Trickster: Taking Control of Your Crafty File System

Do you remember when you changed a file, saved it absentmindedly and then started to look for it frantically? Yeah, I know, it happens to me more often than I care to admit. I usually create a new file in the same app and go to the save dialogue to see which path is set and where my sought-after file could be.

Of course, there’s Spotlight and the wonderful Alfred to help you out as well, but if you can’t remember a file name, you’re in trouble. Well, there’s a fix for that and it’s called Trickster. Read along to get to know the nifty little utility.

Trickster – Finding Files Magically

I’m sure pulling a rabbit out of a hat is much more difficult than listing recent used files and apps, but why should you have to remember everything? Computers are meant to make our lives easier and Trickster is another step in that direction.

The app lives in your menu bar and keeps track of pretty much everything you do on your Mac.

Trickster's default view

Trickster’s default view

If you download something from the web, if you open an image, if you create a Keynote presentation…Trickster will know and allow you to access everything more quickly and stop worrying about where you put something.

To the right, you can see Presets and custom filters: at the top you have your “inbox” – all accessed files and apps are in here. If you are not using an application launcher yet, for example, this will make it a lot faster for you to re-open apps that you might have quit just a tad too soon.

Only display apps or certain files types by selecting one of the categories from the left

Only display apps or certain files types by selecting one of the categories from the left

If that’s too messy for you, simply pick a category to see only apps, only images, documents, music, movies, folders, downloads or your Dropbox folder.

At the bottom there are more buttons, allowing you to change the appearance (basic row style vs extended style), sorting by time or alphabet or simply searching for something.

Don’t overlook the tiny heart at the upper right of the app window: clicking it will cause a pane to fly out with quick access to the most important folders on your Mac.

Quickly find what you are looking for through these three panes

Quickly find what you are looking for through these three panes

Working with Trickster

It not changed in the settings of the app, Trickster will keep all items in his memory for one week. That means, if you started to work on a presentation on monday, saved it somewhere and need to pick it up again on Wednesday, no need to rack your brain for the file name or location. Simply start Trickster, pick the documents category and open the file. That’s the simplest thing to do. There’s more, of course.

If you aren’t sure whether or not you picked the right file, why not use QuickLook? Either pick the option from the wheel visible when you select a file in Trickster or simply hit the Space bar.

Use QuickLook and other features right from within Trickster

Use QuickLook and other features right from within Trickster

If there’s more than one application capable of opening your selected file type, you can select that from the dropdown menu as well.

By the way, if you are into keyboard shortcuts? Don’t worry, Trickster has you covered as well: in the help menu you’ll find a handy list of all the available keyboard strokes that will keep your fingers away from your mouse.

For the keyboard addicts, there are shortcuts (screen shot shows only a fraction)

For the keyboard addicts, there are shortcuts (screen shot shows only a fraction)

Since Trickster is about making things easier for you, you can perform a lot of actions right from within the app: want to move a file? Simply drag it to a different folder. Want to mail the file you just re-discovered? Simply drag it onto your mail application.

Filters – Raw Power At Your Fingertips

One feature that is easily overlooked but makes Trickster a really, really powerful application are filters. Basically, the default categories to the left of the app window are filters already, but you can also set your own filters.

Define a name and set an icon for your filter

Define a name and set an icon for your filter

There are differente criteria do select what will be included: you can go by folders, file name, extensions or file types. Very convenient is the ability to define criteria to exclude certain folders from the search. It will put less strain on Trickster and save you from getting too much information to sort trough.

Define the criteria for your filter

Define the criteria for your filter

Once you’ve set up your filter, drag a file that will be affected by it to the test area to ensure that the filter works the way you want it to. In my case, I want a filter to show me all the screen shots I make on my Mac, because those are usually related to the article I’m currently writing. Instead of clearing my desktop from all windows or switching spaces, I can simply access all the files I need from Trickster.


Trickster is one of those nifty little utilities that you might smile at at the beginning, but once you start using them, you’ll start to rely on them. I’m a heavy Alfred user and it has often helped me find stuff as well, but more often than not, if I don’t remember where I saved it, I also forgot how I named a file. And if you accidentally moved something and it’s not where it’s supposed to be … well, I guess, you get the idea. Trickster will help you with all of that.

How do you deal with moments of forgetfullness and attacks of “Where the heck did I just put that file?” Are there any other apps that help you or are you simply embarking on a quest through your folders every time that happens?


Trickster keeps track of your recently used apps, folders and files. You can stop wasting time searching for your stuff and access it quickly and easily directly from the menu bar.



Add Yours
  • sure looks like Blast

    • Trickster _is_ Blast version 2.

      We didn’t like the name Blast so much (with which we were stuck for some historical reasons) so we used the opportunity of releasing version 2 to rebrand it along the way.

      I guess the review should’ve mentioned this.

  • So your workflow involves both Alfred and Trickster?

  • I’m not seeing anything here that can’t be done just as easily with a handful of smart folders in the Finder sidebar. Am I missing something?