Macros

Macros allow you to send multiple keystrokes when pressing just one key. QMK has a number of ways to define and use macros. These can do anything you want: type common phrases for you, copypasta, repetitive game movements, or even help you code.

Security Note: While it is possible to use macros to send passwords, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information it is a supremely bad idea to do so. Anyone who gets ahold of your keyboard will be able to access that information by opening a text editor.

The new way: SEND_STRING() & process_record_user

Sometimes you just want a key to type out words or phrases. For the most common situations we've provided SEND_STRING(), which will type out your string for you. All ascii that is easily translated to a keycode is supported (eg \n\t).

For example:

enum custom_keycodes {
    PRINT_TRUTH = SAFE_RANGE
};

bool process_record_user(uint16_t keycode, keyrecord_t *record) {
    if (record->event.pressed) {
        switch(keycode) {
            case PRINT_TRUTH:
                SEND_STRING("QMK is the best thing ever!");
                return false; break;
        }
    }
    return true;
};

Tap/down/up

You can send arbitary keycodes by wrapping them in:

  • SS_TAP()
  • SS_DOWN()
  • SS_UP()

For example:

SEND_STRING(SS_TAP(X_HOME));

Would tap KC_HOME - note how the prefix is now X_, and not KC_. You can also combine this with other strings, like this:

SEND_STRING("VE"SS_TAP(X_HOME)"LO");

Which would send "VE" followed by a KC_HOME tap, and "LO" (spelling "LOVE" if on a newline).

There's also a couple of mod shortcuts you can use:

  • SS_LCTRL(string)
  • SS_LGUI(string)
  • SS_LALT(string)

That can be used like this:

SEND_STRING(SS_LCTRL("a"));

Which would send LCTRL+a (LTRL down, a, LTRL up) - notice that they take strings (eg "k"), and not the X_K keycodes.

Alternative keymaps

By default, it assumes a US keymap with a QWERTY layout; if you want to change that (e.g. if your OS uses software Colemak), include this somewhere in your keymap:

#include <sendstring_colemak.h>

Strings in memory

If for some reason you're manipulating strings and need to print out something you just generated (instead of being a literal, constant string), you can use send_string(), like this:

char my_str[4] = "ok.";
send_string(my_str);

The shortcuts defined above won't work with send_string(), but you can separate things out to different lines if needed:

char my_str[4] = "ok.";
SEND_STRING("I said: ");
send_string(my_str);
SEND_STRING(".."SS_TAP(X_END));

The old way: MACRO() & action_get_macro

This is inherited from TMK, and hasn't been updated - it's recommend that you use SEND_STRING and process_record_user instead.

By default QMK assumes you don't have any macros. To define your macros you create an action_get_macro() function. For example:

const macro_t *action_get_macro(keyrecord_t *record, uint8_t id, uint8_t opt) {
    if (record->event.pressed) {
        switch(id) {
            case 0:
                return MACRO(D(LSFT), T(H), U(LSFT), T(I), D(LSFT), T(1), U(LSFT), END);
            case 1:
                return MACRO(D(LSFT), T(B), U(LSFT), T(Y), T(E), D(LSFT), T(1), U(LSFT), END);
        }
    }
    return MACRO_NONE;
};

This defines two macros which will be run when the key they are assigned to is pressed. If instead you'd like them to run when the key is released you can change the if statement:

if (!record->event.pressed) {

Macro Commands

A macro can include the following commands:

  • I() change interval of stroke in milliseconds.
  • D() press key.
  • U() release key.
  • T() type key(press and release).
  • W() wait (milliseconds).
  • END end mark.

Mapping a Macro to a key

Use the M() function within your KEYMAP() to call a macro. For example, here is the keymap for a 2-key keyboard:

const uint16_t PROGMEM keymaps[][MATRIX_ROWS][MATRIX_COLS] = {
    [0] = KEYMAP(
        M(0), M(1)
    ),
};

const macro_t *action_get_macro(keyrecord_t *record, uint8_t id, uint8_t opt) {
    if (record->event.pressed) {
        switch(id) {
            case 0:
                return MACRO(D(LSFT), T(H), U(LSFT), T(I), D(LSFT), T(1), U(LSFT), END);
            case 1:
                return MACRO(D(LSFT), T(B), U(LSFT), T(Y), T(E), D(LSFT), T(1), U(LSFT), END);
        }
    }
    return MACRO_NONE;
};

When you press the key on the left it will type "Hi!" and when you press the key on the right it will type "Bye!".

Naming your macros

If you have a bunch of macros you want to refer to from your keymap while keeping the keymap easily readable you can name them using #define at the top of your file.

#define M_HI M(0)
#define M_BYE M(1)

const uint16_t PROGMEM keymaps[][MATRIX_ROWS][MATRIX_COLS] = {
    [0] = KEYMAP(
        M_HI, M_BYE
    ),
};

Advanced macro functions

There are some functions you may find useful in macro-writing. Keep in mind that while you can write some fairly advanced code within a macro if your functionality gets too complex you may want to define a custom keycode instead. Macros are meant to be simple.

record->event.pressed

This is a boolean value that can be tested to see if the switch is being pressed or released. An example of this is

    if (record->event.pressed) {
        // on keydown
    } else {
        // on keyup
    }

register_code(<kc>);

This sends the <kc> keydown event to the computer. Some examples would be KC_ESC, KC_C, KC_4, and even modifiers such as KC_LSFT and KC_LGUI.

unregister_code(<kc>);

Parallel to register_code function, this sends the <kc> keyup event to the computer. If you don't use this, the key will be held down until it's sent.

clear_keyboard();

This will clear all mods and keys currently pressed.

clear_mods();

This will clear all mods currently pressed.

clear_keyboard_but_mods();

This will clear all keys besides the mods currently pressed.

Advanced Example: Single-key copy/paste

This example defines a macro which sends Ctrl-C when pressed down, and Ctrl-V when released.

const macro_t *action_get_macro(keyrecord_t *record, uint8_t id, uint8_t opt) {
    switch(id) {
        case 0: {
            if (record->event.pressed) {
                return MACRO( D(LCTL), T(C), U(LCTL), END  );
            } else {
                return MACRO( D(LCTL), T(V), U(LCTL), END  );
            }
            break;
        }
    }
    return MACRO_NONE;
};

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