Alfred : A better ⌘ SPACE

Posted: January 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: mac | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Alfred : A better ⌘ SPACE

Over the past few weeks I’ve been using Alfred on both my work and home macs.  It’s a replacement for quicksilver which doesn’t seem to have been updated lately and to be quite honest I never really “got”.  I used it to launch applications and search with finder, but other than that not much else.  After quicksilver I just started using good old ⌘ SPACE to open spotlight and use it as my application launcher and for that alone it works just fine. It also replaces spotlight’s file searching using find {file} and open {file} to find and open files on disk – you can include / exclude the types of files it searches as well.  Alfred adds to this a bunch of web searching by default, type google some term and a new tab opens in the default browser (Chrome in my case) with your search term.  There are built in searches for gmail, twitter, amazon, wikipedia and many others which each have their own keyword and search term combination.

At work I often find myself doing certain search tasks (more go to url.com/x/ where x is a variable) all the time. Enter alfred’s custom searches.  You define your keyword, your url and it replaces a token “{query}” with your search term.  Now opening a track ticket is ⌘ SPACE t 12345 which translates to trac.site.com/ticket/12345.  I have also added trac searching, stack overflow searching and a few others.

As well as app launching and searching it’s also got commands for various system commands such as activate screensaver, logout, lock, empty trash, and shutdown (yes there are already shortcuts for these, this just provides alternate ways of doing it). Another great feature is access the OSX dictionary, spell {word} will give you options on how to spell the word and define {word} will give you its definition.

The product is still in beta but it seems very well thought out and has given me no problems as of yet.

ps: As a bonus I changed the default behavior of ⌘ SPACE in OSX preferences to ⌘ SHIFT SPACE and mapped alfred to ⌘ SPACE instead