Is It Possible to Disable Single-Letter Keystrokes Automatically When Typing in Text Fields

Hey guys

Here's what I'd like to do but have no idea even if it's possible.

I'd like to have certain macros with single letter keystrokes such as: A, S etc, so when I press A the macro runs.., and so only in certain apps. Well, this part is easy and no problems with that.

However if I want to type in some text fields or something like that and I press letter A, the macro will be ran, but I'd like to have this macro disabled while I'm typing so the A will type letter a, not trigger a macro.

Is it possible to get KM to disable it's keystrokes while typing in certain text field, or until you hit return key?

Thanks a lot in advance.

I don't think KM knows that your cursor is in an edit field. But you might look into setting/unsetting a KM variable and only run the macro if the variable is set.

Hey, yeah that' came to my mind too as possible way to do it. Anyway, I thought it doesn't hurt to ask here.

Thanks a lot for the suggestion, it's greatly appreciated.

In some apps you can check for a menu or an image condition to see if you're in a field. For example if Bold is enabled that might mean you're in a text field.

This has been discussed countless times and the bottom line is always: don't use single character hotkey in apps that accept typing.

2 Likes

Hey,

I'm forum member since yesterday so I wasn't aware of those discussions. Of course I searched the forum a bit for something similar to my question but haven't found much.
I had some speciffic situation where it could be useful and that's why I asked.

Anyway, thanks guys for replies and the info.

1 Like

Welcome to the forum! :wave:t3:

The reason I mention how often this has been discussed is to give you an idea of how many people have tried and failed to find a good workaround... not because you shouldn't ask again.

The amount of discussion around this subject gives me confidence enough to say that it is the bottom line.

Hey Iaid,

The bottom line is that there is no possible way to do this smoothly and reliably on macOS using Keyboard Maestro.

I always recommend that people steer well clear of this mess, unless they're really gluttons for punishment.

There are some workarounds like custom palettes and conflict palettes – i.e. toggling single-key hotkeys on/off manually and using a palette as a visual status cue.

image

BetterTouchTool can do some amazing things KM cannot, although I don't think it can do what you're asking for.

Limits are often very frustrating, but they're always with us...

-Chris

2 Likes

@chris, that's the current "state of the art", isn't it.

You could also use the menubar icon to denote the enabled/disabled state of single character hotkey macros, although it wouldn't be as obvious, and depending on what the macros do, forgetting they're enabled could be pretty bad news.

Personally, I don't find it so hard to hold a single modifier and do away with the anxiety!

Yes, BTT can recognize text fields, even if it is far away from perfect.

You can use a single key trigger with KM if you are willing to accept short/long press. Then text fields don't matter. But with the known disadvantages when writing fast. Because the letter "a" (short press) is typed when released.

Another possibility are strings. To stay with your example "a" and "a space" (at the end of a word) types "a". Whereas "a space space" triggers your macro. But this can also cause certain problems. :man_shrugging:

The safest is a palette or short/long press, I think.

Hey guys

Well, I didn't understand as do not write about it so it's all fine.
I haven't tried BTT before but I'll possibly check it out, although it seems to me that in any case, it's better to stay away from single character keystrokes, less headaches :P.

Again, thanks a lot guys.

2 Likes