Tip: Using Keyboard Maestro to Consolidate Keystrokes

I like to use keystroke shortcuts over selecting menus or clicking on icons as much as possible, but like many of us I have a limited capacity to remember what shortcut executes what command. Yesterday on the Lonely Proton blog I saw an interesting tip for combining Keyboard Maestro macros into one shortcut. The idea is that once you can create multiple macros that are called by the same shortcut, and then you can select the desired macro from the list, using the 1-9 key to select the item in the list.

I created a series of macros that all create something ‘new’ in DEVONthink-rich text, plain text, with clipboard, etc. and assigned them all the shortcut Command-N. While that is the same shortcut that DEVONthink uses for new with clipboard, Keyboard Maestro will override the default action. You can call multiple sub-menus with Keyboard Maestro, as is the case with this template to create an OmniOutliner document in a custom template folder that I created for DEVONthink.

Here is the menu to the OmniOutliner template…

Here is what the macro looks like to create the OmniOutliner document…

Note that I prefixed the name of the macro with a ‘7’ as this a) forces the macro to appear as item #7 in the list and b) serves as a cue that I need to press the 7 key to activate the macro from the HUD list. You’ll want to set the macros to only activate in DEVONthink to avoid a conflict in other applications. Also keep in mind that if you call a menu such as ‘Smart Group…’, the ‘…’ is not 3 periods-it is an ellipsis, which is typed as ‘Option-;’.

Here is my Keyboard Maestro HUD menu when activated in DEVONthink Pro with Command-N…


The following addition to a macro to create a new document will open the new document in the default external editor. You may need to adjust the pause delay depending on the speed of your Mac.

Addition to the text file macros to prefix the name of the newly created file as yyyy-mm-dd-, where the document name prefix for a document created June 15, 2011 will appear as 2011-06-15-’ with the cursor appearing after the last ‘-’ to complete the document name.

Keyboard Maestro will accept any ICU Date Code string to customize as needed.

My apologies if anyone has viewed this in the past two weeks and the images were missing. TinyGrab has screwed with my images for the last time. I’ve reconstructed the images and posted them using Captured (available in the Mac App Store).

Thanks very helpful - esp. The information about ellipsis (option + ; = … )

Thanks again!

You are literally the best, thanks for this.

In harmony with you,
A. J.