Yes, your Mac is a pleasure to use, but it can be much more efficient and productive with the right utility. Enter QuicKeys.
Long the best macro tool for OS X, QuicKeys is ready to automate certain tasks to make your Mac life easier.
I’ve always known how much more efficient I can be on my Mac vs. a Linux PC or a Windows PC. Mac OS X just sorta gets out of the way so I can focus on doing more. Can that luxury be improved? Yes and no.
QuicKeys is an automation tool for your Mac that’s become more than mere macro recorder. There’s custom toolbars, hot keys, timers, and much more, all designed to help you avoid doing manual work.
Count the number of steps it takes you to accomplish some repetitive tasks. Five steps? 20 steps? QuicKeys can remember what you do, then do it automatically, either invoked when you want, or via a timer. With QuicKeys, Mac users can set up hot keys to act as shortcuts to perform repetitive functions.
The list of things you can get QuicKeys to do for you is extensive. Launch programs, run Unix commands, type text into documents and format, log on to other servers. Control is paramount on a Mac and QuicKeys lets you create shortcuts by hand, or using a built-in recorder. Once you create a shortcut, it can be triggered into action using a hot key, a timer, the toolbar, even speech.
Here’s the deal. Time is money. I’m on the keyboard all day and anything that’ll cut down on my keystrokes is a Godsend. That’s why I like QuicKeys. The latest version adds support for my shiny new Apple aluminum keyboard, and an Automator action.
QuicKeys can be set up to record your keystrokes, then play them back at any time. This is handy for those very long and involved tasks from the keyboard. The floating palette lets you choose which shortcut to use when. Shortcuts can also be set up to work only in certain Mac applications, or system wide. If you’re in an office, QuicKeys lets you transfer shortcuts to other mac users.
I really want something like this to be built-in to Mac OS X, but it’s not. I use QuicKeys to open certain folders, move and copy files from here to there without me having to do the work. It launches applications, then opens various web sites. I use it to set up email messages with a set subject, and list of recipients.
Here’‘s a healthy list of all you can get QuicKeys to do. Isn’t this just what you’ve been looking for on your Mac? But not so fast.
QuicKeys is pricey at $79 for a single Mac or Windows user, though you can try it out for 30 days for free, and there’s decent discounts for multiple purchases, as in an office. Did I mention Windows? Yes, there’s a Windows version, not that there’s anything wrong with that. QuicKeys focus is on interoperability in a business environment and that requires a mixture of Macs and Windows PCs.
More caveats. QuicKeys did not make the transition from Mac classic to Mac OS X without some hiccups. Granted, there are very few keyboard shortcut competitors with a feature set like QuicKeys (actually, on short notice, I can’t think of one), but some previous versions were a bit buggy and caused me almost as much grief to overcome as the time saved.
Another hint is that Macworld last reviewed QuicKeys back in early 2005, other reviews are similarly ancient. The latest version of QuicKeys on Leopard has been relatively stable for me.
The problem here is that keyboard shortcuts are a productivity item, and a macro recorder, which is really what QuicKeys is, requires an extra step to learn and employ. But the time savings can be there for Mac users who are on the keyboard often, and even beneficial for those who are not. An office IT person can set up specific macro shortcuts which can help new Mac users.
There’s also not much competition for QuicKeys, though it is surely worth the 30 day trial. Do you use keyboard shortcuts or macros? Talk Back to Mac360 in the Comments section below and share your experience, good or bad.