Pages ’09 in Lion: ‘Save As’ macro with Keyboard Maestro

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Pages
September 22nd, 2011 • 4:49 pm

A couple of weeks ago, I asked in a blog post why Apple had decided to ditch the “Save As…” command in its Lion-optimized applications, including Pages ’09 and Numbers ’09.

Today, I decided that I was not going to wait for an answer (which in all likelihood will never come) and that instead I should design a macro command with Keyboard Maestro that would enable me to work around the problem. And here’s what I came up with:

New Save As macro with KM

Essentially, what this macro does is that it uses Pages ’09’s built-in “Duplicate” command (in the “File” menu) to create a new version of the current top document window, then uses the “Cycle Through Windows” keyboard shortcut (command-Ù on my Canadian CSA keyboard, command-` on the US keyboard) to switch back to the document the macro has just duplicated, and closes it, which brings the duplicate document window back to the foreground, and then, after a one-second pause, triggers the “Save” command for the unsaved duplicate document window, which brings up the “Save As…” dialog box.

The one-second pause is necessary, at least on my machine, because otherwise Pages ’09 ignores the command-S shortcut, which it receives while it is still in the process of switch document windows.

This is not ideal, because the “Duplicate” command in Pages ’09 has the very irritating habit of creating the duplicate document window in an unpredictable position on the screen. (Sometimes it’s in the same position as the original window, but with a small offset; sometimes it’s right in the middle of the screen, which on a 30” monitor like mine means quite far from the left of the screen. Sometimes, on my dual-monitor set-up, it even opens the duplicate document window right in the middle of my secondary screen. I don’t want to waste any grey matter on trying to figure out the logic followed by this “Duplicate” command here.)

It is also not ideal in that you still have to manually delete the “copy” suffix that the “Duplicate” command has added to the file name.

But at least this process preserves other aspects of the document window, including the window size, the position and layout of the styles drawer, etc.

It’s as good an approximation of a “Save As…” command as I can come up with. I’ve assigned the command-shift-S shortcut to it, which means that I don’t have to lose a 20-year-old habit and abandon well-established workflows just because Apple has decided that the “Save As…” command is obsolete.

The same scheme can obviously be used for other applications, like Numbers ’09 and Keynote ’09. I am not sure about extending it to more applications beyond that. It’s probably OK, but the pause length might have to be adjusted, and one might have to check the “Cycle Through Windows” order to make sure that a single shortcut is enough to switch from the new document window to the one you’ve just duplicated. For me, it’s mostly in Pages ’09 that I really need some kind of “Save As…” command, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

There are probably philosophical reasons associated with the fact that, with the Auto Save feature, it’s not quite clear which state of the current document a “Save As…” command would duplicate, but frankly, when I start thinking about it, my head starts hurting, and I suspect I will have reached retirement age before Apple’s engineers have figured out all the implications of the Auto Save approach and created a fluid, intuitive interface to go along with it. So for now, it’s Keyboard Maestro to the rescue again.

(It’s probably worth repeating that BBEdit has had some kind of Auto Save feature for years, and that has not prevented the Bare Bones engineers from keeping their “Save As…” command intact.)

One Response to “Pages ’09 in Lion: ‘Save As’ macro with Keyboard Maestro”

  1. Betalogue » ‘Save As…’ in Mountain Lion says:

    […] I have created a Keyboard Maestro macro that automates some of the tedious steps that the “Duplicate…”-based approach now requires. But even Keyboard Maestro cannot do […]