I’ve been using Alfred for a couple of weeks now, and not only have I totally forgotten OS X’s native spotlight, but I can’t really see myself without it. Alfred is a sort of application launcher. I say “sort of” because it can actually do more than that. You can search for files, look for bookmarks, browse and play your music, preview documents, perform actions on folders and files, and a whole lot more.
There’s a free version that’s quite nice and functional, but if you want the whole power–and trust me, you do–you’ll have to upgrade and buy the Powerpack. With the Powerpack you can create extensions using applescript, shell scripts, automator workflows, email actions, and a whole lot more. The following extensions are my favorite so far:
Quit all apps Does what the title says, with barely a few keystrokes. I practically just type Alt+Spacebar (the Alfred shortcut) and q and because it has smart autocomplete I can launch the script without hassle.
Search files with openmeta tags If you’re all for tagging, then you’re going to like this one. The main advantage against spotlight is that it only searches for openmeta tags. I’ve been developing an Alfred extension for tagging the current selected files in Finder, I will make it available here in a future post.
Thesaurus for Alfred I constantly use the Mac’s thesaurus and dictionary, and I used to launch it via spotlight–not any more.
There are many, many more Alfred extensions, and the user community just keeps coming up with better extensions that will surely make you be more productive. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can write an extension yourself, it is not difficult at all. I think this is a really nice approach that’ll surely save you some serious money if you use several apps for doing all of the wonderful things Alfred can do. Do you use something different?