Recording System Settings?

Hello! Newbie here...
I am new to Mac and KM and AppleScript.

I am trying to create a macro/script to modify System Settings | Accessibility | Visual | Spoken Content | Speak item under the pointer.

I first tried a KM nmacro to set the System Settings pane, but I didn't get very far because (as I recall) I didn't see a way to drill down into Accessibility panes.

So next I tried writing an AppleScript based on a YouTube video. I was able to get to the Accessibility pane, but "get entire content" didn't return any static text labels to help me decipher control ids.

next,, I came back to KM and looked at recording macros. From the description, it didn't appear I would be able to record a full macro from "VO+m" through clicking the "Speak item under mouse pointer". (Perhaps I am wrong about that...)

Where can I find tutorials and training materials on programming KM? Ditto for best practices for deciding how to skin a cat? Is the Sparkey Field Guide the way to go?

(I don't need to automate the world. Just a dozen frequently repeated actions.)

Thanks for helping an old blind guy out...


There are several different approaches one could use here. Perhaps the simplest action is to do this: (I didn't test it, but it may work)

If this doesn't work, I can either figure out why, or find you a different approach.

Personally I prefer a different approach, because my preferred approach doesn't require that the System preferences pane be open.

@Airy I wonder if your image might need a description :person_with_white_cane: :grinning:

Sure. My image was a "Press button" action containing the string "Title:Speak item under the pointer".

I finished my AppleScript and it seems to work.
It was a good learning experience, but I was hoping KM would make this a lot easier.

(I can't upload a .txt file?)

And from Airy's post, I assume there is a simple way in KM.
"My image was a "Press button" action containing the string "Title:Speak item under the pointer"."

I assume I need to tell KM to open System Settings and navigate to the page that has said button? I will need to figure out how to do that...

Or can I just call the Action, provide the string, and KM will search the universe for a button with a matching name?

I'm sure this will become easier with exposure..

Thanks and Cheers!

A couple other questions...

  1. can I use tags to post KM or AppleScript code in this forum?

  2. Now that I have my "Speak Under Pointer.APP" in my Applications folder, is the next step to use KM to create a keyboard trigger (shortcut) to run the APP file?
    How would I do that in MacOS if I didn't own KM?
    (I'm just trying to understand all the benefits of KM and where it fits in the toolbox...)

  3. I would like a macro (app) to speak the names of all running applications.
    ("Say ).
    Is KM an appropriate tool? Or should I be looking elsewhere?


Read this post:

You can use Automator and macOS' keyboard shortcuts:

You might be able to do this in the Shortcuts app, I'm not sure as I don't use it much.

It could be—I just put this together now, so I doubt it's perfect, but it works.

Say apps.kmmacros (4.7 KB)

Screenshot of macro

It first grabs a list of all running macros (I'm sure there's a better way to do this, but I'm tired and need to get to sleep!). But by default, that list includes the full path, so a regular expression is used to trim all but the actual app name out.

Then that list is sorted, and finally, each name in the list is spoken.


Maybe I need to ask the following question. In your original post you described yourself with the phrase "an old blind guy." Were you being literal? At the time, I wasn't taking that very literally. But now I'm starting to wonder. Maybe you were being literal.

If so, I can be more accommodating to your needs. For example, I alluded to the fact that there was another approach. Indeed, I believe I could write a shell script that would eliminate the need for Keyboard Maestro to accomplish this task and would also eliminate the need for opening the System Preferences pane.

The other approach involves modifying an entry in your computer's configuration files using a macOS command. But there is the small possibility that your Mac may require a different modification key than my Mac, because we may not be running the same model of Mac computer.

By my count you asked four new questions today, but I think it's better if we address one at a time. It could get too confusing discussing five issues in one thread.

I can see from your post that there's probably some confusion about my previous message. So I'm going to try to take it more slowly. Would you like me to try to write you a shell script that turns this accessibility feature on and off for you?

So in this message, I have two questions for you: (1) were you joking about being blind; and (2) would you like me to write a shell script for you that turns this system flag on and off for you? I think it will be a few lines long but will take me a half hour to write.


  1. Not joking! I am a retired software engineer that has lost sight with age. I am trying Mac because I believe Apple has better Accessibility support. (and perhaps because I am a glutton for punishment! lol)
  2. I wrote an AppleScript to toggle the "Speak item under the pointer", but it would be very instructive to see how I could do it in KM. (but this is not a time critical issue...)

I will review the links to articles provided. Thanks!