Welcome Alfred, goodbye spotlight

Alfredapp logo

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.

Wifi Toggle Toggle wifi on or off faster than lightning. There’s Bluetooth Toggle extension as well.

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?


3 thoughts on “Welcome Alfred, goodbye spotlight

  1. I’ve used Lanchbar for the last couple of years and can’t imagine life without it. However, I am intrigues that Alfred can search for OpenMeta tags. This is something really needed for an academic and I’ve not been very successful finding an app that can conduct such smooth search. I will try Alfred – thanks for the tip!

    • Yes, the openmeta tag search filter is superb. The best is that you can define your own search filters with custom keywords and it works lightning fast. The openmeta search filter is equivalent to introducing the following command in the terminal mdfind "kMDItemOMUserTags == myopenmetatag". As I mentioned I’m also working on an extension for “openmeta tagging”, so I’ll try to explain all the details in that post.

  2. Pingback: Best of both worlds: Alfred and Spotlight | Between the Candle and the Star

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