Yes, I do like new toys. No, I’m not always the fastest to adopt them. I’ve been using macros in my daily work for years in various forms. If I just lost you, stop thinking dietary needs. A macro is simply an automated set of instructions to do repetitive tasks at a push of a button. They are simple programs that do things like move data in a spreadsheet from one place to another. If you are a gamer, you’re likely familiar with macros that let you do multiple actions in a game without having to hit multiple hotkeys. For quite some time, my enjoyment of the simple macro has had me looking at various devices like the topic of today’s post: the Elgato Stream Deck.
What Is A Stream Deck?
This fun device is basically just a fancy box with a series of buttons on it. That’s it in a nutshell. Except that you can then tell each individual button to do something. This is where macros come in to play. Do you start your day checking your email and calendar? Make a button that opens email in one window and your calendar in another with one press. Do you have a set of files you reference constantly? Make a button that opens each file separately or all together. How about a button to fire up your favorite music app to a specific playlist?
It’s Not Just For Streamers
A lot of people who live stream use the Stream Deck to control the various odds and ends that make things run smoothly. While it may push me over the edge where I actually try to stream on occasion, that isn’t why I purchased one of these devices. When I finally pulled the trigger, I had a few goals in mind.
- Clean up my computer desktop by replacing shortcuts and icons and programs and spreadsheets and browser tabs with buttons
- Put important tools at my fingertips, literally.
- Automating certain photography related tasks.
There Is So Much More
I see myriad possibilities with my new Stream Deck. If you like technology and understand what a macro is, you’re off and running in no time. If you don’t, it shouldn’t take too long to recognize how you might leverage this device. For me, someone who has spent many years writing code and creating programming logic, this is proving to be fun. I want to figure out how to use it better.
That photo at the top of this article? That is a “profile” on my Stream Deck I am playing with that has a few photography-related items on it like links to my websites, mood boards, etc. The photographs are each a different button that, at the moment, just look cool. They don’t do anything but remind me that I’ve worked with a lot of amazing people over the years. In theory, I could create a button for every person I have ever worked with and make the button a link to their webpage, social media, or email address. Or perhaps they could link to the images we created together?
For now, I’m just having fun learning all the fun things I can do with the Stream Deck. It is certainly not the last macro-oriented device I plan to add to my arsenal. I’m curious, though. Do you have something similar? How do you put it to use? Leave a comment. I can use more ideas!