When it comes to loading up my Mac with useful apps I try to keep one thing in mind. Simple is better. Small is beautiful. Alright, that’s two things, but you get the idea.
That said, I’m willing to try a few new apps from time to time with the objective of improving productivity. This week I’ve hired a butler to help me navigate my Mac.
Alfred is a free Mac app launcher that’s incredibly easy to setup and use. You assign specific keystroke combos to apps you use regularly so you end up using the mouse or trackpad less frequently.
For example, use Alfred to assign simple hotkeys for Adobe apps. Alfred is smart enough to know which apps are used more frequently, and assigns them the top spots.
Alfred has an add on Powerpack which delivers even more functionality. For example, you can also use Alfred to search different search engines from the pop up window.
So far, so good, right? But Alfred does more. From the pop up window Alfred can search for files and folders on your Mac, check spelling and do basic calculations.
Alfred can perform custom searches to any search engine you can find. There’s even a built-in iTunes controller where you can assign hotkeys to specific albums, artists, or playlists.
Preferences are straightforward and familiar in the iTunes and iPhoto fashion, with Toolbar on top, Sidebar of items on the left, and details in the middle.
Alfred in the free version is a good app launcher, but additional functions require the optional and extra cost Alfred Powerpack which gives you global hotkeys, the Mac file navigation function, the iTunes mini player, Address Book access, a clipboard history, color themes, built-in email with attachments, and 1Password integration.
The free version is decent as an app launcher, but the real power and usefulness comes with the extra cost Powerpack. Try the free version first. Once you’re hooked cough up a little extra for the Powerpack and be blown away with how easy it is to ditch the mouse or trackpad.