Following our recent introduction to Quicksilver, we have rounded up a list of ten fantastic plugins to extend functionality and allow you to achieve more with the utility. All the plugins are completely free, and can be installed through Quicksilver itself.
They range from actions for manipulating images through to interacting with the terminal or changing your screen resolution. Prepare to find a bunch of useful new functionality, all accessible right from your keyboard!
As you would expect, this plugin facilitates the uploading of photos (or a folder of photos) to your Flickr account. It’s also possible to add tags to the image before starting the upload. Be sure to configure your Flickr account in the application preferences first.
Extra Scripts is a phenomenal pack of additional commands you can use in Quicksilver, allowing you to interact with your Mac in new ways. It’s probably my favourite additional plugin, as it adds so much extra functionality.
They include logout/shut down/restart, displaying your current IP address, emptying the trash, ejecting a disk, adjusting the volume, or toggling the currently selected audio input/output.
File Tagging provides actions to modify tags for selected file or folder. Depending upon how organized you are, this can be a great way to associate keywords with a particular file and facilitate easier Spotlight searching. The plugin can add or remove tags, along with initiating a search.
All tags created by the File Tagging plugin are prefixed by @. When searching for tags, however, you do not need to enter the @ prefix.
The Shelf plugin acts as a temporary storage location for files (or anything!), displaying items in a stack format with the newest on top. You are able to put an item on the shelf, or display a list of all the files currently contained within it.
It’s worth noting that if you plan on maintaining a particularly large stack, you may notice a few problems with memory usage.
This plugin allows you to search your music by artist, album, genre, playlist, track name, or all of the above. It can skip to the next or previous track, pause, change playlists, or even queue up tracks in the party shuffle.
It offers a faster alternative to using the iTunes window, and can also usefully be coupled with keyboard triggers or mouse triggers to offer greater flexibility.
One of the most powerful plugins, Image Manipulation gives you the ability to scale images and alter their format. Here is a quick example of the syntax to use:
Use the “scale image” action and give it text in the form:
“SCALE_INFO [as FORMAT_INFO]”
SCALE_INFO: “[fit] WIDTH [x HEIGHT]”
FORMAT_INFO: “JPG/PNG/GIF/TIFF [low/med*/hi*] [prog(ressive)] [inter(laced)]”
“fit 640×480 as jpg high progressive” – creates an image that will fit within a 640×480 rectangle
“50% as interlaced png” – creates a png with dimensions half of the original
I’m particularly fond of the common-sense language used to invoke the action, and it can be a real time-saver when used on multiple images at once.
The Display plugin will help to reduce the number of times you find yourself firing up System Preferences, making it easy to change screen resolution, color depth and refresh rate right from the keyboard.
It’s capable of handling multiple displays, and I find it particularly useful when wanting to quickly test how a website would display at a different screen resolution.
This slightly more technical plugin allows you to adjust the properties of a particular file. This includes locking and unlocking, making a file visible or invisible, setting a comment, or adding a label.
It’s far quicker than locating a file and invoking the “Get Info” command to adjust properties manually, though I would welcome a way to also alter the permissions settings on a file.
The Terminal plugin provides a simple way to interact with the shell directly through Quicksilver. You can navigate to a directory, execute a script, run a text command, or show the manual page for a particular command.
With most actions you have the choice of executing directly within Quicksilver, or through opening a new Terminal window.
Screen Capture Actions offers a quick interface to the default screenshot utility bundled with OS X. It essentially mimics the default Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts (command-shift-3 and command-shift-4 by default) for capturing screen shots.
Once a capture has been taken, the command window will reappear with the captured image automatically selected as the direct object in the first pane. You can capture the whole screen, a specified region, or a single window.
Name Your Favorites!
These are my favorites, but I’m interested to hear how you use Quicksilver. Which plugins couldn’t you live without? Also, feel free to let us know any topics that you would like to see covered in a future Quicksilver tutorial.