10 automations that every designer should start using today 🦾

Matt Wierzbicki
7 min readMar 29, 2022

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These days, we, freelance designers, creators, founders, and no-coders, work on dozens of projects each month. Not only do we work for our clients, but we are also responsible for our side projects, and each one needs a different branding and a website. It’s a lot of work and our time is limited.

Some of us are lucky enough to afford to hire an awesome employee. But in most cases, we can only rely on ourselves.

Luckily, we live in an era of automation. An era in which you can set something once and do not repeat it every time you need it. However, most of us still repeat ourselves every day.

Let me ask you a few questions about your usual workflow:

  1. Do you type your email address each time someone asks you about it on Slack?
  2. Do you type your company details each time you need to send it to a client?
  3. Do you type your website URL each time you need to send it to someone?
  4. Do you open a recent project that you worked on by going to an app’s dashboard and then selecting it from there?
  5. Do you optimize images for the web by dropping them into tinyPNG (or another similar app)?
  6. If you want to create a new file in Figma, do you create it from the dashboard?

The bad and the good news

If you said yes to most of these questions, I have bad and good news for you.

The bad news is that you wasted a lot of time in the past by repeating yourself.

The good news is that this short article will change that and you won’t waste more time in the future. But I must warn you. There is no way back once you learn these techniques, and you will never want to work the way you worked before.

So, are you ready to enter the Matrix? Ehm, Keyboard Maestro?

What?

Keyboard Maestro is an automation software for macOS where you can automate virtually anything. Applications or websites, text or images, simple or complex, on command or scheduled. If you can perform it manually, Keyboard Maestro can almost certainly automate it for you. Whether it is typing your email address, going to Gmail or Twitter, launching Pages, or duplicating a line, Keyboard Maestro can help.

Keyboard Maestro

One more thing… Keyboard Maestro is only available for macOS and its paid software, but there is a lengthy free trial.

Together with my fellow designer Adam ‘overment’ Gospodarczyk, we created automations that help us in our everyday work.

We called this package 🥁🥁🥁🥁 Design Maestro!

Below I will describe the ones that we use most frequently. You will also get a link to download these automations for free.

Text expanders

In Keyboard Maestro, you can easily set up shortcuts to expand your text. For example, you can tell Keyboard Maestro to paste your email address by typing ;mail. Let me show you…

Email

Sending our email address to a colleague or a client or typing it every time we register an account is something we do dozen times per day. Writing my full email address with my Polish name and surname takes around 4 seconds. Let’s say I use it 10 times a day (not mentioning typos and mistakes that I need to correct sometimes). It is 40 seconds a day — around 4 minutes a week — 16 minutes a month and… 3 HOURS a year!!! Yes. Before Keyboard Maestro, I wasted 3 hours a year by just typing my email address. That’s ridiculous!

Now, it takes me less than one second. All I need to do is to type ;mail, and this text is replaced with my email address:

Frequently typed URLs

The same works for URLs that I frequently send when replying to my clients. For example, when I type ;atuts, it sends a URL to my website with the tutorials to my UI kit.

Multi-line text

We can also tell Keyboard Maestro to paste a multi-line text such as our company details or our address when needed:

Lorem ipsum

I always need some placeholder content when working on a web design project. Before Keyboard Maestro, I opened some fancy Figma plugins or Chrome extensions and copied the content from there. Then, I pasted it inside the text field where needed. With Keyboard Maestro, I just need to type ;lorem, and a sentence of lorem ipsum is pasted immediately. No clicking, no waiting until the plugin launches, etc. When I need a larger portion of text, for example, three sentences, I just type ;ipsum. Here’s a short demo:

Opening URLs

Keyboard Maestro lets you open URLs that you frequently use with a keyboard shortcut or by searching it in a quick search.

Open Recent Project

Another problem that we solved with Keyboard Maestro was that when working on a project, we always had to open it from the app’s dashboard each time we needed to access it. We observed that we always kept forgetting about saving it in bookmarks. Thanks to Adam’s excellent programming skills, we created an automation that saves an URL every 10 seconds when Figma or Webflow is open in the browser. Then, we can open it with a keyboard shortcut or by searching this action in a quick search. Here’s a quick preview:

Opening multiple URLs at once

The first thing I do in the morning when I open my computer is to check my multiple inbox accounts and all messaging apps. Since most of them are on different URLs, before Keyboard Maestro, I had to launch them all from my bookmarks bar. Now, I simply press one shortcut, and they open immediately all at once.

Quick notes

Sometimes, we need to open a quick note in Notion or a fast draft project in Figma. I saved the URLs to these projects to shortcuts in Keyboard Maestro, and I can quickly access them when I need to make a quick note or do a quick design in Figma.

New project

It’s also easy to open a new project in Figma or Webflow or any web app you use by pressing a keyboard shortcut:

Quick search

When working in Figma, I often find myself thinking, “I wonder if there’s a plugin for that” when doing some monotonous tasks. Then, I open Figma and Figma Community and search for the plugin. The problem is that all this clicking wastes a lot of time. With Keyboard Maestro, we managed to do automation to search the plugin right in the Keyboard Maestro’s prompt window. All we need to do is to press a keyboard shortcut and type the search phrase. After pressing Return, Figma Community search results show up:

Optimizing the images

Before Keyboard Maestro, when I wanted to optimize images I created in Figma, I had to upload them to the tinyPNG website, then download them, and finally upload them into Webflow…

Now, I just need to select images in my Downloads folder and press a keyboard shortcut. After a few seconds, the new optimized files appear above the unoptimized images. It saves a lot of time, and I skip all unnecessary clicking along the way.

Get these automations for free 👇

These are just a few examples of automations that we use during our everyday workflow as designers and entrepreneurs. Soon, I’m going to share more examples.

Do you want to learn how to set up these automations in Keyboard Maestro for yourself? We’ve prepared a step-by-step guide on how to set them all up!

Download them for free here

If you enjoyed this article, please give it a 👏 and share it on your social media. Thanks!

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