Mac automators - Keyboard Maestro or something else?

I figure somebody here will likely know this.

In Windows I’m currently using an Autohotkey script to select various pieces of text in Scrivener’s editor (and elsewhere) and copy it into the synopsis and/or various metadata fields, it’s about 10 operations all told, but I’m doing it 100’s of times, so I need it automated and bound to a key or mouse button.

I’m switching to Mac this weekend, so I’m just wondering what’s the best OS X app to do this. Keyboard Maestro looks promising from what I’ve read, but it seems there’s several options. Like would that be better to use an Applescript/Automator thingy? I’m not going to have as much time as I’d like to play around and try out all the various options.

Thanks for any suggestions.

I am currently experimenting with Keyboard Maestro and I am very delighted about the possibilities it provides and how easy they are to manage.

Automator and Applescript I’ve always found too complicated to handle and too limited as well (I never found the Automator action I needed in any given “real” case).

Keyboard Maestro provides a free 30-days demo, so I’d suggest this choice. But I’m a newbie, maybe others will add better options.

For your purposes, and any other automating tasks on a Mac you might require to be done, there are a number of applications that you could invest in: Keyboard Maestro, Launchbar, Alfred, Butler, or combinations of them, plus of course as you mention OS X’s own automation features. Each has its fans. For your particular purpose, Keyboard Maestro or Automator may be the simplest. My advice? Buy and read this ebook first: Take Control of Automating Your Mac - (I believe the book also offers discounts on the best-known “productivity” applications.)

I had a similar problem in Papers 3:
I wanted to copy various bits of information (reference, cite key, annotations, Papers-link) for an article to Scapple, so I had to Copy X, switch to Scapple, create entrypoint in Scapple, paste X, switch back to Papers3, copy Y, switch to Scapple, go to end of previously pasted text, paste Y, switch back to Papers3, etc. Fifteen key and mouse clicks altogether for each reference I wanted to copy to Scapple. I tried Alfred, the built in automator in OS X, … Nothing worked.

The solution suddenly presented itself when the crew behind Papers 3 decided to include Apple script in Papers. They also provided the basics for the script I needed, so now I run the Apple script, switch to Scapple, create entrypoint, and paste all the information in the way I want it. Four key clicks. :slight_smile:

Apple script in Scrivener would solve your problem. I think KB wants suggestions about what to include when Apple script is introduced in Scrivener…

Keyboard Maestro is hands down the best Mac macro utility. It is amazingly powerful.


Thanks for the suggestions.

I haven’t gotten around to attempting automation yet.

First I have to figure out how to increase all the font sizes, looks like OS X doesn’t have a global font scaling setting anywhere.

And I keep scrolling in the wrong direction. I have that natural scrolling option turned on - no troubles with the trackpad, but it’s going to take a while to overcome the muscle memory for the mouse wheel.

This morning it took me five minutes to figure out why I couldn’t paste - because it’s cmd+v, not ctrl+v - and I even knew about that ahead of time. :laughing: :blush:

…this is going to take some getting used to…

Does CMD A (to select all the text) and then CMD + and CMD - do what you want?

I made myself think of the mouse as a mini touch screen. Kicked my brain into gear.

Possibly, but I was thinking more system-wide. Windows has options in the Control Panel to do that globally.

So I was looking for something similar. From my googling, it appears you need to do it on an app by app basis in OSX. I emailed myself a bunch of articles with instructions on how to adjust it in Finder and Mail and such, which I’ll try out tomorrow.

Unfortunately clients don’t want to wait for me to futz around, so work is still happening in Windows until I get more familiar with the Mac side of things.

Ah, I misunderstood. Apologies.

You might find something suitable in:

 > System Preferences > Universal Access

(Haven’t got Yosemite on this Mac, so I can’t check the options available right now.)

The different Home/End key behaviour is really going to take some getting used to.

So that’s what that symbol looks like. On Windows that’s basically just a box.

Edit: Like so - Capture.PNG

Just an update to this thread:

I finally got around to the automation side of things last week (maybe two weeks ago, I forget), and wow is Keyboard Maestro ever easy to use.

I’ve got three macros set up so far. 1 for Scrivener. 1 for Aeon Timeline. And 1 which, after an unfortunate incident with a poorly constructed loop, cancels all running macros ( :blush: ).

If the little Time Saved stat is believable, it’s already saved me over 4 days of time, so yeah, that’s money well spent.

Now I’m looking around to see what else I might be able to automate. 8)

FYI: If you select text in the editor and use Documents->Auto-Generate Synopsis (or use the keyboard shortcut), it will copy the selected text into the synopsis field of that document. Obviously, if you need something more elaborate, then KM is going to be your tool of choice.

Something that a Mac newbie may not be aware of is the Help->Search field in most applications. I used it to find all menu items that have “synopsis” in their names. Very handy for discovering new menu items or finding ones you know are in there somewhere.

Yeah, that feature is great.

I showed that to my wife the first time I stumbled across it and she said “See, now that’s how it should be.”

She’s said that a couple of times after I show her something on the Mac. I have a feeling we’re going to be getting another one somewhere down the line.