New to keyboard maestro. What's with the applications pane on the right side and the different app switcher

Heard of keyboard maestro for a while and just bought it.

  1. I've got a few things setup which works well, but I'm still confused about why (by default) theres a new applications pane on the right side of my screen? Why is that there and why is it supposed to be useful?

  2. I see this replaces the default mac app switcher. Any reason why? I don't think the default one was bad? Curious what the motivation behind that change is.

Thank you

I won't speculate about the basis for the right-side palette or replacement application switcher, but you can disable both of those. For the right-side pane, go to Preferences > General and uncheck Show Application Palette. For the replacement Application Switcher,

You can disable this Macro by selecting the Switcher Group, then selecting the Activate Application Switcher macro and clicking the ✓ button below the Macros list. You can edit this macro to change the trigger to to any other desired Hot Key avoid replacing the system application switcher.

Source: Help Documentation

Thanks for the hints on how to hide those features.

I'm still very curious about the motivation behind both features are. I feel like if they are on by default, there must be something good they are giving me that I just don't know about.


I don't have any actual information or insight, but if I had to guess I would say that they are two easily-visible ways that Keyboard Maestro can change/improve the experience that a new user has when they start using Keyboard Maestro.

They give the user some hints about what Keyboard Maestro can do ("Oh, it can give me a pallet of apps and change the way the app switcher works!") and the ability to turn them off if the user does not want them gives the user a hint about customization.

Basically I think that when a new user installs the launches the app, if it did not do something then it would be a worse experience.

Just my guess/thoughts.

The Applications Palette lets you quickly see and switch between running applications, letting you hide ones you aren’t interested in. You can control click to get a variety of options. And you can turn it off in the Keyboard Maestro General Preferences.

It is a relatively recent addition to Keyboard Maestro, and in part it is there for those folks who used DragThing and are missing it as it did not survive the transition to 64-bit. And since I am one of those folks, that probably explains it.

As for why it is on by default, well, if it wasn’t, you probably would never find it.

The Application Switcher replacement has much more history. Keyboard Maestro actually grew out of a program called Application Switcher for Classic Mac OS, both written by Michael Kamprath. So in some respects, replacing the Application Switcher is more core to Keyboard Maestro than macros are, though only from a historical point of view.

As for why it is better, one difference is you can move backwards with just the Shift key instead of Shift-Tab, it has a bunch of features that you can get to by clicking and holding, including showing recently quit application, as well as control over excluding applications and always showing application. It has a variety of styles which you can adjust in the Activate Application Switcher action in the macro which invokes it which is in the Switcher Group.


Thank you @peternlewis

That was really insightful. I wasn't aware of all of the shortcuts built into the app switcher also. :+1: