Using the keystroke recorder in the Multitouch app

Ryan Hanson
Mar 25 · 2 min read

In Multitouch v1.17, I added in some functionality that I’ve actually wanted since I first created the app: the ability to playback text input. Sometimes you have tedious tasks that require you to just input the same text in a ton of different places, and copy paste just isn’t enough. The keystroke recorder can help with that, and here’s some parts of it worth knowing.

If you’ve used the app before, configuring the keystroke recorder should be rather straightforward. First select Shortcut & Keystroke Recording: Keystroke Recording, then select the text area that appears.

A few things to know

When entering keystrokes, you’ll just need to be aware that this is not normal text entry — it will record every keystroke including backspaces.

Additionally, modifier flags are recorded, even though you don’t see them displayed in the text area. This means that it could act as a sort of compound keyboard shortcut recorder, although that’s not the intended purpose. Another thing to keep in mind is that the recorded keystrokes will be played back without time delay, regardless of the time you take while entering keystrokes. If you execute your configured gesture/shortcut for the keystroke recorder, you’ll notice that all of the keystrokes are played back sequentially rather than all at once.

Why I made it this way

With the end goal of inputting text provided by a user, I did consider other options and settled on the keystroke recorder being my preferred way of implementing this. I created a mechanism that puts some typed text into the pasteboard and pastes the text in, but this required finagling with the global pasteboard. I would have to save what you currently have in the pasteboard, put your saved text into the pasteboard, execute a paste (cmd+v), then put back what you previously had in the pasteboard. Since there’s no way to know when the paste is executed and completed, I’d be guessing as to when to restore the original pasteboard contents. This can be pretty offputting if your paste doesn’t have what you expect in it. The keystroke recorder is just a more pleasant user experience all around.

Other changes in v1.17

Multitouch v1.17 introduced a pretty big change — the ability to restrict gestures to specified modifier key combinations. This required some fundamental changes to the app, mainly that you can now have multiple configurations with the same gesture. In the same context, tap gestures can now be individually configured as double taps, as opposed to the global setting that was there before. Having these new features in place not only gives more control over the execution of your gestures, it also opens up room for a lot of new configurations.

Ryan Hanson

Ryan Hanson

Written by

Ryan Hanson

Programming. Daydreaming.

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