Some Simple Questions from a New User Moving from QuicKeys

I'm just moving to Keyboard Maestro after 30+ years with QuickKeys and there are a couple of things that I'm puzzled by.

Pressing command+tab used to show me a bar in the finder with all the running apps. Now I get a similar bar from KM instead. How can I revert to the behaviour I'm used to?

Pressing control+tab gives me a similar but different window. It's not a problem but I don't really want it. Can I switch it off?


In the editor there is a 'Switcher Group' the macros that do that are there. Called I think 'activate window switcher' and 'activate application switcher'. Just click the tick box at the top of the macro. That is something you will need a lot. I have a lot of macros turned off, some of my own making.
However, I will say, that I find those macros among the most useful. You can control windows totally from the keyboard with their help I found.


Thanks Tudor

That's just what I wanted. I've taken your point about these being useful so I've left the ctrl+tab one as I don't use that shortcut myself. The cmnd+tab is hardwired into my brain so I've switched that off in KM but shift+cmd+tab is still activated and doesn't clash with my normal uses so I still have access to these functions if they prove as useful to me as they are to you.

KM is a massive improvement on the ancient QK. I wish I'd swapped years ago.



Hey David,

Welcome to the forum!  :sunglasses:

Not in every way. There are things QK did that KM won't do, and there are things QK made easier for the user than KM does.

That said – KM is modern, up-to-date, and superior in many respects.

I used QuicKeys myself from 1985 until 2012, and I started using Keyboard Maestro concurrently in 2004 – even so the transition of nearly 2000 macros was a bear.

Be sure to look through the transition guide for QK users:

Transition From QuicKeys [Keyboard Maestro Wiki]

You may want to look through some of the many QuicKeys related posts on the forum:

Search results for 'QuicKeys' - Keyboard Maestro Discourse

Help is available for everything:

Home Page [Keyboard Maestro Wiki]

Press the Option-key when mousing over commands in any of the Keyboard Maestro Editor's insert menus, and you'll see a help item.

Make sure you carefully review all the insert options – including Insert Action by Name.

Don't beat your head against the wall for more than 15-30 minutes if you're having trouble – search the forum and ask questions. We've got a friendly and helpful community here.



Thanks for this Chris - those links look very useful.

I've mostly been using QK for typing and to open things I use a lot. I did try to use it for more complex actions but ended up spending more time trying to get it to work than to either do the job manually or to use built in actions & scripting within the apps. Maybe I'll have more success with KM but for now its instant response to commands is a real treat after having to wait for every QK action to grind its way along.


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It didn't take me long to get stuck - can anyone explain why this macro doesn't work?

I want to select the menu item 'Word Count' under the 'Tools' menu in Microsoft Word. I have set the hot key and the action shows 'Select "Word Count" in the Menu "Tools" in Microsoft Word' which looks correct but I get the error 'Select menu item failed to find target menu item Tools>Word Count.


That's nice and easy to answer. You can just paste an image or even drag it directly into the body of your post. Here's your image re-posted. I'm sure in a few moments @ccstone will suggest that you also upload your actual Macro and will give you links explaining how to do that.

Without the actual Macro it is difficult to work out what might be going wrong. It might be that your Macro is in a Group that excludes Word or it might be the Menu command is not exactly what you have typed. Lots of possibilities - but all very simple to resolve.

From your screenshot I can give you a bit of advice about how to use Groups. One of the best uses of Groups is to limit Macros to work in certain Apps. So, I would suggest you start by making a Group called "Microsoft Word" and set that Group to only be Active when Microsoft Word is at the front. Then put all your specific Microsoft Word Macros into that Group. The advantage of this technique is that a shortcut (like ⌃F16) will do one thing when pressed in Word and can do other things when pressed when other Apps are at the front.


Thanks Chris, apologies for my clumsiness. Here (I hope) is what I should have posted to begin with:

Word count Macro (v9.2)

Word count.kmmacros (2.1 KB)


In my version of Word, at least, the relevant menu command is not "Word Count" but "Word Count…" - the ellipsis is critical, and moreover that is the ellipsis character, not three independent periods. So that's perhaps your problem.

In general, you don't need to type out the menu command you want KM to select, which is good since doing so can introduce errors (as probably happened here). Instead, go over the right side of the command box, where it says "Menu" with a little down arrow. Click that, and follow the pop-up option tree to choose the application, menu, (optional) submenu, and command you want, and they'll be filled in automatically and guaranteed correctly!


Hey David,

Got it.

@Shoshanna's answer was right on the money, and is a perfect example of why people need to post their macros (or an adequate test case) when asking for help.

No one could tell you'd left out the ellipsis from the “Word Count” menu item without eyeballing the macro.

Menu text can sometimes be tricky, so it's a good idea to use the Keyboard Maestro Editor's menu-selector-tool to populate the action.


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Hi Shoshanna

Thanks! And not just for spotting what I'd missed but also for the tip about getting KM to fill these fields and even more so for reminding me to really pay attention.

Works as it should now.



Hi David,

As another longtime QuickKeys user who made the transition to KM quite a while ago, my feeling at the time was identical to yours... I also wished I'd made the change much, much sooner.

In some cases I use KM for extremely simple tasks (ones that are strictly repetitive) and in other cases I find I actually have a great time getting KM to do things that seem impossible (and the satisfaction one gets when finding a way to automate something you've done, manually, for years, is really wonderful).

I'll also echo Zabobon's suggestion about organizing groups. I use the identical organization suggested in the post and it works great.

And, as you've probably noticed, very quickly, this forum is amazing.

Welcome !

Hi Chris

The 'groups' organising is similar in its effect to something I used a bit in QK but it's much easier to see what's what in KM and I'll be using this feature for my main apps (Photoshop, Acrobat & Photo Mechanic).

I have some ideas for more complex scripting but will need to wait till I'm less busy before I can try them out. You mentioned "getting KM to do things that seem impossible" and I'm curious as to the kind of thing you mean? Maybe you'll inspire me!


Hey David,

This video is a bit rough, but c'est la vie...

The task I solved today with a Keyboard Maestro macro is not terribly uncommon, and the principles it embodies may be used to do many other seemingly impossible things on the Mac.


Keyboard Maestro – Making the Impossible Possible on the Mac


I love watching the many different ways people maneuver Keyboard Maestro. Thanks for sharing this Chris! I would had done this so different using repeats and whiles to get to the same result. The insert by typing with the tab and return feed trick got me. I was like no freakin’ way! :grin:

Good hearing your voice too!

Take care,



That's really useful Chris. Thanks. I sometimes need to do a similar repetitive operation with metadata tables in my image management system and this principle could be a quicker way forward. I know there's a library of KM actions somewhere, I'll look it out see what other inspirations I find.


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You mean macros?

Look in the Keyboard Maestro Editor:

Menu-Bar ⇢ Window ⇢ Macro Library

Spend some time perusing the Keyboard Maestro Forum. There's a ton of examples.

Here's a good place to start:

Best Macro List


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