Same experience here. After using Keyboard Maestro for many years it was only really in the last year that I got the power and simplicity of the Conflict Palette.
Right from the start I realised that a great use of Keyboard Maestro would be to be able to quickly open the folders and files I use the most instead of constantly digging through folders to get to them. To that end I made a simple Macro to open a specific folder and gave it a hot key that I would remember - so, in my case ⌃⌥⌘D would open my Dropbox Folder. But I quickly ran out of letters. So, for example, what shortcut would I use to open the Desktop Folder? ⌃⌥⌘D was already being used so I avoided that key combination. I limited myself to 26 shortcuts for the 26 folders I opened the most. Then it suddenly dawned on me (about a year ago) that it would actually be good to use the same shortcut as that way I didn't have to remember anything. If I wanted to open the Desktop Folder I could just take a guess that I would have assigned it ⌃⌥⌘D. Up pops the Conflict Palette and from there I just click on the folder I want to open. Really fast and hardly anything to remember.
It is like the Conflict Palette is actually the most powerful and user friendly and forgiving feature of Keyboard Maestro. And yet it took me ages to get it. And @JMichaelTX@hello@KevinCoates all had the same experience.
I wonder if it is not just to do with the name but the way it is presented or not presented when a new user first installs Keyboard Maestro? Maybe if it were one of the first things that a new user was prompted to use it would get taken up faster? Certainly when it popped up in the past I used to think "oops - I've made a mistake" rather than "wow - what a great feature".
Yup, I agree with all of the above. The conflict palette felt like a mistake when I first came across it.
Just as an example of how flexible they can be, I now have two groups of Finder macros, one always active, one active when Finder is at the front. All macros with the same hotkey.
So the content of the Finder conflict palette changes depending on whether it’s invoked with Finder at the front. Being careful with the macro names means that the automatically generated hot keys don’t change, so muscle memory isn’t messed up, and the hot keys are anyway highlighted on screen which helps in learning them.
I fortunately found "Conflict Palettes" fairly quickly -- I'm still in my first week of using KBM. However, I too ran into the "not enough hot key choices" problem fairly quickly. I already use a program called CurrentKey Stats to set hotkeys to change to one of 16 different desktops spread between my laptop and my external monitor.
What I really wanted was a way to create a sequence of hotkeys. I use MacVim a lot and it allows me to do that for macros I define there. So all the steps in a particular workflow can all start with, e.g., F2 followed by a letter with or without modifiers to identify the individual steps.
The only sequences specifically offered by KBM are text characters. You cannot include modifier keys in the triggering text sequences. That frustrated me.
By luck and happenstance, I came across a reference to using Conflict Palettes this way and it's pretty close to what I wanted -- close enough to be very useful. The major downside is that it is not "intuitive" to define the macros that way using the Macro Trigger option and the first letters of the macro names. But I'm figuring it out.
I've mentioned this before on the Forum - but the system that works very well for me is to leave the "most used" of the Macro names as a single letter. That way when the Conflict Palette comes up I just hit Return to trigger that one. All the other Macros that get pulled into the Conflict Palette need to have names beginning with the same letter for this to work. And I only do this when there is one Macro I really use a lot. In the example below ⌃⌥⌘K followed by Return takes me to this forum ︎
Also - I give my Macros simple white Icons rather then the default ones Keyboard Maestro generates. So, in the example below I can see at a glance that two of the Macros take me to folders and the "Default" one at the top takes me to the Keyboard Maestro Website.
And the very powerful thing about the Conflict Palette is that these Macros are in different Groups. The only thing that links them is that they share the same shortcut:
That may be true. But I'd hazard to guess that most KM users are NOT programmers, and that usage is likely lost on them. Maybe I missed it in the many programming languages I have used/studied, but its intended usage in KM did NOT popout to me.