Stupid question: to use typed string triggers, I have to be in an editor. Is there some workaround?

Typinator's search bar is possibly (not a user!) not a "proper" window. Easy way to find out -- make an hot key triggered macro that simply displays %WindowName%Front%, activate the Typinator search bar, run the macro, find out the name of the front window.

But now I'm really confused -- why do you want to have KM typed string macros in a Group and have them only active when you're searching for them? Why search for a KM macro in Typinator at all? What am I missing?

You are right. In the typinator window, the macro generates

In addition, typinator is not the app at the front. A possible solution is to make the cursor location (always the same) as a condition

I want to use the typinator search window because I am used to it and its hotkey, and it's an even simpler alternative to stickies (clears and closes automatically, etc)

thank you

So just as a "target" to type your typed string triggers into? I think you've a much better chance with succeeding using Stickies. For example -- set things up by opening Stickies, make a new note, type into it "KM Typed String Triggers" (without the quotes). Don't close that Stickie, just quit Stickies.

You can then use this macro to open your Stickie "prompt", type your string trigger into it, and as soon as any other app activates Stickies will Hide:

Typed Strings in Stickies Test.kmmacros (4.0 KB)


that's the part that I did not understand, which led me to looking for convoluted solutions. Thank you very much @Nige_S and @Frankb !!

Interesting thread!

I have a very simple answer to the original question:

Yes, I have an easy workaround! There is one condition, you may not use modifiers or anything other than [a-z0-9].

So, not including quotes, I personally have typed string triggers like ["bfr", "pt", "live", "su", "sd"] which are set to trigger things, mostly single apps, shortcuts, or macros, such as "StartUp" or "ShutDown" referring to su or sd typed strings.

I actually trigger them when Finder is focused. For me, that's generally an easy mouse click between some windows, or a quick key macro that focuses the Finder. When Finder has focus, I use an F-key to turn on the command palette containing my typed string triggers. Every time a string trigger fires, the macro I trigger turns the palette off so typed strings are only listened for after hitting F-something, triggering one, then it turns off.

Using [a-z0-9] only, the icon selected on the desktop might jump around (if you type "doc", "document.txt" will be selected maybe, but if you don't hit [cmd+o], nothing will open).

I don't need to be using an editor or text field. The icon selection jumping around is sort of the only weird thing.

When I turn on my secondary display and docks and devices for my audio work, finally pressing the power button on my iMac, I then have a flow to open and organize my windows for the work of the day. Flowing my hands in one direction, then hitting the F-key on the other way, and typing "su" then going another way and returning to the F-key again "mb" is ergonomically satisfying. Less clicking and moving the mouse in repetitive motions.

a very smart original idea. I will try it.

I'm sorry: I don't understand.

thanks very much for your post

Ah, that second part is about pressing, specifically, F13 to turn on the Command Palette or Group (not sure the right term) that listens for typed strings. Every time I want to type a string for a trigger, I press F13, when Finder is focused. So when I want to type 2 triggers, I press F13 a second time. My hands kind of flow around keyboard instead of mouse clicking a greater number of times.

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OK I understand thank you

I live in this world. A "do anything, anywhere, anytime" button. My F13 key brings up a Magic Input Window. Very short typed codes are checked by conditionals on the variable. If none match, quietly fails. It's ridiculously simple/clumsy but allows for any kind of macro activity. Does requires hitting the Return/Enter key, which depending on how fast/how often you are triggering, could be undesirable. Adding new conditional blocks might be slower than what you have in mind. Hitting F13 is easy for muscle memory.

Examples of vital "anywhere" commands I use: 1. activate Pro Tools and stop playback. 2. mute the speakers. 3. sleep the screen. 4. starting inter-app macros regardless of where you are. 5. cancel all KM macros. 6. opening specific files. 7. web browser interactions. 8. other app-specific duties, where if you happen to be there, the macros work, but quietly fail if not. 9. lunging into action from a state of overwhelm.

I'm in Pro Tools/other DAWs where keystrokes are constantly getting trapped by unwanted focus areas, and open plugins and popups of plugins. It's nice to have a knife that cuts through it all, and in some cases, can help reset the situation. Reliability, with speed.

Your needs may be different from this; for me this "fifty fewer things to think about" solution has been a real brain-saver.


@nednednerb If I understand you correctly, you use the Finder as front app for your strings, because in the Finder only the focus changes when you type certain letters? So nothing bad is happening.

It would be even better if nothing happens at all. This works if you create an empty "string folder", and only type the strings when that is the front window.

Honestly, I think your idea is pretty good :grinning: :grinning: :grinning:

As far as I can see, that's "safe." Not even if you type Enter something happens.

@ronald Try this. This could be the ideal "input window". No prefix, no suffix, no nothing. Or am I overlooking something?

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Mainly, IMO, that you have to change context to do it. The Finder is, perhaps, worse than Stickies -- particularly if you want to trigger a macro that works on a Finder selection/window!

I prefer the consistency of "typed string triggers for text expansions etc, hot keys for 'full' macros" (and I realise there's a false dichotomy there in many cases), but that's just the way my head works -- other people should go with what works for them.

What does amaze me is that people run out of hot keys before they run out brain to remember them in! I do wonder if these macros aren't being properly scoped (letting the same trigger do different macros, depending on context) or are often multiples of essentially the same macro but with tweaks for different apps/situations (one trigger, one macro, branches depending on context).

@Nige_S Stickies was my original idea, but that has the disadvantage that something is actually typed there.

In an empty Finder folder, no typing is done, but the string is recognized.

Suppose a macro does the following

  • i press "8"
  • the empty folder becomes the front window
  • I type a string that only works if the empty folder is the front window.
  • Action: eg switch to the browser and a page opens.

I haven't really thought this through yet, but this seems workable to me. :man_shrugging:

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yes and your ideal of an empty folder is very interesting. thank you

yes, you must have a macro which opens the empty folder

And why is that a disadvantage? I'd say it is actually an advantage -- a visual cue as to what's being typed!

...already limiting that macro to particular contexts. And losing the current Finder selection/target, so you can't use this method for any of those useful functions. And probably some other things I haven't thought of.

I'm sure it could be made to work, as long as use was restricted. I'm sure some people will find it a good way to do things. I just don't really understand the problem it's trying to solve, other than "I don't like hot key triggers".

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Because something has to be undone. If nothing is typed, nothing has to be undone. I experimented with the stickies for a long time. That always everything is deleted correctly is not so easy to do, trust me :wink:

Yes, that's what I thought at first too. But the reality is that strings don't need visual control if you want everything to work really fast. I used something I can type with the fingers of one hand, ff, fa, fd, etc. No nonsense with prefix or suffix.

You're right about your criticism, though. In my experience, strings are overrated because people think they are easier to remember than shortcuts. This is not the case, especially when there are a lot of strings. That's why I stopped using them.

But if someone wants to do that, it seems to me that an empty folder is preferable to stickies. :slightly_smiling_face:

Anyway :slightly_smiling_face:

@Nige_S would you be so kind to help me here. Thank you very much. :pray:

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Interesting. Not something I've noticed, though that's probably because of a much lower frequency of use and also because I'm a much, much slower typer than you!

Not really a problem though. It doesn't matter how much text is in a Stickie if you change the condition in my earlier macro to "Windows with titles matching ^KM Typed String Triggers", and if you were worried about too much text slowing Stickies down you could include a contents check/replace.

Again, the benefit of using Stickies over the Finder as a "typing target" is that you don't change Finder context to trigger a macro -- whether that's enough of a benefit will depend on how you use Finder, and especially on whether you have macros that use %FinderInsertionLocation% or %FinderSelection[s]% tokens.

And vastly underrated because people forget they can use regular expression matches in the trigger. One of my triggers is ;//[-ilou]?;, where ;//; expands to today's date as dd/MM/yyyy while the optional switches provide other formats I regularly use.

Not much of a palette user. I can see what Peter's getting at, but I don't know how to do it!

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Of course, if you use regex it opens new worlds. But I don't think these are the strings that @ronald or a user like me meant. For me, it was always about typing two letters at most very quickly to trigger an action. And I believed that I could remember these two letters better than a shortcut. Unfortunately, that did not prove to be true. :slightly_smiling_face:

Ah, and thanks for having a look at my other problem. Let's see if Peter gets back to me.

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