What I want for Christmas for Keyboard Maestro

Dear forum members.

First off I want to say that I love KM. It's saved me countless amount of time. The more I learn it the more I love it. But as with anything in life, there's always room for improvement. I personally am always looking for way to improve my workflows. I know perfection will never be achieved but that's what keeps it interesting doesn't it?

I've been thinking lately about some features that I would love for the creator to consider. I'm sure he has a lot on his plate—as we all do. But hear me out please and let me know what you think. So here goes my wishlist:

  1. Ability to right-click on an "Execute Macro" action and choose "Open in new editor window". This would save a lot of time for obvious reasons.

  2. As soon as you choose any of the "Engroup" options, KM should automatically enter rename mode so user can immediately type a name for the group without having to right-click and point to "Rename". If user doesn’t want to give it a name, they will simply press enter.

  3. A new set of coloring features for actions: I envision the ability for user to create a color palette with their own set of colors. A new button would appear somewhere in the Editor that would allow users to "Apply color set". Doing so would apply each color to a type of action. An example color set would apply yellow to all Pause actions, orange to all Prompts, red to all Cancel This Macro, Green to all Set Clipboard or Variables. This would all be assignable via a new window perhaps called "Action Color Assignments". The user would still be able to change the color of actions manually (essentially overriding the colors).

By the way, is there a way to submit feature/improvement requests so users can vote? I think I've seen this for other software products. If not, we could create a database for these and have users vote. The creator would then consider implementing the top requests.

I look forward to hearing for the forum members.

Thanks for reading.

All three of your ideas appear to pertain to the KM Editor, and not the KM Engine. That's fine. I'm just clarifying that. Your fourth suggestion about voting pertains to the KM website. I'm not sure that the author of KM has much control over the features of the website. But he certainly controls the Editor and Engine. And his decisions are ultimately up to him. He once explained on a post what his criteria were for choosing new features (I'm too lazy right now to find that post for you.) In the end it's basically that he does what he thinks is best for the product.

As for your specific idea, I would modify #1 to say this: add a menu item in the Execute Macro action to say "Jump to this Macro" and the editor would immediately go there. This doesn't require multiple windows and might still get you some of that functionality you are hoping for in this regard. I'm not sure why he doesn't use multiple windows but this idea would probably capture the spirit of your requirement without multiple windows.

Waitasec. I just noticed a BACK button (and forward button) in the KM editor. I had never noticed that before. That could almost get you what you want. If you open the two macros you can quickly flip between them using these buttons. It's not what you asked for but it may let you alternate quickly between two different macros.

I did notice the BACK and FORWARD buttons but I never seem to make much use of them.

About your suggestion to update my #1 request: I would want to open the macro in a new window. Also, the latest version of KM does allow multiple windows so I don't see this being too difficult to implement.

Sorry about not knowing that KM9 supports multiple windows. I'm just an average user here, not one of the elites here who know everything.

Great idea! You can do most of that now with this great macro by @DanThomas :

MACRO: Go To Executed Macro

It should not be too hard to mod this macro to open in a new Editor Window. Just add a Select Menu Action.

Another good idea, but I'm not sure how many users would want to automatically rename the Group Action. I usually do, but I'm not sure it should be the default behavior.

My suggestion would be for KM to add a shortcut key to rename any Action.

I'm sure you could write a macro/script to do this.

Not a bad idea, but I'm not sure how many users would really want/use this.

Meanwhile, you can achieve this by creating your own custom Actions, and saving them to a "database" known as KMFAM. Another great macro by @DanThomas:

MACRO: [KMFAM] Favorite Actions and Macros

While this meets your request, it goes much further. Being able to fully customize any Action (even multiple versions of same Action) and quickly find and insert it is very powerful.

JMichaelTX thanks for your suggestions. Definitely a work-around. However, in my opinion It would be best to have these features "built-in" as opposed to creating macros for them.. As far as how many users like these requested features—hopefully we'll find out soon.

Nope, not hard at all (magenta action, below). And it works! Cool idea, guys.

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@project_guru - I agree with all the suggestions you made in your first post (haven't read anything else, really).

Even though I wrote a macro for going to an executed macro, I can't believe @peternlewis hasn't implemented this natively. Like you said - right-click, and either "Go to executed macro" or "Open in new window".

Doing a new "Engroup" and having it ready for rename would be awesome. But like Jim said, if there was just a hotkey for it, that would be cool to.

And new colors - I've wanted that for a long time.

You know you can reveal the target macro in the Execute Macro action? So actually the process is currently:

  • Click on the macro selector, and select “Select Macro” (from the current selection)
  • Command-Control-N New Editor Window
  • Command-Option-E Select Last Edited

You have to switch to the other editor window technically to get to the one you opened, and there is no Cycle Windows command, so you'd need a macro to active window 2, but that and the last two actions could all be done with a macro.

Not that there is anything wrong with your request, just its not likely to happen any time soon.

It could do this, but I probably wouldn't. It is not the way Keyboard Maestro behaves anywhere else when creating an action, and I would guess most users never rename actions anyway (although that could be an argument for it to encourage them in a new feature). But the return for effort&complexity value is probably not there for implementing this.

This is highly unlikely to ever be done. Maybe I'll add more colors some day, but very unlikely I would implement color sets. It is the sort of thing you probably could do using AppleScript, and I would be more likely to enhance the AppleScript support as required than implement this kind of feature.

No, there is no feature request user voting system, and I would never create such a thing.

You can request features here, or directly to support@stairways.com. Either way, if I think they are valid requests they are added to the todo list.

But the order of implementing requests is dependent on many factors:

  • How well it integrates with the rest of Keyboard Maestro
  • How many people it will help
  • How much it will help those people
  • How much work will it take to implement
  • How much complexity will it add to Keyboard Maestro
  • Does it fit in with/extend other features
  • Will it fit in with planned future features
  • Will it block other avenues of Keyboard Maestro expansion, or make other features more difficult.

The votes from the very small number of people who are on the forum and/or would vote would not change that calculation.

This forum is an awesome resource, but it represents only a tiny percentage of Keyboard Maestro users.

This isn't automatic but you can set up a hotkey for renaming the selected action.


Funny. Keyboard Macro is an application who's primary goal is making shortcuts, and you suggest to make a shortcut for Keyboard Maestro within System Preferences....

Nothing wrong with it!

Very interesting. I knew about creating your own keyboard shortcuts via MacOS prefs but I didn't know that you can type a "hyphen" and a "greater than" (->) character to target a submenu item. Is this documented somewhere?

I like vincent_ardern's workaround of creating a shortcut for renaming selected action.

Out of the 3 requests I submitted. Please do consider the one where you could right-click on an "Execute Macro" action and choose "Open in new editor window". It's quite counterproductive to have to go find each macro especially when you have a large library. I know you can search but still.

Many of us prefer to keep all, or at least most, shortcuts in KM. You can easily create a KM macro with whatever hotkey you want to use the KM Menu Action to rename an Action.

Going to the selected macro is done via the macro selection menu.

The reason it is there and not as a contextual menu is because lots of actions have macro selections, and in all of them you can go to the selected macro by using the macro selector.

There could also be an option to open it in a new window, but I'm not sure there is enough need for that to be worth the extra menu item.

Unfortunately, this is NOT intuitive to use or find. Very few will ever discover this.
Since the Gear menu is where we all expect Action Options to be found, it would be most intuitive and useful to add a "Open target macro in new window".

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If I may ask, what was the main incentive for multiple editor windows in KM 9?

Peter will have his reasons, but as one of the original requestors of this feature, I can say the incentive/purpose is the same as we all have with apps that provide multiple "documents": To be able to easily read, refer-to, and copy-from one Macro to another.

Great, then hopefully Peter will also make it easier to access an external macro that's running inside of another.