KeySmith Automation on the Mac
I’m quite impressed with KeySmith automation on the Mac. You can record a macro to do any number of things on your computer and it will play it back for you. Open applications and click on buttons. Automatically type in text and run AppleScript commands. It’s easy to use compared to Keyboard Maestro and has enough tools for most people. My recommendation would be to use it in conjunction with other applications such as Keyboard Maestro, Better Touch Tool and Alfred to expand your automation options. Start an automation from KeySmith with a keyboard shortcut and use keyboard shortcuts from other applications such as Moom, Alfred or Better Touch to keep things moving. It isn’t quite a Shortcuts for Mac, but it’s going in that direction.
KeySmith Automation Tutorial
Getting Started with KeySmith Automation
There’s a webpage with examples which you can bring into the application by clicking on a link in the Safari webpage. Most of these examples are fairly simple with only one or two actions. There are some which merely open up an application. If you already have something like Alfred it might seem a little pointless. Although, you do save a couple of keystrokes. You could have a shortcut where you press both command keys and a number to open up a specific application. This would work quicker than using the command spacebar keyboard shortcut with Alfred, typing in a couple of letters to start a search for an application followed by pressing Enter or command + a number. A small time-saving when you’re only opening just one application. You could make it more useful if you regularly work with two or three applications at the same time. Use KeySmith to open as many applications as you want with just one keyboard shortcut. You can follow that with a global keyboard shortcut in the macro to activate Moom to organise the Desktop.
Thanks a Bunch - KeySmith Alternative
Bunch is another app (from Brett Terpstra) which is even better for opening multiple apps. It also runs AppleScript commands. Easy to edit the files to make all the magic happen. Thumbs up from Good and Geeky!
Worth getting and using alongside KeySmith.
Making KeySmith Macros From Scratch
1. Click on the button to start a new macro.
2. Click the button to record – open up your applications, click whatever buttons you need to click, keep going until you have everything done.
3. To test your new KeySmith macro you’ll need to close down the applications you’ve just opened up with your recording.
4. Use the keyboard shortcut if you’ve already assigned one, if not click on the button – Run.
5. Most times this will work fine and if it doesn’t you’ll see notifications to tell you where it has failed. There are occasions when you might need to insert an action to wait a second or two. I found it sometimes necessary to change it from clicking on an element within an app. Change from an element such as text entry and to use an action which clicks on screen as a specific pixel point. I don’t know why this would’ve worked better, but it did. I also found recording keyboard shortcuts worked better than some clicks.
6. Run it a few times to test it. I made one and it worked great. To make sure it worked the subsequent times I had to add an action at the end to close the app I was working with. For now we have to go to the right side of the screen to get the ‘More’ drop down menu. There are six choices including the option to delete the action.
Limited in Scope
I would like to have IF actions to add logic to the macro. Could do with a way to add ‘Open App’ when adding actions manually. I’d like to see these actions as drag and drop options from a side panel.
A Drafts Example
I dictate into drafts and I made a Keysmith macro which works globally to open Drafts and start a new draft. It then does a couple of key combinations to clear the screen ready for receiving text. I finish off with another keyboard shortcut which turns on the dictation and turns off the TextExpander for while I am dictating.
System Preferences - Dark and Light Modes
Two separate macros – one to turn on light mode and the other to turn on dark mode. Much faster than manually opening System preferences and going to the right tab to get it done. You could set other system setting at the same time to have things just right for your productivity environment on your Mac.
Sound to HomePod
This one changes to sound output from the speakers I have connected to the Mac to the HomePod. It works a treat and is so much faster to get the job done.
I find it works better to get the sound going to the Homepod by using KeySmith.
Notes App as a Journal
I like to use DayOne as my journal app. If you don’t want to pay a subscription and want something with fewer features but does the job, use this macro. It will open Notes and get the current date to paste to the top of the note. you could also add other text as a template if that suited you.
Encrypt Text in an App with Paranoia Text Encryption App
This is a more complicated macro which I ran through first without recording before doing it again for real. It starts in Drafts where I do most of my writing. I set it to:
1. Select all the text
2. Copy to clipboard
3. Open Paranoia Text Encryption
4. Paste the clipboard text in the right place
5. Fill in the password in two places
6. Click the button to encrypt the pasted text
7. Make selection of the encrypted text and put it on the clipboard
8. Go back into Drafts and select everything
9. Paste the encrypted text over the top
10. Go back to Paranoia Text Encryption and close the application
11. To finish off with a flourish I run an AppleScript to say “It’s Encrypted.”
I did have to add a wait for three seconds to give Paranoia Text Encryption to open up properly. This is to make sure the KeySmith application has somewhere on which to click and paste the text ready for encryption. When I first did it I didn’t have the Paranoia Text Encryption application closing at the end. The next time I ran the KeySmith macro it didn’t work because there was already text in there from the previous time. By closing the application it puts it into a virgin state ready for the next time I need it.
I now have a macro which I can run by pressing the two command keys and F1 and it works perfectly every time. It would be nice to have an ‘ask for input’ action so I could choose the password I require for the encryption. This would involve having variables available in KeySmith. So this is another thing I would like to see added to the application at a later stage. or I will have to have one KeySmith macro which opens up the app and does everything to the point of password required, then another to follow finishing off the KeySmith automation.