL action in KM, at least for some of them. For example, these worked fine for me:

That said, I would personally still choose to build macros like the one in your screenshot in KM over BTT, especially when making use of BTT actions in KM like this, since you can be sure that KM macros will always work as expected (not to mention that BTT doesn't seem to have any concept of Pause Until…, which I find to be far more useful then setting arbitrary delays).

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@gglick @nikivi

thank you very much for your comment, and thanks very much for taking the time to write a macro !

  • yes, it is much better to use KBM for the additional actions. I should have thought of it! One reason, as you mention, is that KBM is certainly more ‘reliable’ than BTT. In terms of workflow and power, KBM is much much more powerful than BTT. There is no comparison. The only reason for bringing in BTT is gestures. According to his bio, the BTT developer does it as a hobby and is not working full time for Siemens in software development. @peternlewis I wonder if it would be an opportunity for Peter to incorporate BTT into KBM, perhaps as an add-on.
  • obviously, when KBM is used to trigger a BTT gesture, one would use the more complicated gestures, and not waste a good simple BTT gesture for that.
  • yes, pause until is missing. I assume that you know that a pause action ie time delay (not pause until) exists with BTT. It’s called delay.

Have you ever managed to make the BTT corner triangle gesture work ?

I think a better way to trigger a BTT action/gesture is to use this code inside an Execute AppleScript action. It doesn’t open BTT window and executes attached actions.

tell application "BetterTouchTool"
	open location "btt://17BE2726-C537-4D4D-88F7-9CFDEA2A5615"
end tell

thanks very much

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You’re very welcome.

I’ve actually never managed to find a good use for BTT myself and have very little practical experience with it; I think it may just be because I prefer to do as many things as possible from the keyboard, and any gestures I can think of that I’d want to use would conflict with the ones built into macOS. Now that I know it’s possible to incorporate the few things it does that KM doesn’t in KM like this, I’ll probably just end up doing that :slightly_smiling_face:

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you solution works. thanks

I see things differently. It is a topic which I am very interested in.

I have been interested in language and writing for many years. I used to read cyrillic, chinese and even ancient egyptian hieroglyphs.

Worldwide and since the beginning of history, written language is nothing more than transcribed speech - each character is a sound (not a picture - contrary to popular belief).

Many people think that we now use the alphabet to write and assume that it is something etched in stone, which will certainly not be the case. What will follow?. Many university researchers are working on this and we have no clue. Certainly not audio or video ! If you polled researchers today, most would bet on something which vaguely and distantly looks like a tibetan mandala which you would read like a text (nothing to do with religion).

Look for example at how the language of mathematics is changing, and looks like drawings of insects.
excerpt from the recent article below:
Something strange is happening in mathematics seminar rooms around the world. Words and phrases such as spider, birdtrack, amoeba, sandpile, and octopus decomposition are being heard. Drawings that resemble prehistoric petroglyphs or ancient Chinese calligraphy are being seen, and are being manipulated like the traditional numerals and symbols of algebra. It is a language that would have been alien to mathematicians of past centuries

Why am I saying this? Because we should also expect dramatic changes in the way we input information into computers. I used to laugh at the idea of using a mouse, and immediately caught on to the idea of a trackpad. In the same vein, typing at a keyboard makes absolutely no sense. I can just imagine a keyboard displayed in a museum in the future. For the moment, the only ‘progress’ is the trackpad, and I want to take full advantage of it, and that was the idea behind using the power of KBM to trigger BTT gestures.

What boggles the mind, is that you basically have only one decent trackpad app (BTT) which is just a hobby for anotherwise busy Siemens software developer whose work has nothing to do with trackpads.

Historically, we know that new inventions existed and were often ridiculed long long before they became mainstream. Quantum mechanics was developed in (I think) the 1930’s, and Einstein himself said it was ridiculous (‘God does not play dice’). I am convinced that the next computer input method exists today (probably discussed all over the Internet), and is being ignored or ridiculed. It’s only a question of time before keyboards are a joke. That’s why I think that @peternlewis should seize the opportunity and find a way implement gestures ASAP.

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Keyboards are still the fastest way of inputting information to the computer. And you are most certainly not utilising the true power that keyboard modifications can bring. And keyboard will still be the fastest way until someone like Neuralink discovers a working BMI system. But to be honest, I can do literally anything from my keyboard in mere seconds. Faster than moving my hand on the trackpad for sure.

Also BTT developer recently stopped working on Siemens to focus on BTT and other projects.

Speaking of keyboard modifications, this is an example of what keyboard modifications can do for you. I am using Karabiner for this. Each key on my keyboard is a custom modifier key and each modifier action is some Alfred Workflow of KM macro. My entire space key is filled with KM palettes.

So yeah, gestures are awesome and I abuse what I can from them. But they are not going to replace keyboards as they are simply slower and more tiring to use than a keyboard.

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thank you for your comment and correcting my statement about BTT.
I will look into the apps you mention.
happy new year !

Your message is very interesting, and I looked at the links.
Karabiner: looks very interesting and I would like to give it a try.

  • is there any risk that Karabiner could irreversibly mess up my keyboard setup. Let’s imagine, worst case scenario, Karabiner is corrupt. How would you revert to the standard Mac setup ?
  • people around me say that I’m a idiot: is the learning curve for Karabiner steep ?
  • I have a gazillion keyboard shortcuts in KBM. The big problem is remembering them when you are working in various apps. I tried everything: a KBM macro to display the shortcut, paper copy on my desk, etc Nothing is idea. The only solution I found is to work more with palettes. What do you do?
  • I can see your mindmap in terms of an overview, but can’t see the details. Could you take a zoomed snapshot of a section of it, so I can see how you organize your shortcuts from root to last branch ? If it is not confidential of course.
    thanks again

Yes, true!

Another way to integrate BTT into a KM workflow is the speciality of “My Apfelworld”:
Tags, Tags & Textpassagen… nur ein Clipboard - mit Keyboard Maestro und BetterTouch Tool / #12

in German.

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yes, you are right: @appleianer has brilliant and prolific ideas
thank you for your comment and the video

Hello @nikivi and @Ronald, the easiest way to handle all the macros/actions in KM is to manage them in palettes. I then select the macros/actions with the cursor.

All apps or programs related palettes have the same shortcut with me ⌥⌃⇧ + M
The global palettes ⌥⌃⇧ + their initials. So I don't get mixed up with countless shortcuts

Occasionally I work with "this string this typed" Here I use an "X" for the first letter of the app/program.

The palette opens and then I select the macro/action again with the first letter.
Sub palettes can also be integrated/selected here.

I also use Launchbar 6 with an applescript for KM. This way you would not need any shortcuts to call the macros/actions.

However, you have to select the macros/actions again with the cursor. This is very simple, however, as it is always placed under the pallet.

Sorry... "Google Translate is my best friend :wink:

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