Alfred

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I am not a big on using keyboard command apps, but recently I have had to make an exception for a cool app called Alfred. Please note, Alfred is a very sophisticated app that does all kinds of stuff, but it all is based on keyboard commands.

 

Overview

I want to begin by saying there is no way I can cover all that Alfred does in one article. It is just too sophisticated. Here is how Alfred describes itself:

Alfred is an award-winning app for Mac OS X which boosts your efficiency with hotkeys and keywords. Search your Mac and the web effortlessly, and control your Mac using customised actions with the Powerpack.

Yes, to get the most out of Alfred you need to buy the Powerpack at £17 pounds. As far as I am concerned the Powerpack is worth every dime, but you do not need to buy it to use the basic functionality of Alfred which is free.

Alfred is great at finding things on your Mac and online as well. Initially, I just want to look at some of the ways you can search on the Mac. Yes, there are all kinds of settings and ways to tweak the app, I will cover that in the future article.

Searches

Alfred comes set with the initial key combination of Option ⌥ , Spacebar to invoke this search window:

Just start typing something like an app name and you get this window:

I wanted to launch my Blogo app. Just typed in “b” and it appeared in the list. But, that is not the best part of this functionality. Alfred learns what your favorites are. When I first started searching for Blogo it was about 4th on that list, but after launching it a few times Alfred moved it up to the top of the list. Alfred is a smart application.

If you wish to find a folder just type in “f” and it presents you with a “folder search” item:

Type in the name of a folder and it is listed ready to be opened.

I cannot count the times I have scrounged around in my documents folder for a folder.

If you wish to open a file just type “o” then select “open file”:

Then type in the name of the file:

Admittedly, it is difficult to remember some of these file and folder names, but if you know what you want and where you are going Alfred is faster than mousing through the Finder and folders.

Just to give you a taste of what else we can cover in Alfred here is the main Preferences window:

There are settings for every one of those areas in the left hand column! The settings are voluminous. Hopefully we can cover some of them in the future, including Workflows. Yes, you can make whole workflows using Alfred, pretty cool.

Conclusion

Alfred is a very sophisticated, cool app. I have only been using for a short time. It does take time to build up muscle memory using the keyboard, but it is doable. I think it is worth it to buy the Powerpack, YMMV.

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