Keyboard Maestro Scheduling

I have had the Keyboard Maestro scripting App for several years. Keyboard Maestro allows you to automat all kinds of processes on your Mac. It is similar to using the Automator App, but somewhat more powerful. I play around with it on occasion by creating simple workflow scripts. I just don’t have the time and probably the aptitude for learning scripting. However, Keyboard Maestro has a “Record” function that allows you to record a process. Here is how it works.

Keyboard Maestro Record

Recently, I started using the excellent and very powerful Chronosync software from econtechnologies for my iMac backups. Chronosync is very sophisticated. However, one thing it does not do is allow you to automatically stop a backup process for a while and then start it up again. The reason I mention this is I have an hourly backup of my iMac using Chronosync. However, I would like it to stop at night when I am not using my machine and then startup again the following morning. I have contacted the Chronosync people about this. They said they cannot implement this feature because of the way macOS High Sierra handles scheduling. So, in an effort to make this happen I started playing around with Keyboard Maestro. 

Here is the main window in Keyboard Maestro:

Keyboard Maestro Main

Keyboard Maestro has several canned Macros you can experiment with and run. To create a new Macro just click on the “plus” button at the bottom of the middle column:

New Macro

Begin by giving the Macro a title. There has to be something that triggers the Macro to run so click on the “New Trigger” symbol to select a trigger:

Macro Trigger Menu

In my case I used a “Time of Day Trigger,” but there are all kinds of other ways to activate a Macro as you can see. Once you have selected a trigger for your Macro you need to add the “Actions” in the lower section of the window. This section includes what your Macro actually does. Now, you can do this manually by clicking on the “New Action” button. However, if you are like me and don’t have a strong aptitude for scripting, use the “Record” button at the bottom of the screen:

Macro Record

You have to have your procedure straight in your head before recording it. You might want to practice it once or twice. When you are certain about what you wish to do click the “Record” button and do your procedure. Keyboard Maestro gives you a count down before it starts to record which is helpful.

What I did with Chronosync is to suspend the scheduler of my backups to turn it off during the night. I had to move my mouse to the menubar, click on the Chronosync icon and select “Suspend Scheduler”:

Suspend

To make this work, I clicked the “Record” button in Keyboard Maestro, used my mouse to select “Suspend Scheduler”. Then I clicked on the “Record” button again in Keyboard Maestro to stop the recording process. Here is what the finished product looks like:

Finished Macro

Don’t let all those numbers and positions throw you off. That is just the way the App works. The bottom line is, does the Macro work? The thing to do is to click the “Try” button at the bottom of the window and test it. In my case it worked just fine. After completing the Macro to turn off scheduling, I created one to turn it back on in the morning. All is well so far.

Now when you are finished with the Macro it is placed in the list in the window. In this case it is named Test Macro. You can make a keyboard command to run it and/or run it manually any time you like.

There is one more thing here. I have found that this works best if the Mac is not in sleep mode. Also, it has problems when the display is blacked out as well. So, just schedule it for right after you start and stop your Mac day. All should be well.

Conclusion

This is not meant to be a thorough review of Keyboard Maestro. I am not well versed enough in this App to do that. However, if you are a little adventurous you can experiment with Recording several types of workflows. You can always Delete your experiments if they don’t work out. As far as Apps go Keyboard Maestro is fairly expensive at $36. But, considering what it can potentially do I think that is a small price to pay. If you go to the Keyboard Maestro website you can see the many things it can do, check it out.

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