You’ve no doubt heard about quick-launcher apps, they are utilities that are triggered by a keyboard shortcut and that let you do things like open apps or files a lot faster than if you did so by going into the menus. You just have to trigger the bar, type in what you are looking for and press enter. The great thing is that it works for so many more things than launching apps.
The app that we are reviewing today is one of these utilities and it’s called, of all things, Launcher. Come take a look at what it has to offer!
The first time you open Launcher, you’ll be shown two things: One is the settings screen, where you can change the shortcut for making the app show up and also add or delete the commands or shortcuts with which the app will behave, we’ll get to them later.
The other thing you’ll see is the launcher bar and some text showing you what you can do with Launcher. This help screen will always be available if you type in “help” or if you click the “?” sign next to the bar. In it you are shown a few examples of what Launcher can do for you, like look up words in the dictionary.
What Can You Do With It?
Other than the basic commands, you can also do the usual stuff that Spotlight can do. You can use it as a calculator, and it will handle all sorts of functions or parenthesis that you want to throw to it. You can use it as a very fast dictionary by just typing any word, or you can use it to open a URL quickly by typing it in.
You can also, of course, use it to quickly launch apps. For me, it had some problems indexing my applications at the beginning, but it all worked out fine once I went into the settings and chose the “Index Now” option. It works like any other launcher, just start typing and it will guess which app you are thinking about. Just press enter and that app will open.
Commands and Shortcuts
If you aren’t familiar with quick-launcher apps, the commands are the shortcuts that you can use to make a few things launch even quicker. For example, one of the default commands in the app is “g” for google. So, if you launch the quick-launcher and type in “g” followed by a word, your browser will be launched and it will automatically search google for that word.
Adding new commands is, thankfully, really easy and fast. Just press the “+” button on the settings and you’ll be shown a few fields that you need to fill in. The first one is the Command that Launcher will respond to, this should be short and easy to remember, like “g” for “Google”.
The second field is a drop-down menu where you can choose what kind of task the command will do. “Search” is basically used if you want to add a new search engine to the commands, like YouTube. “Application,” “URL” and “Open File/Folder” are all for opening any of those with a simple command. “System” is interesting because it lets you do things like play, pause, mute, start the screensaver or put the computer to sleep with commands. “Script” is the most complicated and technical one, but it is used to add more customization to your commands, like the premade “Say” that is used to make the computer speak something.
Why Choose This Over Spotlight?
Spotlight is in itself, a quick-launcher. Although it lacks a bit on the “quick” side. In my computer, Spotlight works very slowly, you can’t really achieve the same pace that you can with other third party apps. You also can’t deny the advantage of the commands available in Launcher, and being able to create your own.
There’s also some small details that make it very much worth your time. For example, if you use it as a calculator to do an operation, you can press enter and the result will be copied to your clipboard. And, let’s not forget that you can access websites in your browser from within the app, something that you can’t really do with Spotlight.
Launcher Compared with Alfred
Alfred is probably the most popular quick-launcher app, but Launcher is a good competitor. The first thing I noticed about Launcher is that it is simpler and more basic than Alfred. I feel Alfred is a bit more technical and complicated than Launcher, altough that doesn’t necessarily make it a complex app. It just has way more settings to tweak, which can make it a bit confusing. I know it put me off the first time I tried to use it, I actually stopped using it for a while because of it.
Launcher occasionally has some glitches and stuff like that, which prevents it from being better than Alfred. It also has fewer settings, like I said before. In Launcher, you can’t, for example, select which keyboard layout to use or which country’s search engines to use. Going into the settings of Alfred can get overwhelming and confusing for new users, so I guess a simpler app like Launcher would be good for a newcomer to the quick-launcher market.
I’d never gotten into a quick-launcher app before. I tried Alfred one day, but after seeing all the settings that I had to tweak (I always, always tweak the settings) I got turned off by it and decided to uninstall it. Until now, I hadn’t given it another try, but Launcher did a great job at putting simply all the advantages that one of these apps can have, and also of making the setup process easy and painless.
Yes, Alfred is very popular and it has everything you need, but for some users it perhaps has too much. There isn’t a about Launcher to get overwhelmed by, it has only the settings that you really need, and nothing else.