Creating an App Droplet in Keyboard Maestro

Screenshot1720Because the developers of QuicKeys have still not upgraded their application for OS X Lion, I have moved over to Keyboard Maestro. I’ve always thought both programs were nearly equally as good, but since I discovered and started using QuicKeys first, KM laid dormant in my Applications folder because it didn’t make since to run both Mac automation programs on my computers.

I’ll write more later about what I like about Keyboard Maestro, but I thought I’d do a quick little tutorial about how to make an application droplet in KM. I wrote the developer of KM and he wrote back and explained in a brief sentence how to create a droplet. But I thought I’d illustrate it here for newer users of Mac automation, Keyboard Maestro in particular.

What is a droplet? Well, it’s sort of acts like an application. While most of the automations you build in KM are triggered by either a keyboard shortcut, an application, typed string, or through the KM status menu, you can also create a droplet for any KM macro and launch it say from your Dock as you would an application or file. Here’s an example:

I use a macro that launches my most used applications. These applications could be of course automatically launched when I log into my account, but I don’t like that option because sometimes when I’m trouble shooting a problem on my computer, I don’t want all those apps launching when I’m experiencing problems.

I could also easily set a keyboard shortcut to trigger that macro, but I simply don’t use it enough to warrant a keyboard shortcut. Instead, I created a droplet that I can simply click in my Dock. Here’s how you do it.

1. Select the macro in KM that you want to create a droplet for.

2. Under the triggering section of the macro, select “Or by script,” and then select “Or by Apple Script.”

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3. Voila, KM makes an instant AppleScript script for your macro that you save as a droplet/application.

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4. Unfortunately you can’t turn a KM macro into app inside of KM, as you can in QuicKeys. But that’s not a real big deal, because you probably won’t be using droplets a lot to launch your macros.

5. So what you do is copy the AppleScript script. Launch AppleScript Editor (located in your Utilities folder, which is located in your Applications folder) and paste the copied script in the new file.

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6. You might want to click the Run button to test it out. Then save it as an Application. I would suggest putting your droplet/apps in one place, say a folder you create in your Applications folder so you can easily access them.

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7. Now drag that droplet to your Dock and you can launch it from there.

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5 comments on “Creating an App Droplet in Keyboard Maestro

  1. I don’t like the generic script icon used for AppleScript apps, so I change it. If you look in the YourApp.app > Contents > Resources folder (left-click to get Show Contents on the app icon and dig down), you’ll find an applet.icns file. Using img2icns.app, I convert an image file I like to an icon, rename it applet.icns, and replace the original. Gets me a neat icon that tells me something to identify it in the dock.

  2. Coming across this several years later, I notice a slight confusion of terminology. These are not droplets – dragging and dropping one or more files onto them will have no effect – they are applets.

    The ‘drop’ in droplets refers to the fact that they implement the `on open` method, which passes any files dragged and dropped onto the app icon into the code as an argument.

    What you are implementing here is the ‘on run’ method of a plain (no dropping supported) applet.

    See the Apple glossary on ‘droplet’ vs ‘applet’ here:

    https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/documentation/General/Conceptual/SLGlobalGlossary/Glossary/Glossary.html

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