This a bit specific, but if you have OmniFocus and Keyboard Maestro…

…wait, let me tell you what those are. They are gorgeous. Now read on.

Okay. OmniFocus is my beloved To Do task manager and it comes up a lot on this site. If you’re not sure what it does, wait ten seconds and I’ll have a new mention of it. Keyboard Maestro is different: I have mentioned it but usually in passing or when it’s been on sale. It’s one of those tools that you set up and forget, so I rather set it up and forgot about it.

Keyboard Maestro lets you tap a couple of keys and set your Mac off doing all sorts of things. I have a key that opens OmniFocus. (Told you.) There’s a fault on my MacBook Pro where the Q and W keys don’t work and it looks like getting it fixed would be both expensive and time consuming. So I’ve told Keyboard Maestro to type a “w” when I press Command-1. And similar for capital W, q and Q.

I think there are more, but you come to believe that your Keyboard Maestro setup is just a normal part of your Mac. I’d need to go to another Mac and use it for a while before I could tell what Keyboard Maestro does by seeing what that Mac doesn’t.

But I have been the very smallest, slightest user of this software and that will change by about a pixel today as I’ve discovered a way to use it to solve an itch:

Using Keyboard Maestro, I was able to create a script that, when executed, creates and sends a custom-built email to my OmniFocus Mail Drop—and containing a direct link back to the original Mail message.

Specifically, here’s what the script does:

It executes a Keyboard Maestro script called “Get Message URL” which calculates the URL to the currently selected Mail message. (That script simply executes some AppleScript, which I’ve included below.)
Prompts me for a short text to be used as the todo title.
Sets a variety of Keyboard Maestro variables.
Creates an email message whose subject and body content are built from those variables—including the link to the original message—and then sends that email to my Mail Drop address.
Archives the original Mail message—since at that point, I’m done with it.

Using Keyboard Maestro to create todos in OmniFocus 2 that are linked to original messages in Mail – Matt Henderson, The Defacto Blog (23 May 2014)

Did you get that? The full feature has much more of an explanation plus diagrams – I should have more diagrams on this The Blank Screen, shouldn’t I? – and it’s also got the specific details you need to use this yourself.

Which is the specific detail I am this very minute taking in order to do this myself.

Nearly forgot: Keyboard Maestro for Mac costs £23.05 in the UK and is available here.

UPDATE: Done. Took me 17 minutes by the look of it. From a standing start, an “eh?” to running, working and using this.

Recommendation: Keyboard Maestro for Mac

I mean it when I say TextExpander seems to be everywhere I turn and I also mean it when I say that Mac and iOS app is becoming a mandatory tool for me. But it’s not the only utility that watches for your keystrokes and does interesting things with them. There is also Keyboard Maestro.

Here’s what it does, nicked from the official website:

Whether you are a power user or a grandparent (or both!), your time is precious. So why waste it when Keyboard Maestro can help improve almost every aspect of using your Mac. Even the simplest things, like typing your email address, or going to Gmail or Facebook, launching Pages, or duplicating a line, all take time and add frustration. Let Keyboard Maestro help make your Mac life more pleasant and efficient.

Keyboard Maestro Official Site

No, I think we need a specific example. Also from that site:

Use function keys to launch or switch to your most used applications. For example, you probably often switch to the Finder, your Email client, your Web Browser, your Word Processor. Consider putting these and other frequently used applications on function keys.

Launch Scanner Application When Scanner is Connected. Set up a macro that automatically launches your scanner application when your scanner is connected, and quits it again when the scanner is disconnected. This works brilliantly with the ScanSnap scanners – open the lid and the scanner software launches, close it and the scanner software disappears.

I’ve used both of these. If I tap F14 on my office iMac, it takes me to OmniFocus. If that beloved application isn’t using, then while I check my pulse to see what’s wrong, Keyboard Maestro launches OmniFocus and then switches me to it.

It is very, very useful yet I don’t use it enough. I set up keys for OmniFocus, Evernote, Mail, Safari and since you can forget Keyboard Maestro when you’ve done that, I’ve forgotten it. But I did get it around the same time as I bought both TextExpander and Hazel – I expect I’ll be back talking about Hazel very soon – and my brain only took so much in.

Whereas this fella learnt it all and wants to show you. Let me have his say and then go to the Keyboard Maestro site to buy it.

Quick: get Keyboard Maestro (Mac) for 44% off

Why 44%? It’s a funny discount to have but it’s a discount and it’s big, so as long as you are very speedy, go take a look:

Keyboard Maestro lets you automate huge long sequences of things that you do on your Mac all the time. I’d tell you more but I’ve never used it. Not even with all the recommendations I’ve heard and the fact that I used to be addicted to a thing called QuickKeys that did much the same thing. But with this sale, it costs £12.20 and it’s worth the punt. 

So I’ve just bought it on this offer and I’ll let you know what I think of it in action. However, I found out about this from an email which insists the offer is valid for today only. When you go through the checkout it suggests there are (currently) six days remaining on the offer so either something’s wrong or, more likely, I’ve misunderstood something. Go take a look at it today, just in case.