A Keyboard Maestro macro to edit Anki sound file

Often when I import a pronunciation file into Anki, from Forvo for example, the volume isn’t quite right or there’s a lot of background noise; and I want to edit the sound file. How?

The solution for me, as it often the case is a Keyboard Maestro macro.


  • Keyboard Maestro - if you are a macOS power user and don’t have KM, then your missing on a lot.
  • Audacity - the multi-platform FOSS audio editor

Outline of the approach

Since Keyboard Maestro won’t know the path to our file in Anki’s collection.media directory, we have to find it. But the first task is to extract the filename. In the Anki note field, it’s going to have this format:


To extract the the filename forvo-e21a80cf-285b8575-3972ebd2-24eaa712-d8e5cc26.mp3 we can just use sed:

sed -E 's/\[.*:(.*)\]/\1/g'

And to find the file in the macOS file system:

mdfind -name $fn

But we want to restrict our search to a collection.media directory because the file might be cached somewhere else. For example Awesome TTS caches a copy of generated or downloaded files. Here, we can pipe our mdfind results to grep:

mdfind -name $fn | grep -E 'collection[^\0]media'

Putting it all together, this is script we’ll use in the KM macro:


fn=$(pbpaste | sed -E 's/\[.*:(.*)\]/\1/g')
# open with Audacity but only if file is found in 
# a path with collection.media
open -a /Applications/Audacity.app \
     "$(mdfind -name $fn | grep -E 'collection[^\0]media')"

Now we just just have to make sure that the field contents are on the clipboard for pbpaste to work. In KM, we will just add Select All and Copy actions (⌘A and ⌘C.)