Quicksilver – Ignite Your Mac!

For all of you that lived in a hell of broken Windows, or on a cluttered path of Linux Forrest, and recently evolved into the Mac World, here’s some news. There is a way to make your Mac fly! Really. Not only you actually can work in a Mac, as you already found out, but you can actually ignite your OS! Meaning working more with less effort. Meaning maintining a higher focus degree wile remaining stress free.

Now, come down, I know, I am enthousiastic, but as I wrote in another post, enthousiasm is one of the best energies that you can leverage from yourself. So let’s leverage some and start talking about Quicksilver.

Quicksilver is basically an application launcher. If you are in a hurry, you can consider it like this, and I guarantee that you are not wrong. But if you are serious about boosting your personal productivity and make the best of the time you spend at your computer, you can start digg deeper. Quicksilver lets you do – apart for launching applications – much more:

  • easily and effortlessly create new files
  • automate moderately complex tasks, like sending your photos to flickr
  • easily sending emails directly from within some other activity
  • find contacts in Address Book without opening Address Book
  • instantly search Google even if you don’t have an opened browser
  • creating iCal events and to do’s
  • appending and prepending text to files
  • resizing images
  • and, of course, much more

Now I will guide you – pretty fast, I admit that – through my Quicksilver endeavours.

First of all, you have to download the application from here. Once you finished the download install the application like any other Mac application. One thing you should be aware of is the fact that Quicksilver uses a plugin-based architecture, meaning if you want an action for a specific application, you should check if there is a plugin for that. If yes, you must install it before you use it (kinda obvious, I guess).

By default, Qiuckilver install only several plugins, for a better work experience I recommend thay you have at least the plugins that you can see in the picture below. Check their website frequently for other plugins.

Quicksilver plugins

If everything goes well you should go now to the Preferences screen and chose how you will invoke the application. Usually, it uses a combination of keys like CTRL + Space, but some other people tend to use APPLE + Space, that’s entirely up to you, as long as it easy to remember and subject to become a (positive) habit. See below how my Preferences screen look like.

Quicksilver invocation keystroke

If you saw all those screens correctly so far, just take a quick peek into the Actions screen to get grasp of waht you will actually do:

Quicksilver actions

As you can see there is a list of available actions and a rank associated with them. That’s the good news, Quicksilver will actually learn from your behaviour and will periodically update this rank, which is basically the precedence each action will have in the invocation screen. So if you use the action “Append to text” more frequently, it will climb in your action window. Pretty cool!

And now let’s try a quick test. Invoke Quicksilver by hitting CTRL + Space. Depending on your chosed interface you should see one or two panels (the slick Cube interface has only one panel, but I use the more common Bezel, like in the picture below).

Quicksilver in action

Type some text in the (first) panel and see how and autocompletion list is built.

Quicksilver in action selection

Then hit TAB, which will take you to the second panel, and then chose your action by hitting “arrow up” and “arrow down”.

Quicksilver in action chose action
Hit “Enter”. You Safari browser should pop-up.

That’s all for now. Even as a plain application launcher Quicksilver is a nice tool to have, although, by exercise and ambition, you could push it to do a lot of wonders for you. More to come on that, soon.

[tags]MAC OS X, Quicksilver, application launcher, automation, productivity[/tags]

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