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Insanely great as Macs are, using them means losing some of your day to launching apps, hunting down files, and performing other routine iChores. Keyboard Maestro helps reclaim some of that time by letting you create custom macros--keyboard commands that automate lengthy or repetitive tasks and add new productivity tricks to your favorite applications. It’s a powerful package that can simplify any Mac user’s life, but if you’re not already comfortable with Macs, you may need to work a bit harder to get the most from the application.
Keyboard Maestro's macro editor offers plenty of options, but its sleek design keeps things simple.
Keyboard Maestro comes with predefined macros for everything from keyboard control of your cursor to searching Google from any application, but you’ll quickly learn how to build your own macros thanks to the streamlined editor and a handy tutorial. Just set a macro’s activation trigger, then choose from a searchable library of customizable actions you want to perform. Triggers can be hotkeys, system events, schedules, and more (even commands from the web or the Keyboard Maestro iPhone app). Actions activate button presses, text input, scripts, and almost anything else you can click, type, or move on your Mac. If you don’t see the exact action you want, you can record steps taken in any application and add them to your macro. When it’s finished, a macro can be activated individually or in a group, assigned to work globally or only in specific applications, and made available from a menu bar icon or floating palette for quick access. More than a one-trick macro machine, Keyboard Maestro also offers additional palettes that let you manage and control windows, multiple clipboards, and applications on the fly with--yeah, you guessed it--macros.
Despite everything Keyboard Maestro let us do, we still wanted a bit more. Macros can be shared manually, but can’t be synced automatically across multiple Macs. Actions are organized strictly according to preset categories; the ability to create our own organizational structure--or to save frequently used actions as favorites--would make macro design even easier. And while Keyboard Maestro strives mightily to meet novice users halfway, the extensive documentation assumes an understanding of nitty-gritty Mac and computer operations that not all users will share.
Minor missing features aside, Keyboard Maestro is a productivity-boosting toolkit worth a serious look. It may not get you out of the office any earlier, but its flexibility and features will juice your productivity.
COMPANY: Stairways Software Pty Ltd.
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.5 or later; 10.6 recommended
Lets you easily build shortcuts that speed up routine tasks. Floating palettes put window, app, and clipboard management a click away. Efficient interface.
Doesn’t sync shortcuts among Macs or allow custom organization of actions.