Liv's Beehive

TextExpander Functionality Using Keyboard Maestro

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Keyboard Maestro is extremely powerful, but sometimes it’s also really useful for simple things, too. Setting up TextExpander style functionality only requires a couple of steps.

The trigger

The first thing to do is set the trigger for the macro. From the New Trigger dropdown, select Typed String Trigger. Then in the text box type the trigger to expand. For example, for typing an email address a good trigger might be eml.

The dropdown to the right of the text field works the same as the ‘case’ dropdown in TextExpander. Selecting case must match means that typing Eml won’t match eml. Choosing case does not matter means that it will. Finally, case affects actions would mean that if you capitalise the trigger, the expansion will be capitalised.

The last thing to do is make sure that the checkbox Simulate [X] deletes before executing is checked, otherwise the trigger phrase won’t be deleted before the expansion is inserted.

Screenshot of Keyboard Maestro trigger settings set up as described above.

The actions

There are only two actions required to turn the trigger into an expansion. First, add an Insert Text action from the Text category. Leave the dropdown set to Insert text by pasting, and type the expansion into the text area. The Insert Token dropdown can be used to add all kinds of variables such as the current date, the current iTunes track or the result of a calculation.

Screenshot of Keyboard Maestro "Insert text by pasting" action described as above.

After setting up the expansion, add a Delete Past Cliboard action from the Clipboard category. This is used because the Insert Text By Pasting action adds the expansion to the clipboard, replacing anything previously copied. Change the value to 0 (the default is 1) and the macro is done.

Screenshot of Keyboard Maestro "Delete past clipboard" action described as above.

The end

Here's what the entire macro should look like:

Screenshot of the entire Keyboard Maestro macro, combining the trigger settings, insert text action, and delete past clipboard action.

Now in most applications typing the trigger will insert the text entered into the macro.