Structuring and remembering shortcuts

Hi all,

Happy New Year to you all. It’s been about a year since I discovered MPU and this forum, and its been priceless in my efforts to improve my understanding of my Mac building my knowledge.

I’m now at the stage where I’m trying to improve my use of shortcuts. My shortcuts are slowly evolving, both within apps and with Keyboard Maestro. However, I feel that they are slightly unordered and lacking structure. I also have difficulty in remembering them all the time.

Is there a resource out there that can provide a guide or structure for this issue, or give hints as to an approach to take? I think my problem is that KBM is giving me too many options and it’s all a bit overwhelming.

Thanks very much!


I just can’t remember a crapload of keyboard shortcuts.
They probably make sense to someone, but that understanding isn’t passed to me.

Something that does work for me is the EMACS style multi-key shortcut/command. This functions similar to the command palettes that are making their way into apps like Obsidian and NotePlan. I.e. Cmd-P (Obsidian) or Cmd-J (NotePlan) and you have a list of commands, type letters to narrow things down.

So a couple of days ago, I started revisiting the (poorly named) conflict palettes in Keyboard Maestro.
It’s just makes so much sense, and is so intuitive.

First, there’s Karabiner-Elements to kick things off. I already have CapsLock acting as a Hyper key, or sending F19 if tapped (to open Raycast). So I’ve made Left Shift work as left shift when held, and send F20 if tapped. F20 opens the first KM palette.
My Karabiner-Elements karabiner.json file

Tapping LeftShift opens the first, Master palette in Keyboard Maestro:

Tapping the W key at this point runs the window macro to open the Window palette:

Now I can press 2 and have the current window sized to the left 2/3rds of the current screen.

Or I can press O (ohh) to send the current window to the other monitor.

So this has been a lot of words and pictures to explain something that is, in practice, easy to remember and use. There are also visual reminders at every step of the way after pressing LeftShift.

“Hm. I want this window to be 2/3rds on the left side.”
(tap)LeftShift w 2
“I want this window on the other monitor.”
(tap)LeftShift o

Can you do this with Magnet? Of course, just remember these shortcuts that make no sense to me. It also helps if you’re one of Hemingway’s polydactyl cats so you can press all the keys together, or you can just remember that when you want to use these shortcuts, press Cntrl and Option with your right hand, because D is on the left side of the keyboard, and that would all be super awkward to do with your left hand. (And this is all different if you’re using Dvorak, because D is a right index finger key.) You get the idea.


This is super helpful, thank you!!

I’ve used it to set up the palettes, and I’m going to work my way through my applications. Thank you so much, this is the structure I badly needed.

Just whilst I have you, can you link me to an “idiot’s guide” to re-sizing windows on KBM? I’m fine when using the presets (full screen, left 50% etc), but I’d like to do splits of 33% and using two external monitors and then I get lost.

Thanks again

Mine are based on the library linked below. It uses a ruby script to do some work behind the scenes and figure out the thirds. One thing I’d like to fix is that it places windows underneath the menu bar (as in underlapped (wow, that’s a real word)), rather than butted up to it.

Remembering shortcuts uses too many neurons that I need for more interesting things, so I only use a few shortcuts. Actually, most of them are Typinator thingies that do nice things that I need frequently (note templates, dates in a couple different formats, etc.).

KM recently introduced in KM 10.x menubar menus for macros, and I immediately rewrote all of my app-specific macro sets to put them into app-specific menu bars. As a result, I eliminated several dozen shortcuts that I couldn’t remember anyway. I prefer menus over shortcuts – I’m never at a loss to remember where the menus are.


Here’s my updated Window Movers macros that don’t put windows under the menu bar.
It assumes the menu bar is 24 pixels tall, and is at the top of the screen.

On a somewhat related note, this person started a discussion about command palettes.

And reminded me of Paletro, (from the makers of Typora) which has been discussed here on the forum. While not providing shortcut keys per se, it does provide shortcuts to menu items, so I think that qualifies.