Keyboard Maestro vs AppleScript

I’ve been testing KM for the past four, or five days. So far I’ve found lots to like. Prior to this I’ve been using AppleScript, and FastScripts/Services to launch via keystrokes, and Slate to arrange windows. I’m pondering the transition to KM, as it’d be two less background processes to run, and it does ease some functionality, like detecting hardware, system events, and so on. To this end I’ve been searching for some discussion related to KM vs straight up AppleScript. Can anyone point me in the right direction, or offer an opinion?

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Hey Carey,

I’ve used both FastScripts and Keyboard Maestro since 2003.

And I use a window manager (MercuryMover), although it’s getting long in the tooth.

And I use a snippet manager (Typinator).

I used to use QuicKeys too but regretfully phased it out back around 2012 when it became clear it would not be updated.

I have about 500 macros in Keyboard Maestro, about 300 AppleScripts in FastScripts, and about 50,000 snippets in Typinator.

I keep using FastScripts for two primary reasons.

  1. Managing and editing a large hierarchy of AppleScripts and shell scripts is easier with it than with KM.

  2. I have 2 script runners at my disposal (FS & KM), and at times that is very convenient for a variety of reasons.

If you’re a heavy automation user then you’ll want to add Keyboard Maestro to your arsenal. It will do things other utilities will not.

But conversely there are things KM does NOT do as well as dedicated utilities.

Personally I dislike the idea of giving up ANY of my most used utilities.

A useful Mac rapidly turns into a poorly designed boat-anchor without them.

Best Regards,

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AppleScript and Keyboard Maestro are like peanut butter and jelly. Both good on toast independently, but so much better when put together as a sandwich. Many (most?) of my KM macros include AppleScript.

But as a general rule, you can build things faster in KM due to all the readily available commands, especially when you’re looking to manipulate the UI. Also control flows, complex interfaces (forms with multiple fields), and so forth are at best “hacky” with AppleScript.

KM also lets me build that macro for the one task I need to do right now and never again A good example being a recent script I made to run through a website and delete all the items in the CMS - one at a time, going through a series of dialogs. I was able to build this using simple click events in about ten minutes and then just set it to loop while I got coffee.

Unlike many people, i do use KM for text expansion functions, because I don’t have the memory for a lot of them, and it is just one less menu item. So you can definitely make your choices about which add-ons you use and which ones you don’t. While KM isn’t a master at all of its tricks, it is more than competent at every one.

KM has been heavily optimized so it’s a surprisingly small drag on resources. I run it on very anemic, old computers and have no problem.

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Thank you for the intelligent replies. You’ve managed to convince me that it’s worth the expense to add it to my arsenal, which I’m loathe to do under normal circumstances.

Thanks again,


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Great decision! The more you use KM the more you’ll like it, and the more uses you will find for it.

I am a big AppleScript developer/user, but I find many use cases where KM either does the job better, or can do jobs AppleScript cannot. Of course, I also have a number of KM macros that use the AppleScript Action.

The biggest problem I have with KM is that it is so extensive that I still don’t know its full feature set. Hanging out in this forum is a great way to learn.