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I switched recently to an Macbook Pro with an M3 Pro chip after using Windows for a lifetime. I am trying to make a a shortcut which can trigger many different actions and in my case all the actions lead to different text outputs.

For example by hitting Option and - the keyboard listens to the following inputs, so if I press the letter p it directly pastes specific text depending on what key I hit after using my hotkey. This wouldn't have been an issue for me on Windows since I used AutoHotkey (AHK) for Automation commands of this nature but now on mac I am struggling with the lightest tasks.

I already tried to get the job done with Apple's Automator and the Shortcuts app but the hotkeys don't even trigger, that's why I am trying to get help here. AppleScript etc. is completely new for me and I have no idea what to do in order to get the code that I want since I only know AHK for Automation.

Specific shortcut f.e. Option and Minus trigger the keyboard to listen to the next inputs like some specific selected letters. Pressing on each of them will paste different code. This mode can be exited by the same shortcut or different ones so that the keyboard can be used normally for texting again.

I am looking for any good alternatives for AHK which also have this freedom if being able to really customize the triggers and outputs.

How can I get this done on macos 14.2 without AHK?

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    What research have you done? There are more than a few keyboard automation utilities available for the Mac. Jan 7 at 23:13
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    Though I don't have a need for such things I believe that Kabainer-Elements allows a vast amount of such customization, and I believe it is free. You may want to check it out and see if it will do the trick. Jan 7 at 23:15
  • @MarcWilson I have watched plenty of youtube videos about macros on youtube for example and I don't wanna say that there aren't any. It's just after I switched to mac they are too unfamiliar for me in order to know where I should even begin. bmike was so kind and edited my post so it's more clear now. What I basically want to achieve is having an hotkey that once pressed makes it possible to paste specific text in my keyboard by pressing normal letters. For example after using optn and - pressing on an letter like A will paste a specified text instead of the letter, the same goes for other key
    – ibo
    Jan 8 at 7:47

2 Answers 2

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It is not entirely clear what you are trying to accomplish, so this answer may be off the mark ...

I am not familiar with AutoHotkey, but perhaps Keyboard Maestro's conflict pallet would provide similar functionality?

https://wiki.keyboardmaestro.com/Conflict_Palette

With Keyboard Maestro you can set up multiple macros with the same keyboard shortcuts, and a pallet will be displayed with options to select.

If on the other hand is all you are looking for it to paste predetermined text then a text expansion tool may be what you are looking for. I use Typinator, but there are others.

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  • Both of these recommendations are very good ones. I would add a third: textexpander.com
    – bmike
    Jan 8 at 3:38
  • Thx for your recommendation, this looks like an alternative of what I wanna achieve just more circumstantial. The costfactor is also smth that is blocking me to use this application
    – ibo
    Jan 8 at 8:11
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You can do this natively with the typing replacer in System Settings > Keyboard > Text Replacements…

enter image description here

I've used a clean Mac here to show you how it looks initially [my own has reams of these of varying complexity]. It gives you one for starters, if you type 'omw' followed by punctuation or a space, it will replace it with 'On my way!'

Rather than triggering with a separate key command, you just use the input 'word' itself. I use mnemonics, 'nc' [which stands for note card, which is how I used to store all these], 'k' for keyboard markdown, or 'my' for personal data, phone, email, snail mail address etc. This ensures my triggers are memorable, but don't exist as regular words I might type in other contexts.
You can type simple replacements directly into the pref pane; like an email address or a bit of markdown - eg 'kcmd' will generate <kbd> Cmd ⌘ </kbd> which in markdown will give Cmd ⌘ but if you need anything more complex, multi-line text etc, then it's easier to type it in TextEdit and copy paste across. Multi-line text doesn't show in the panel [because any Return character makes second & subsequent lines vanish from the one line input bar], but it does work as a replacement.

That way you could have 'ncmary' type:-

Mary had a little lamb 🐑
Its fleece was white as snow
And everywhere that Mary went… etc, etc

It doesn't include font information etc, it uses plaintext - but can type emojis & complex Unicode too.
The trigger has to be a single 'word', no spaces, but can include most things alphanumeric, such as §123.

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  • Thanks for your detailed post, I already played a bit around in the keyboard settings before, however what I am trying to achieve is a bit different. In my case I don't want the trigger those typos when I am typing them I wan't them to only paste text when I hit an custom hotkey and even press enter. Basically pressing the hotkey will trigger a change of outputs in my keyboard for specific keys and after one is pressed it should go back to normal. This is way easier to do with AHK since it's an coding language where the options are endless
    – ibo
    Jan 8 at 7:56
  • I can't see what the practical difference is. You can either type opt/- p q or ncpq for the same end result.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 8 at 8:00
  • A neat option - keeping native is often best.
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 8 at 8:04
  • Seems like I haven't expressed myself good enough, sorry for my bad english. Basically what I am trying to achieve is not just simply making my own hotkeys. It's more complex. I want a shortcut that once used customizes the output of my keyboard to basically anything including the Enter key. I had this setup on my old laptop in AHK but getting it done on a mac is a bit of a hustle. The practical difference is that I can work more efficiently like this since I don't have to search all my hotkeys to get what I want and there is a ton that I wan't to output which makes it hard to memorize hotkeys
    – ibo
    Jan 8 at 9:11

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