The default way to open files or folders on the Mac is with Finder. Using Alfred I’m able to launch files and folders with fewer mouse clicks. I do this with Alfred’/s Quick File Search. I activate Alfred tap the space bar and start typing the name of the file or folder I’m looking for. I also use Alfred to navigate through my Mac’s file system. To start, I type: / (slash) to go to the root folder on my Mac, or ~ (tilde) to go to my user directory. This is a great way to quickly make my way through folders without using the Finder and my mouse.
For my most often used folders I’ve created a workflow that lets me open them with keyboard shortcuts. For example ⌃⌘ right arrow will open my Dropbox folder.
I find that using Alfred to search and launch files and folders to be much more productive than using the Finder.
There are a number of text expansion apps available for the Mac the most popular being TextExpander. I considered it but the monthly subscription was a deal breaker for me. I also didn’t need anything that powerful. All I needed was basic text expansion and sync across both my Macs. After exploring several alternatives I settled on using the text expansion feature that was already a part of the Alfred app.
Alfred’s text expansion feature allows me to quickly type out frequently used snippets of text, my email addresses, my name, my phone number, my address, markdown syntax, special keyboard symbols (⌘, ⌥, ⇧), the date and time, and more with a short keyword. For example, I can type ,ddate and get the current date or I can type ,rwr and get “Run, walk, run miles @MAF” which is a text snippet I use for logging my runs in Garmin Connect. Text expansion is all about saving time and increasing productivity.
There are times when I need to go back to something that I copied to the clipboard and use it again. The macOS clipboard only holds my most recently copied item. So in order to go back to something I need to have a clipboard manager that holds my history.
On my Mac, I use Alfred’s built-in Clipboard Manager. It’s really handy and easy to use. My viewer hotkey set to ⌥⌘C. So all I have to do is type my hotkey and the viewer pops up with my history ready for me to select what I need. If my list is fairly long I can either scroll the list or do a search for what I’m looking for.
One of the things I like about Alfred is the ability to clear items from the history. I have mine set to clear an item after it has been in history for 24 hours. That helps keep my history cleaned up. If I want to clear the history before the 24 hours I can clear my clipboard history by typing “clear” in Alfred’s main search box and choosing whether I want to erase the last 5 minutes, 15 minutes or all of Alfred’s history. By default, Alfred ignores popular password applications like the macOS Keychain Access and 1Password, so that you don’t inadvertently copy a password to your clipboard.
I also have Copied which is a more advanced clipboard manager. Since Alfred is Mac only I use it to copy items between my Mac, iPhone, and iPad. I could use Copied in place of Alfred on my Mac but I prefer the quick access and simplicity of Alfred.
To learn more you can check out these Alfred articles:
If you been following my blog you know I’m a big fan of Alfred. It does an amazing array of things on my Mac. It’s without a doubt my most used app.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be writing a series of articles about the ways I’m using Alfred. As a heads up, some of them require the Powerpak.
If you’re new to Alfred the basic app is free. The Powerpack is $26 US, which I highly recommend. If you would like to follow along go ahead and download the free version now. That way you’ll be ready to follow along when the first article in the series is published.
One of my most used Alfred features is triggering system commands from the keyboard. This saves me a lot of mouse clicks. I can empty the trash, force quit apps, lock, logout, restart, or shutdown my Mac right from the keyboard.
The System Commands section in Settings has triggers for the most commonly used system commands.
I’ve carried this one step further. Instead of invoking Alfred and typing the trigger I’ve created hotkeys for my most often used system commands. So for example, instead of invoking Alfred and typing logout to bring up the action I use the hotkey ⌃⌥⌘O.
This is something you may want to do so you can download the workflow here.
I switched to Apple products about 4 years ago. My first device was an iPhone 6 that replaced an LG Android phone. Shortly thereafter I replaced my ailing Windows PC with a late 2013 21” iMac. Next came my early 2015 13” Retina MacBook Pro. And I recently upgraded my iPhone to a 7 Plus. With this setup, I never felt the need for an iPad. In fact, I recently wrote an article Can iPad replace my laptop.
So here’s how I’ve ended up with an iPad. Several months ago a friend gave me a B&H gift card that I had actually forgotten about. After rummaging through some stuff the other day I ran across it and realized it was going to expire on October 30 which was only a few days away. Not knowing what to get I decided on an iPad. So I placed an order for a 2017 iPad 9.7” with Retina display and 128 GB storage.
I’ve been using it now for a few of days. The setup was pretty straightforward. I installed all the apps that I want on it and purchased a Speck Slim Balance Folio case for it.
Now how does this iPad fit in with my iPhone and Macs? My computing needs are pretty simple. I write, read, browse the web and manage my finances. Knowing what I do, I am sure I wouldn’t want to completely switch to an iPad. So far I like the reading and web browsing experience on the iPad is. It’s lightweight making it easier to handle than my MacBook and easier to read on than my iPhone.
Writing is not so great. My writing workflows include apps like Keyboard Maestro, Alfred, PopClip, and Marked 2 that improve my productivity. There are no apps like this for iPad. I have to jump through too many hoops to do the same things (if at all) I can do on my Mac.
Here’s the bottom line. I like having an iPad but I certainly don’t need one.