Of all the GUI features on the Mac operating system, perhaps the most iconic is the Dock. It offers users a quick place to launch commonly used apps, as well as switch between those which are currently open. However, with the explosion of available apps for the Mac, the utility of the Dock has come into question among a growing number of users. For anyone who commonly opens dozens of different apps on a daily basis, it just isn’t feasible to look around looking for what you need.
Fortunately, a number of options have emerged to help us launch apps without ever needing to look at the Dock. OS X Lion introduced Launchpad, which quickly displays all of your applications. Power-users have long found options like Quicksilver to be faster and more powerful. Bevy, from Berg Design, was designed to be fast like Quicksilver while still having a more tangible interface like Launchpad. Let’s check it out.
Quicksilver. For seasoned Mac users that word instantly draws up fond memories of an app that was once at the top of every list of must have utilities. The beloved launcher has been out of the game for years though, an unceremoniously abandoned project that went before its time.
It seems though that the story doesn’t end there. The open source Quicksilver project, housed at QSApp.com, is alive and kicking and recently released a major update for Lion users. Intrigued? Read on!
Launching applications is a functional, necessary action that you take every day. Rather than being an exciting process, when it comes to opening an app, the less friction and interaction required the better.
For a long time, Mac users have favoured a dedicated application launcher for doing just this. Although you can store plenty of handy application shortcuts in your Dock, it soon becomes cluttered and difficult to navigate (and it requires the use of your mouse).
For speedy application launching, few options are better than a piece of software such as Quicksilver, LaunchBar or Alfred. For the purists among you, OS X’s built-in search tool – Spotlight – is perfectly adept at this. Just invoke it using Cmd-Space and type the name of the application you’d like to start!
But which do you prefer to use on a daily basis? Or are you perfectly happy with the OS X Dock? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
It’s been over six months since we first took a look at Alfred, a fantastic application launcher for the Mac. Since then, I’ve heard about many of you switching to this system from Quicksilver, Google Quick Search Box, and various other launchers.
I’ve become a devoted fan of Alfred, and it’s probably now one of the most oft-used apps on my Mac. A recent update to the app comes in the form of the Alfred Powerpack, bringing a set of fantastic new features and significantly broadening the scope of what Alfred is capable of. He’s turning into a pretty handy butler!
I’ll be taking a look at some of these new “Powerpack features” after the break.
Remember Quicksilver? OS X’s ultimate but long-dormant launcher has quietly been updated to work on OS 10.6 and above. I thought I’d take the opportunity to dredge up an old but useful trick to boost your productivity.
Below I’ll show you how to setup Abracdabra with Quicksilver and add magical mouse gestures to activate any standard QS action. It’s a relatively simple trick, but gives your mouse a power you’ve never known before!
Alfred is the latest application to add to an ever-expanding set of “quick launch” apps. So is there room for another? Definitely. Alfred has been designed with the casual user in mind and makes finding files and searching the net a whole lot faster and easier.
Google Quick Search Box is the next step in the evolution of Google Desktop: it goes a step beyond simply letting you search the files on your computer to provide an integrated tool that lets you take a variety of actions from a launch bar. It’s designed in part by Nicholas Jitkoff, one of the original developers of Quicksilver.
The biggest advancement with Google Quick Search Box is the ability to perform actions on your search results. Where once you could only find files from Google Desktop, you can now launch files, email them as attachments, and move them to the trash just as easily.
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!
On the surface, Quicksilver is a simple application launcher. Type a quick shortcut to launch the main window followed by the first few letters of an application’s name and you’re off launching apps at will from the keyboard like some sort of OS X wizard. This is all fine and dandy, but the real power of Quicksilver lies in a broad and robust range of features.
However, faced with a formidable learning curve, many users fail to dig deeper to discover how to use Quicksilver beyond simply launching apps. This article will provide a brief overview of how to setup Quicksilver and begin using a number of its most useful features. Later we’ll have another article that delves into some more advanced features, techniques and tricks.