How to get the trackpad to ignore touches while typing

Do you get frustrated with how the slightest touch of the palm of your hand or thumb on the trackpad causes the text cursor to jump to a different position when you’re typing? I have and it’s been bothering me for some time.

Here’s how I solved this problem. I turned off “Tap to click” in the Trackpad Settings. Now when I’m typing and my palm or thumb accidentally touches the trackpad the text cursor doesn’t jump to a different position. I’m guessing this setting is on by default because I don’t recall having ever turned it on.

When I’m not typing, I like having “Tap to click” turned on. Since it’s not convenient to go into Trackpad Setting to turn it on and off all the time I looked for an AppleScript that I could use to toggle it on and off.

I found this one and it works fine.

Credit: Wojtek Witkowski on Github

tell application "System Preferences"
	activate
end tell
tell application "System Events"
	tell process "System Preferences"
		delay 1
		click the menu item "Trackpad" of the menu "View" of menu bar 1
		delay 1
		click the radio button "Point & Click" of the first tab group of window "Trackpad"
		click checkbox 3 of tab group 1 of window "Trackpad"
	end tell
end tell
tell application "System Preferences"
	quit
end tell

I’m using this script in Keyboard Maestro with the hotkey ⌘+⌥+9 to toggle the setting on and off. This will also work with an Alfred Workflow.

My 2020 Must-Have Mac, iPhone, and iPad Apps

Each year towards the end of December I summarize in a post, on this site, the Mac, iPhone, and iPad apps that I will be using for the next year. This is always one of my most popular posts.

This year instead of a separate article for Mac apps and another for iPhone and iPad apps I’m putting them all in one article. I indicate in parenthesis under the app title where I’m using the app Mac, iPhone or iPad.

During 2019 I tried a lot of different apps. Some I liked and switched to and others I tried, didn’t like and stayed with what I’d been using. I hope you’ll discover a new app or two that will improve your workflow or make you more productive.

My setup:

  • MacBook Pro (early–2015 13”)
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPad 5th Generation
  • Apple Watch 44 mm Series 4

Here’s my software and what I use it for:

Safari
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
Safari is my browser of choice. It just works best on macOS. I use Firefox when a site doesn’t play nice with it.

Enpass
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
Gotta have a password manager.

Fastmail
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
I’ve been using Fastmail for email for over 5 years. A few weeks ago I also started using it for calendar, and contacts. On my iPhone and iPad, I use the Fastmail app. Unfortunately, Fastmail doesn’t have a Mac app but with Unite I turned the Fastmail web client into a native Mac app. I’ve written about Fastmail here.

Fantastical 2
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
Fantastical is my calendar app. It integrates perfectly with my Fastmail calendar appointments and events.

Things 3
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
I use Things 3 for task management. I love the simplicity of how it works. I wrote about it here.

Due
(iPhone and iPad)
Due is where I keep all my reminders.

Drafts 5
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
I’ve been using Drafts for several years. It’s my multi-purpose writing and note-taking app. I often use it as the first stop for most everything I write and then use Drafts actions to send what I’ve written anywhere I want to. I’ve written about how I use Drafts here.

Bear
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
I’ve been a Bear pro user since the inception of the app. It’s where I keep all my notes and lists. For now, it’s also where I’m doing my writing. And for plain text I use iA Writer on my Mac and 1Writer on my iPhone and iPad.

Marked 2
(Mac)
Marked is the markdown previewer app I use side by side with my writing app.

Grammarly
(Mac and iPad)
I use Grammarly for proofreading my stories for grammar and punctuation.

Yoink
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
Yoink speeds and up my workflow by simplifying drag and drop. I’ve written about Yoink here.

Copied
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
Copied is my cross-platform clipboard history manager. I’ve written about it here.

Reeder
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
Reeder is what I use for my Feedly RSS feeds.

Pocket
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
I’m now using Pocket instead of Instapaper for reading later. I wrote about why I switched here.

Tweetbot
(iPhone and iPad)
Tweetbot is for Twitter.

Day One Journal
(iPhone and iPad)
Day One is where I keep a lifelog.

Alfred
(Mac)
Alfred is Spotlight on steroids. I’d be lost without it. I’ve written about it here.

Keyboard Maestro
(Mac)
Keyboard Maestro is another app that I couldn’t live without it. I use Keyboard Maestro keyboard shortcuts to launch apps, open files and folders and automating actions. It has a learning curve but once you start to get the hang of it you can do some amazing things. I’ve written about Keyboard Maestro here.

Dropbox
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
Dropbox is where I keep files that I want to have available on all my devices. It’s also where syncing happens for apps like Alfred, Keyboard Maestro, and Due.

PDFpen and Hazel are key apps for my paperless workflow. I’ve written about my paperless workflow here.

Scanner Pro
(iPhone and iPad)
Scanner Pro is also part of my paperless workflow. I use it to scan paper documents into PDFs with OCR that look clean and professional.

App Cleaner
(Mac)
AppCleaner is my app uninstaller. I use it because it deletes all the junk that gets left behind when you just drag the app icon to the trash.

Moom
(Mac)
I use Moom for window management on my Mac.

Witch
(Mac)
Witch is my Mac app switcher.

PopClip
(Mac)
I use PopClip to manage what I do with selected text. I’ve written about PopClip here.

Bartender 3
(Mac)
Bartender is the app I use to organize my menu bar. I’ve written about it here.

ScreenFloat
(Mac)
ScreenFloat is my app for taking screenshots and storing them.

TunnelBear VPN
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
TunnelBear is my VPN for security on public WiFi and web browsing privacy.

PCalc
(Mac, iPhone, and iPad)
PCalc is my stock calculator replacement. I use it for its additional features and customization.

Apple Activity app
I use the Activity app with my Apple Watch to track all my daily activities.

Update – Alfred or Keyboard Maestro or both

This is an update to my Alfred or Keyboard Maestro or both article that I wrote the other day.

I’m back using both Alfred and Keyboard Maestro. After using just Alfred for a few days I discovered a couple of Keyboard Maestro macros that I use that I wasn’t able to replicate in Alfred. So since I need Keyboard Maestro for them I switched back to Keyboard Maestro for all my automation.

I like the way Keyboard Maestro macros work better than Alfred workflows and as a side note, they execute much faster. I also prefer the way web searches are executed using Keyboard Maestro. It’s several keystrokes quicker.

I’ll be upgrading to version 9 very soon.

Alfred or Keyboard Maestro or both

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of Alfred and Keyboard Maestro.

Alfred was one of the first apps that I discovered after moving from a PC to a Mac. I use its features many times every day.

I discovered Keyboard Maestro a little later on. Since Alfred was already ingrained in the way I used my Mac there were a lot of its features that I didn’t use. There’s a lot of feature overlap between Alfred and Keyboard Maestro. Over time I created or accumulated a couple of dozen Keyboard Maestro macros some that I used often and others that I rarely used.

When Alfred 4 came out in June I immediately upgraded without a thought. I think the cost was around $15. Today I received an email from the developer of Keyboard Maestro letting me know that version 9 is now available with lots of new features and an upgrade price of $25. But, I’m having trouble justifying the upgrade. After reviewing what’s new I’m not sure I’ll use any of the new features or actions.

So that leads me to question whether I even needed Keyboard Maestro. I figured if I could recreate my KM macros as Alfred workflows I wouldn’t need Keyboard Maestro any longer. So that’s what I did. To my surprise, I was able to create Alfred workflows that would do the same thing that my KM macros did. To be fair to Keyboard Maestro I love the app but don’t need to apps that will do the same thing. Also, my macros were just scratching the surface of what Keyboard Maestro can do.

For now I’ve stopped using Keyboard Maestro and I’m using Alfred for 100% of my automation. Folks, this is what works for me but may not be what works for you.

I wrote an update to this article. You can find it here.

 

Apple listening

I love the Mac. It’s my preferred computing device. What makes the Mac great are all the apps that increase productivity. I’m thinking about Alfred, Keyboard Maestro, PopClip, Moom, and Hazel to name a few. You won’t find these in iOS or iPadOS

So, my Mac’s are getting old. Up to today, I have been concerned with what I would replace them when the time comes?

If you care about the Mac as I do you’ll want to read Marco Arment’s article Apple is Listening. After WWDC and reading Marco’s article I’m encouraged about the future of the Mac and that I will be able to continue to enjoy the Mac and the apps that I love using.

But there has clearly been a major shift in direction for the better since early 2017, and they couldn’t be more clear now:

Apple is listening again, they’ve still got it, and the Mac is back.

The MacSparky Keyboard Maestro Field Guide

Keyboard Maestro is one of my most used Mac apps. In fact, I’ve written several articles about how I use it here on this blog.

Here are a few of those articles:

Keyboard Maestro Macro – Getting URLs from Safari
Keyboard Maestro macro for plain-text pasting anywhere
Launch your favorite Mac apps with keyboard shortcuts | Keyboard Maestro
Quickly quit all open applications at once on your Mac – Keyboard Maestro

If you’ve been thinking about getting Keyboard Maestro now would be a great time. Here’s why. David Sparks has just released his MacSparky Keyboard Maestro Field Guide. This is a great way to get started. There are over 4 hours of streaming or downloadable video, 76 separate videos, 8 separate sections, many downloadable Keyboard Maestro scripts, and lots of knowledge, tricks, and hacks to make your Mac dance.

David is offering an introductory price of $24 for a limited time. Along with the introductory price for the Field Guide the developer is also offering a limited time 20% discount for the Keyboard Maestro application.

If you don’t have the Keyboard Maestro application yet, no problem. Keyboard Maestro’s developer digs the new Field Guide so much that he is giving 20% off the purchase of the Keyboard Maestro app for a limited time to celebrate the release of the new Field Guide. Just use the offer code “KMFG” when purchasing the Keyboard Maestro application.

Getting the link for an Apple Mail Message

This post by David Sparks aka MacSparky from a couple of days ago provides an Apple Script that he uses to get links to Apple Mail messages anywhere using TextExpander.

It’s easy to understand and there’s also a video that shows you how and why you would want to use it.

After reading the post and watching the video I decided that this would be something that I would use. Only one problem. I don’t use TextExpander. So after thinking about it for a few minutes, I figured I could accomplish the same thing using a Keyboard Maestro macro.

Here’s the macro:

This Keyboard Maestro macro works the same way as David’s TextExpander snippet. Now type “;elink” in any app that can take a URL and you create a link to the currently selected email message. I’m primarily using it in Things 3 and Bear.

Here’s the AppleScript if you want to copy and paste it:

(*
  Returns a link to the first selected Apple Mail message
*)
tell application "Mail"
  set _msgs to selected messages of message viewer 0
  if (_msgs is not equal to missing value) then
    set _msg to first item of _msgs
    set _msgID to do shell script "/usr/bin/python -c 'import sys, urllib; print urllib.quote(sys.argv[1])' " & (message id of _msg)

    return "message://%3C" & (_msgID) & "%3E"
  end if
end tell

 

Modifier key order

I’ve learned a lot about the Mac from following Dr. Drang’s blog. A lot of what he talks about is over my head but some I’m able to pick up on and use in my daily workflow.

Did you know that there’s a proper order for stating the modifier keys in a keyboard shortcut? I didn’t. But I do now.

Dr. Drang explains the the proper modifier key order in stating a keyboard shortcut:

Control (⌃), Option (⌥), and Command (⌘) always go in that order. The oddball is the Shift(⇧) key, which sneaks in just in front of Command.

If you write about Mac keyboard shortcuts, as I did yesterday, you should know how to do it right. Just as there’s a proper order for adjectives in English, there’s a proper order for listing the modifier keys in a shortcut.

The order is similar to how you see them down at the bottom left of your keyboard.

The last bit of standard syntax is that the letter key in the shortcut (if there is a letter) is always presented as a capital, even when the Shift key isn’t used.

​When entering a keyboard shortcut, you’re not typing a letter, you’re pressing a set of physical keys on the keyboard in front of you. The symbols on the letter keys are capitals, so that’s the appropriate way to identify those keys.