Write KM macros faster? Workflows, best practices, automation

When writing a macro, I find myself…

  • clicking “show actions list”
  • putting the cursor in the “Actions” search field
  • typing what I’m looking for (say, “variable text” for “Set Variable to Text”)
  • moving the newly added action to the right place, and adapting it

I was wondering if any of you hardcore Keyboard Maestro users have a workflow that’s faster. Perhaps some of you have even made a macro to make making macros faster? I wouldn’t be surprised.

I seached the forum and found this thread by @ccstone – but it seems that’s about managing macros, not about adding actions when putting together a new macro.

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The two major ways I've sped up my macro creation are

  1. Taking advantage of the Insert Action by Name feature, mapped to ⌃⌘A by default:

I don't remember if this was added in KM 7 or 8, but it's such an invaluable addition to my macro creation workflow that I never use the Show Actions list anymore.

  1. KMFAM
    This amazing KM addition by @DanThomas makes it super easy to store and access customized actions and even macro templates, and is a perfect complement to Insert Action by Name when the stock version of an action just won't do for your needs. You can find it here:
    MACRO: [KMFAM] Favorite Actions and Macros

FYI, the “Search by name” feature was present in version 7 at least. Not sure if it was in earlier versions. And thanks for the kind words. :slight_smile:


Thanks @gglick – that was exactly what I was looking for.

I hadn’t known about Ctrl-Cmd-A. Will start using that, and then look into @DanThomas’s Macro, which looks awesome. Thanks for making that video, @DanThomas. That really makes it so much clearer what the Macro does.

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Thanks! Glad to know it helped! I use KMFAM so often, it’s like second nature. One time, while I was fiddling with the code, even though it worked fine and everyone knows “if it works, don’t mess with it”, I broke something. So while I was fixing what I broke, and I needed to add some actions, it took me a while to remember how to add them without KMFAM. :slight_smile:

Tools are so addictive - when I’m without them, I’m helpless! The only way I’d ever give up using KM is if you pulled it from my cold dead fingers. @peternlewis, my “dealer”, LOL.

I haven’t told you lately, Peter, how much I still love and appreciate KM. I use it constantly, every day. And the way it’s helped speed up my video editing process in FCPX is really kind of amazing. Every day I find myself thinking about you and mow much KM means to me, and I keep wishing there was some way for you to know how much of an impact it makes on my life. Every. Day. So, thanks.

Too much caffeine this morning? Definitely. Stop talking now, Dan…



I too use this great tool by @DanThomas. I use it with virtually every macro I write.

Such a great tool I need to use more often!

I completely feel the same!!

@peternlewis certainly improved the list of what shows up in version 8 when you do Comtrol (Command+Control (⌃)) + A. Funny I just today was thinking I need to delete my daily reminder in OmniFocus to stop reminding me to use that key command because it is now just second nature to use it.

I use the following also created by @DanThomas all the time to paste in macros that I use often with shortcuts.

I came here looking for something @JMichaelTX said in a post that he uses everyday in creating his macros that you write. It wasn’t what Dan posted in his video because I have been using that nearly every time I write a macro.

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