Officially purchazed All 3 Automation Mac software

I’m now officially waist deep in automation software for the Mac. I just purchased the 3rd piece of software “Hazel.”

I now have:

  1. TextExander - I use the most frequently out of all of them. ($39.98)
  2. Keyboard Maestro - I purchased so I can wake up my mac at certain times with a macro. I also have a plain text macro. But that’s about it. Oh, I also bought the field guide
  3. Hazel - I bought to easily monitor folders ($32.00). Not sure if it was really needed.
  4. Power Management was purchased to try to get my macros to work.
  5. BetterTouch Tool (BTT) - This was purchased initially so that I can make the “Home” and “End” keys on my full mac keyboard to function as they do on a PC.

So total cost of indulging in automation software:

  1. TextExander - $39.98
  2. Keyboard Maestro - $28
  3. Keyboard Maestro Field Guide - $24
  4. Power Management - $12.95
  5. Hazel - $32
  6. BTT - $6

Total $142.93

Was it worth it - Not really!!

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A popular word around here is “friction”, and automation software should help you reduce that. Probably not right away and probably not all at once, but over time.


I only have Keyboard Maestro and Hazel. I can find great value in KM. For text expansion, I use the limited feature in Alfred, so I’m pretty ok there.

The only thing, for me, is Hazel. I’m not seeing a lot of value there yet but it does keep my Download and Desktop folder clean.

Who ya calling limited? :wink:

Seriously Alfred is much more powerful than TE once you hook keystroke triggers into workflows. Not as good for filling complex forms or boilerplate but that’s not my game.

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Automation is a journey, a long and rewarding one.

I’ll confess to having one I haven’t used much: Hazel. But I’m sure one day I will.

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Buy software to fix a problem or speed up tasks

Automation is only as good as your work flow is divided into chunks that are automated

Learning new software is slow and worth the time spend to give more free time later.

Look/write what you do for your tasks.
Can any be automated?
If so, learn what software to use to make it faster and bullet proof of entry errors

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I’ve added another piece of software to my original post. Also, I want to remind everyone that I am not crazy and I did not purchase all this software all at once. Beginning in December '18 I purchased them in the order below:

  1. BTT
  2. TextExpander
  3. Keyboard Maestro
  4. Keyboard Maestro Field Guide
  5. Power Management
  6. Hazel

Did you purchase the Alfred Power Pack or power user expansion (Whatever its called)? If so, then you have purchased at least three pieces of automation software (i.e. just like me.)

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Take screenshots? If so, are they all over your desktop? You can use Hazel to monitor desktop for old screenshots so they are automatically filed away to a different folder or deleted.

Any of these are only worth it if they are useful and used for your workflow. Hazel has saved me more than any of them and has certainly been worth the investment in money and in time setting it up. TextExpander, on the other hand, I’d never subscribe to, and what it does for me could be accomplished mostly with the built-in text expansion in macOS or in the other automation program I use – Alfred. I do use Alfred and probably would use it more if I forced myself to make use of it’s vast number of features, but it’s hard to remember all it does.

I also have Better Touch Tool but mainly use Better Snap Tool as I never got into gestures.

I think that if your work involves lots of repetition these tools become more useful.

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I agree, it was a couple of years though before I really started to use Keyboard Maestro for example. I did drop Hazel, I don’t need it everything is in DEVONthink with me or Ulysses. As you say these tools are indispensable if you have lots of repetitive tasks. They also, for me, just reduce ‘friction’ very often, not a big time save but it relieves a lot of irritation for me from my Mac use.

Yes I did. I think I was misunderstood. When I said “limited feature of Alfred”, I meant the limited text expansion feature of Alfred as compared to Text Expander, not Alfred itself being feature-limited. Sorry!

Yes that was how I understood it - just observing that Alfred has a lot of capabilities that TE doesn’t…this is based on switching over all my text expansion from TE to Alfred about 18 mos. ago.

Totally agree, Alfred is really powerful and flexible.

If you haven’t already, estimate your “hourly rate” (subjective, of course) and you might find you only need these apps to save you a few hours before they’ve “paid” for themselves. After that it’s all upside.

Hazel is great when you need to do the same operations (rename, move, etc.) to files over and over. That’s kind of abstract so here are some examples where it is very valuable to me and might prompt some use cases in your workflow (I’m sure others can chime in with way more creative uses too):

  • For most work trips, I have 15-20 Lyft email receipts I need to add to my expense report. To save myself hours, I print the email to PDF (usually from my iPhone Mail app) and save to an iCloud folder that Hazel watches. Hazel then renames the file using the date and cost of the trip and the vendor, “Lyft,” and then files it into a sub-folder of my Expenses folder. This sub-folder is created and named by Hazel using the Expense Code (which I set in the Lyft app after a ride is done and Lyft handily includes on the receipt). To review: I never have to touch it after I print to PDF but Hazel makes a lot happen after that point.
  • A lot of folks use DevonTHINK for financial statements (mortgage, credit card, bank, investment, utilities, health, blah, blah) but I like these files to be renamed (with statement date, etc) as well as filed in certain folders. DT is magic when it comes moving the pdf to the right folder (after you teach it the first time) but renaming or anything else is still manual (or requires scripting; Hazel’s GUI is a lot easier). I hate manually renaming and moving files, especially if it’s the same thing every month.
  • I add a lot of events to my calendar via downloaded .ics files. Fantastical (or the default will offer to add these to your calendar but after it has been added, the files stay in Downloads. Hazel can auto delete them for you. There are lots of places like this where I avoid having to do manual decluttering thanks to Hazel.