Stream Deck: App or Better Touch Tool

Just took the plunge on a Stream Deck XL. It looks like a fair bit of effort to set up which is to be expected. I’m hoping though for some advice, should I spend that time configuring via the Stream Deck app, or should I do everything in Better Touch Tool?



I use keyboard maestro to configure most of mine, or downloaded packs of actions for things like teams and music.


I do most buttons in KM as well. I assume BTT would be similar.


+1 for Keyboard Maestro here


:exploding_head:keyboard maestro!?! I knew it could use the stream deck but can you use km to set the deck up? Icons and all?

Would you mind sharing a link to the Teams stuff? If you have it handy.
I was going to set Teams up maybe somebody’s already done all the hard work.

In my case I use KMLink–you reference the macro the button activates and set the icon in the Stream Deck app. I went with the KMLink route because I had some issue with the official plugin back when I set this up–might not be necessary now.

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I’m considering the same thing, I’m a BTT user from way back and love it.

From what I understand KM requires additional fiddling with images etc, where BTT seems to integrate a little better.

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I use the Stream Deck app.

I tried BTT but found it too cumbersome to setup IMO. It’s a very clever hack, but it feels to me like it’s one update away to break compatibility.

I don’t know about KM (don’t use it), but if you replace the SD app with BTT you can’t use the official plugins from the SD Store.

I can still run BTT as a plugin and add buttons using the official app, so best of both worlds.


Since several people here have mentioned Keyboard Maestro, I’ll link to a tutorial I wrote on the KM forum about the difference in the native KM plugin and the KMLink plugin. It might help you decide which route to go.



I also have an XL. I initially did everything with the Stream Deck software and KBM. A somewhat elaborate configuration that took me a while to get right.

But recently I burned it all down and am starting over using BTT. It’s more capable than the Elgato software.

Rest assured, KBM still has a role to play!


I originally used the SD app with the KMLink plugin.

I am now using BTT entirely to control my SD XL, without the “native” SD app. I found while it is somewhat cumbersome and time consuming to configure the SD in BTT (BTT’s UI is somewhat difficult to navigate and has a LOT of bugs - which is actually very surprising given that its capabilities make it clear that the developer is a heck of a good programmer) BTT is also way more capable.

Using BTT, for example, I have an array of buttons active when I am in Finder that allow me to apply Finder tags that I common use to the selected Finder files. However, if I hold down one other button, all of the tag buttons change color and now when pressed remove the same tags. Doing that in the SD app would be anywhere from difficult to impossible, as far as I was able to sort out.

I do use KM as the “backend” for nearly all of my BTT/SD actions, however - but that is because a) I had already written macros in KM to do so many of the things that I wanted to put on the SD that it made sense to just use those macros, and b) I also trigger some of these actions via KM conflict or other palettes or from the menu bar, for example, so I wanted all of the code consolidated in one place.

Of course, if you started with BTT and then added KM, you could also use scripting to have KM trigger the already-built BTT actions, so it is possible to go in either direction. One of the very cool things about automating the Mac!

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I have a Stream Deck Mk.II 15 that’s sitting in a cabinet. I can’t figure out what to use it for. I often use keyboard shortcuts, and they seem easier than reaching over and pressing a Stream Deck button. And, when I’m not at my desk I’m not able to press these buttons, so they would only be to add a different type of functionality.

What do you use yours for that you find better than a keyboard shortcut?

(OP, if this is off-topic, let me know and I’ll start a new thread.)

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mine is plugged into my TB4 hub which has a timemachine disk attached and another backup disk. I have a button on my SD that ejects all the disks and then closes the SD app when I’m ready to take my laptop away.


All in all I’d agree with you on simple one off keyboard shortcuts. If I can remember them I find them quicker on my keyboard or setup with BTT for the Trackpad.

For me where Stream Deck shines is multi action steps/workflows. In my previous project I had one open safari → go to Citrix login page → login in (account saved in keychain) → open the terminal session > position window on certain monitor → start Outlook/OneNote/VS-Code

Granted it was a combination of Stream Deck actions and Keyboard Maestro- but for me it was best of both worlds and saved me some time for making coffee in the morning while this workflow progressed :blush:.

At one point Ingas several of those actions configured on my Stream Deck which saved me a lot of time each time.

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@jr5 No argument. You can certainly trigger any sort of action in multiple different ways - keyboard shortcut, StreamDeck button, custom workflow in Alfred (or any of the similar “butler” apps), gesture on the trackpad (via BTT or KM, for example).

Notice that I did not mention Shortcuts. I am still a novice with Shortcuts, so few of my workflows originate there, but there are a few things that I have only been able to accomplish with Shortcuts, and since KM and BTT can launch a shortcut …

I have tendency to create a workflow in the app that I think will be the most convenient for what I am trying to accomplish, most commonly either a KM macro or an Alfred workflow, and then link that workflow into the various other apps with their ability to run scripts or other triggers.

The result is that many of my most commonly used workflows can be launched in multiple different ways, but all of those launch mechanisms will funnel into one implementation.

Sometimes it’s easier to use the SD. For example, when in Mail, as I go through messages I often want to mark one or more as read and then delete them, which I can do with a button on SD or via a conflict palette in KM that includes various macros active only in Mail. The KM approach is two keystrokes (launch the palette with META-A then hit the “D” key to invoke the read and delete macro), but the SD requires one button press. For email that I want to archive, there is another button (and entry in the conflict palette) that takes care of that (marks the email read and saves it to the proper place on my Synology).

If I am at my desk, I tend to mouse with my right hand and click buttons with my left. However, when on my MBAir, I tend to “mouse” the trackpad with my right hand and use the keyboard with my left (which is why META-A is the key sequence most commonly used: It’s easy to launch the conflict menu quickly and I generally keep the key press needed to invoke a macro from that menu on the left hand side of the keyboard so it remains a one-handed operation(.

You may find it better / easier to just launch everything from the keyboard. That’s the beauty of this: the ability to customize so thoroughly means that we can each find what works best for us and make it happen.

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It’s true, the Stream Deck is not easily portable. Half the time I’m at work and don’t have it. It’s not so valuable that I feel the need to carry it around, I end up using KBM palettes when I don’t have it.

But when I’m home, it’s enormously valuable. Funny.

My main use is a big grid of specific windows of apps. Each one is a KM macro, so I certainly could trigger each one with keyboard shortcuts, but I’d never remember and use them. All the button icons have the window name on them. All this work is done on one desktop computer so the Stream Deck stays plugged in.

I bought the Stream Deck on sale because I was frustrated with that specific window management, so wasn’t worried about finding a use. If I bought one for my laptop I’d probably struggle to make it work for me, too.

I do use the digital version of the Stream Deck app with my phone and laptop to trigger some macros and shortcuts on my Mac from my phone, too. It’s unconnected to a physical Stream Deck.

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I use KBM as the backend for my macros. Often I use my own software (ASK_Palette available on the web for free at ASK_Palette) to launch those macros because I have trouble remembering the huge number of Keyboard commands that I have accumulated over the years and use infrequently enough that they never became muscle memory. Using ASK_Palette requires doing some initial work to set up the whole thing, but then, for me, it is easy to use and has the advantage that I can use it on multiple machines in multiple locations. I bought a StreamDeck a few months ago when it was on sale, but then I never bothered to open the packaging because I really did not think that I needed it and was concerned it would just clutter my desk. In fairness, since I never ended up using it, I cannot profoundly judge it. I argue to myself that my own software seems like a software substitute for a StreamDeck

Thanks for all the responses. I think im going to set up my macros in kbm and call from SD or that thing where you can overload one keyboard shortcut and get a menu. Maybe I’ll even return the SD as I don’t really have a fixed desk. I was hoping the SD would help with email handling (archive, add to OmniFocus, etc) and meetings. We shall see.

Having said that, I struggle to remember keyboard shortcuts so maybe the SD should stay. :smile: