There are some apps that I simply can’t imagine living without and
Quicksilver Quicksilver is at the top of that list (link updated 21 Apr 2011). And it’s not just me, here’s what Adam Pash of Lifehacker said:
Quicksilver is bar-none the best productivity application on the market today. Whether we’re talking Mac, Windows, or Linux, freeware or shareware, this Mac-only, freeware application launcher-and-then-some is the best productivity booster I have on my computer.
Quicksilver is simply, a launcher which enables you to do almost anything from your keyboard. If you’ve never seen it in action, it will blow your mind. Oh yeah, it’s also free.
Quicksilver is essential for people who prefer to stick to the keyboard since it empowers you to do most common tasks, such as opening applications and documents, in just a couple keystrokes. I don’t want to start a keyboard vs. mouse debate, but I am going to say that I am solidly in the keyboard camp and put a non-trivial amount of effort into learning keyboard shortcuts and finding ways to avoid mousing. This preference is probably not unrelated to fact that I occasionally have wrist pain.
Here is the simplest example of what Quicksilver can do:
open Firefox in 3 keystrokes
- ⌘-space: Launch Quicksilver
- F: for Firefox
This example demonstrates the basic language of Firefox: first, select the Subject you want to mess with (e.g., an application or file); second, choose the Action you want to perform on that item (e.g., open, reveal, move); third, hit return to Execute the action.
Only one letter was required to identify Firefox since Quicksilver remembers previous searches. Firefox is the most common item I’ve searched for that begins with the letter F. Quicksilver also supports abbreviations, so you can type entire words, or just fragments to identify applications, files, or actions.
Quicksilver is much more powerful than just launching applications. Beyond the basics of opening applications and files, I use Quicksilver and just a couple keystrokes to
- rate songs and control playback with iTunes plugin and triggers
- look up contact info and copy it to the clipboard with Address Book plugin
- do math with the Calculator plugin
- schedule my computer to go to sleep.
- perform system functions like Logout and Restart with Extra Scripts
Don’t let the versatility of Quicksilver intimidate you. Start simple and just use it as an application launcher to see how you like it. As you get used to it, you can start learning and using the more advanced functions.
Here’s a compilation of resources to get you started with Quicksilver, listed in ascending order of approximate techy-ness.
- Screenshots of most common functions [Mac Newbie]
- Beginners Guide [Lifehacker]
- Top 10 Plugins [Lifehacker]
- Advanced Guide [Lifehacker]
- Quick Reference Sheet [PDF]
- 127-page manual [PDF]
- Google Group
For those already in the loop, what’s your favorite Quicksilver trick?