Using the TextBlade iOS app, users can define macros – a sequence of characters to be “typed” by the TextBlade. Each macro must be assigned to a key. The TextBlade has a fixed amount of flash memory dedicate to storing macros. This allows macros to be used on any platform.

To invoke a macro, hold down the macro chord (). You will notice a distinct LED pattern is lit on the SpaceBlade while Macro mode is active. To invoke a macro press the 'trigger' key associated with the desired macro. The macro chord is 'sticky' (rather like the Shift keys) which means you can release the chord and the next character typed is assumed to be the key to trigger the macro. This means that you are not restricted to using keys on the left blade to trigger macros and keys on the right blade can also be used for this purpose. To cancel the 'sticky' macro mode simply press the macro chord again.

When you press the macro trigger key TextBlade then sends the sequence of characters to the connected device simulating a typing speed of approximately 100 characters per second. If the TextBlade is connected to an iOS device with the keyboard extension active, the characters need not be sent across Bluetooth and will appear nearly instantaneously.

Limitations on Macro Content

There is a limitation in macro content in that can only consist of printable characters. This means that you cannot include sequences that make use of modifiers like Ctrl, Alt, CMD.

There have been no indications that this restriction is going to be removed in a future firmware release (although it would be a nice addition).
It would be nice to get some input from users on how macros interact with foreign character sets and whether characters such as emoji’s work with macros.

Keyboard Map dependent Characters in Macros

The following limitation described may be lifted in a future firmware release.

There is currently a limitation in the handling of printable characters in macros that can affect those who have different target OS or keyboard mappings. It applies if all the following criteria are met:

  • You have the targets OS for different Jump Slots set to be a a mixture of Apple OS (iOS/MacOS) and other OS (Windows/Linux/Android/ChromeOS).
  • The target keyboard mapping is not US QWERTY
  • You have symbols in your macro that can be keyboard/language specific.

This combination of criteria means that this issue will only be met by a small number of users, but those who do meet the criteria need to be aware of it.

The technical reason behind this issue is that a macro is store within the TextBlade as a sequence of characters to be sent at the time it is loaded into the TextBlade using the TextBlade app. The sequence of characters is stored as one that would be appropriate for Jump Slot 1. No further processing is done at the time the macro is used to take into account the target OS or keyboard type for a particular Jump Slot when it is not Jump Slot 1. This means that the characters sent may not be appropriate for a target OS or keyboard type that is not the same as that on Jump Slot 1.

As an example:
Jump Slot 1: Target OS=iOS, Target keyboard=UK
Jump Slot 2: Target OS=Windows, Target Keyboard=UK
Jump Slot 3: Target OS=Linux, Target Keyboard=UK
If you set up a macro with the '@' character then on the Linux/Windows Jump Slots this will appear as a '“' character as iOS and windows internally store the '@' character differently. If you instead make the Windows the target OS on Jump Slot 1 then you get what you want on Windows and Linux, but not on iOS.

Size Limits

Macros set up by the user are stored in the internal memory of the TextBlade. The TextBlade has limited space to store macros and if you exceed these limits then you can start getting strange results where the macros stored on certain keys do not register correctly. The space used is basically the sum of the length of the text in the macros.

This limit is currently 1600 characters on each blade. This limit may well change in future firmware releases.