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Replacing QuickCursor with Keyboard Maestro

QuickCursor was a great app which allowed you to use your favorite text editor to edit text anywhere on the Mac. For example, rather than writing a blog post in a form field in your browser, you could press a keyboard shortcut and then whatever text you had written would be sent BBEdit (or any other text editor). You could finish writing your post using all of the features of your preferred text editor (and, most importantly, not have to worry about your browser window crashing or anything else that might cause you to lose your work). When you finished writing, your text would automatically be sent from your text editor back to the web browser. (If the awesomeness of this is not immediately obvious, watch this short YouTube video showing how QuickCursor worked.)

Unfortunately, QuickCursor was eventually killed by sandboxing requirements of the Mac App Store and abandoned by its developer. Fortunately, it’s possible to replicate QuickCursor using Keyboard Maestro. I first did this about two years ago, but it stopped working some time ago and I had never taken the time to fix it until Dan Frakes asked me about it yesterday. It will now work under the latest version of OS X, and I also made several improvements. You can now choose where the temporary file will be stored (by default it is saved to ~/edit_anywhere.txt and will be moved to the trash when you are done with it). You can also choose which text editor you want to use without the need for a separate macro. (It defaults to BBEdit, but if you do not have that installed it will use TextEdit.)

You can find the updated macro on GitHub, which includes more information about installing and configuring it. My thanks to Dan Frakes and Dr. Drang for helping me test this new version. The good doctor has also informed me that he has a variation of this macro which he will be sharing soon, so keep an eye on his website. There is a different implementation available from Patrick Welker, and yet another by Chauncey Garrett which has some interesting options as well. If you are learning Keyboard Maestro, it might be interesting to see the different ways that people can solve the same problem in different ways, and if you don’t like my way of doing it, chances are good that you might like one of the others, or be able to use one of them as a starting point to make your own.

Update: Dr. Drang has posted his implementation here.

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