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Write To File Action

The Write to a File and Append Text to a File actions allow you to write data from a variety of sources to a file on disk.

Write or append the current system clipboard, a named clipboard, a variable, some text or some styled text (you can write but cannot append styled text).


1. Will Overwrite Existing File

While the Copy a File action will NOT overwrite an existing file, and will cause the Macro to abort/cancel IF the “Failure Aborts Macro” option is checked, this Write to a File action will overwrite an existing file without warning or failure. The “Failure Aborts Macro” option has no effect on this.

2. Inadvertent Destruction of Folder (pre v8.1)

Ensure you specify a file path, not a path to a directory - this action uses an Apple API that can overwrite directories, destroying them completely (pre-v8.1).** As of v8.1+, this action will trash (if possible) (in to the trash folder) any existing file or directory you are about to overwrite.

How To Use

Select the file to write to by specifying its path. Click the File Chooser button on the right to select an existing file on disk. Option-click on the File Chooser button to show the currently selected file in the Finder (assuming it exists already).

You can write the file in a variety of formats, including plain text, RTF or RTFD, SimpleText, as an HTML folder or web archive, or a Word Doc, Word XML, Open Office XML, or Open Document. You can only append to plain text formats though.

Clipboards which contain images can be written in various formats: PNG, TIFF, JPEG, BMP, GIF. Plain text formats can have a specified character encoding: MacRoman, ISO-8859 Latin 1, UTF-8, UTF-16.

If you change the format or extension of the file in the ‘to file’ field, the ‘with format’ selector changes to match. If you hold the Option key down and change the format selector, the extension in the ‘to file’ field will be left unchanged (7.0+).

Note the difference between the Write and Append actions: Write changes the entire contents of the file on disk while Append adds the new content at the end of the file.

For text, the action allows you to control what text processing happens in the gear menu (7.2+) :

  • Process Text Normally (process text tokens and backslash characters)
  • Process Text Tokens Only (process text tokens but not backslash characters)
  • Process Nothing (process neither text tokens nor backslash characters)

Most other Text Fields in Keyboard Maestro process both text tokens and (except for regular expression fields) backslash characters.

See Also




action/Write_to_a_File.txt · Last modified: 2023/05/15 00:22 by peternlewis