Is Keyboard Maestro Relevant if I Have Better Touch Tool and Alfred Pro?

I hear about KM a lot and how awesome it is for automation etc, but I already have Alfred and wonder if I really need KM?

What does Keyboard Maestro offer which Alfred and BetterTouchTool don't?

Thanks guys.

Hi @andy4222 - I'll be the bad guy even though I'm not trying to be. However, you would have to do your own research on whether or not Keyboard Maestro is relevant for you. You can check the KM Wiki page for starters. Pay close attention to compare the Triggers (time triggers, cron triggers, mount volume triggers, wifi triggers etc.) and the Actions. I have Alfred and BetterTouchTool and each are great apps at what they do.

Automation means different things to different people. Examples -- On the third of every month, at 8:20 PM, Keyboard Maestro opens up series of webpages so I can pay my monthly sales tax. After doing so, it send me a text message to remind me that I need to pay - like NOW. So, without touching a key, pressing a button or performing a gesture, can Alfred or BetterTouchTool do something like that?

I have a laptop that sets up several specific applications based on the wifi location I'm logged into. Without pressing a button, gesture or hotkey, can Alfred or BetterTouchTool do that?

For work, I have to log on to Citrix every morning. So I have a username, password, a passkey and a RSA Token that is needed to be placed. At 6:30 am Monday - Friday, my computer has already launched Citrix, placed my Username, Password and Passkey in and is waiting for me to simply type in my RSA token numbers. Will Alfred or BTT do that without my interaction?

I could go through countless macros that find images on the screen and click them, that automatically opening drum patterns in my DAW, that selectthe latest Soulection Radio set in the Music app, on Monday, at 8:05 PM etc. Those are just really quick examples of KM doing work, for me, consistently and without interaction.

I'm not going to bash BTT or Alfred as they are superb applications. I will say that KM can do 90-95% of the automations those can do (text automations, searches, mouse clicks, window management, workflows, runs scripts. etc.) but that is not the case the other way around - IMO. I honestly can do without Alfred and BTT. I wouldn't want to but Keyboard Maestro not being in the toolbox would cripple me without my over 1500 enabled macros. This, of course, is my humble opinion.

For years, people argue over Mac vs. PC, Nike vs Adidas, Mercedes vs BMW... It's moot and meaningless because it's all based on what the person does with the tool.

You would be hard pressed to find any true Keyboard Maestro user to go against it's relevance. Your mileage may vary based on your usage. I will say that it took me a good year and a half before I really embraced the power of KM. I look back at all the work I could have automated and shake my head. Even now, I look at some things I do and say "dang it I can automate this or I can add this to this and make life better"

I say Keyboard Maestro is the best Mac Application ever made because it makes whatever application you use substantially better/easier to use (w/palettes, shortcuts, voice controls etc.), it's the gift that keeps on giving and it's the gold standard in Mac Automation (IMO). It's the best investment, I've ever made - period - Full Stop.

Sorry for the ramble. Nothing that I have used is close Keyboard Maestro. Hell, even the KM developer doesn't know it's true power because we all use KM differently. :slight_smile:

Lastly, the TRUE power of Keyboard Maestro is this Forum. There are some generous and incredible problem solvers here. They will expand your mind and change your life.

Good luck with your decision.



That's actually an easy question.
The answer depends on your answer to this: Are there any workflow automations that yo would like to do that you can't do with other tools?

When do you need to automate a workflow?
Any workflow that is repetitious, or very complex/difficult to perform.

Take a look at the macros located here for some good examples of what KM can do:

As @kcwhat suggested, KM is a broad-based Mac automation tool.
It is like having a master mechanics tool chest with thousands of tools.

Having said that, every mechanic knows that sometimes you need a specialty tool to do a very special job.

So, if I were starting from scratch, I would first buy KM.
That's going to solve 95-99% of my automation needs.
Then, if a special use case arises, I can decide if it is worth it to buy a specialty tool.

The additional automation tools I have bought are:

  1. LaunchBar
  2. Script Debugger 7 -- IDE for AppleScript
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Hi @andy4222, I myself also use BetterTouchTool and also Launchbar 6 (similar to Alfred).
It's the combination of all 3 tools that makes me enthusiastic about the Mac every day.

Here is an example (with videos) how I log in to my Mac's every day:

Another example is my daily login with 1Password in combination with Keyboard Maestro. A 1Password autofill login with apps or in the system settings is not possible... this is true if you are not using Keyboard Maestro :wink:

There is much more to discover.

Before I forget, you can also trigger each Keyboard Maestro macro via Alfred or BetterTouchTool.

Here's another example of how I call a Keyboard Maestro macro to encrypt a text with GPG tools via Launchbar and the rest is like magic :wink:


Wow, you are like an automation master, I wish I was so prepared/organised. I only just bought it to restart Spotify whenever an ad comes on. I've got a lot of catching up to do. Going to check out the community now and see what I can automate. I came across your comment when deciding between KM and BTT, and this sold it to me, and 1500 automations! Jeez, they should give you an evangelist job, and you write well :slight_smile:


Revisiting this post after 2 years. lol.

I did buy Keyboard Maestro and also upgraded recently to v10.

Trying to explore more automations...

@kcwhat Can you share a few more of these automations? Maybe also macros of the Wi-Fi location thing and the opening those tax pages and sending text.