Automate Academy Triggers
Automate Desktop

Keyboard Trigger

Chapter 8 | Automate Triggers

Learn how to use the keyboard trigger to monitor for specific keystrokes, such as hotkey or autokey combinations, to initiate a task or workflow. Brigette Matz, Automate Trainer/Consultant, will show you the different ways to set up a keyboard trigger. In this video you’ll learn how to:

  • Set up and configure a hotkey combination keyboard trigger
  • Set up and configure an autokey combination keyboard trigger
  • Specify if the keyboard trigger combination is still active in any application or just within Automate

Watch this chapter now to learn more about the keyboard trigger.



Brigette:           The keyboard trigger, or condition, monitors for specific key strokes such as a hot key or auto key combination to be typed on the keyboard. Once the keyboard event occurs, Automate will initiate execution of a task or workflow associated with the trigger. Here I have a list of some of our tasks for Automate. [00:00:30] I want to run the website, log into portal task, based on the hot key initiation. So, let's see how we configure the hot key, and then run this task based on that hot key. We'll right click and hit Edit Triggers. We'll click our Add Trigger button. Now we'll select our Keyboard Action.  Click Okay.

                                [00:01:00] The first configuration option allows us to specify a hot key combination, which when executed, will launch the task or workflow. The default setting for the hot key is ALT A, but you can change the hot key to any combination you like by highlighting this field and pressing the hot key buttons you'd wish to use. In this exercise we'll use Control ALT K, and when I press those buttons on my keyboard, you'll see them appear in the field. [00:01:30] When using the hot key combination as a trigger, you can also specify whether Automate will allow that hot key combination to continue to be active in an open application. If this option is not selected, the hot key combination will have no effect on any application other than Automate.

                                So, let's go ahead and test this trigger out. First, we'll save our changes here by clicking Okay, and then we'll go back to our list of tasks. [00:02:00] We'll click the Back button up here. Now I'm going to press my hot key, Control Alt K,  and we should see Automate run our task of logging into the Help Systems Community Portal Account, and navigating to our Product Downloads page. So, I'm pressing hot keys. You'll see the last task listed has changed to the color green, meaning it has launched the task, and now we'll quickly watch as the progression of this task logs in and navigates through the website. So, we've [00:02:30] got our username and password. We're clicking in our Sign In button, and then we'll click a couple more buttons here to get to that download page, and that is our task.

                                Now that we've seen how the hot key trigger works, let's try the string of texts option to initiate our task. We'll go back into the original trigger and reconfigure it accordingly. So, here we'll right click on the task and select Edit Triggers. I'll [00:03:00] select the keyboard trigger that we've already configured, and we'll go ahead and edit that to change the trigger event. Okay, so this time we're going to use the text trigger condition. The text option will enable Automate to trigger our task based on the keystrokes of a specific word, phrase, or text string. In this case we'll go ahead and we'll use a phrase, and I'll be very creative, and we'll make that phrase string of text, with a period at the end.

                                [00:03:30] When the text condition is selected, Automate also gives us the option to erase the text from any document or application before actually triggering the task. However, if you want the typed text to appear in the window in the open application or document, you can leave this parameter disabled, which we'll do for this exercise. So, let's see this one in action as well. We'll go ahead and click Okay to save our changes here, [00:04:00] and then we'll go back to our list of tasks. Again, we're running this website log into portal task based on that text phrase, so I'll go ahead and I'll open my notepad here, and then we'll type out that phrase. String of text, with a period at the end. was the phrase that we're going to use. So I'll type that in here, and then we'll see that Automate has initiated the task. Again, it is [00:04:30] green in the icon there, and we've got our web portal window open, and we're entering our username and password, and then we'll see it click along that downloads page that we looked at before in this task.

                                We'll close these here. We'll go again and we'll edit that trigger. [00:05:00] Once you've determined whether you'd use a hot key or text to launch your task, you can configure the trigger to handle some additional rules. Selecting this option, we'll customize the trigger to initiate your task only when a specific process is active on the system during the time that a user enters that specified hot key or text. This dropdown here allows you to select from a predefined list of processes. There's just a few listed here. [00:05:30] If the process isn't here, we can also use the folder icon to specify that process that we want to have active.

                                For example, in this case we could say that we only want to trigger the task to start running if the text is written out in our notepad. So I'll find my notepad here and I'll select that. You could also just key it into that field if you wanted to, but just know if the same text is keyed in any other process or application while notepad is not active, that task will not be triggered. [00:06:00] So, if we wanted to ensure that the task will only trigger if we are typing texts into our notepad, we would select this parameter, which requires the notepad window to be focused in order to read that text as a trigger event.

                                And finally, under the Behavior Options drop down, you'll notice that the enabled trigger is defaulted to being selected. This tells Automate to immediately start monitoring for that trigger event as soon as we save our changes and close out of this configuration window. [00:06:30] If you're not yet ready to have Automate trigger your tasks, you can disable the trigger by deselecting this parameter. Our last option is to specify whether we want Automate to hold off on triggering the task until the condition has been met a specified number of times. If I select this, and use the default of two, then Automate will wait for two occurrences of my text to be keyed out before [00:07:00] initiating my task.

Ready for the next chapter?

Chapter 9: Event Log Trigger