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.
Bear has several special searches that I find useful.
The other day I imported a large number of files without tags into Bear. Once imported I did a @untagged search to find them and then added the proper tag(s). This saved a lot of time. I also do a @untagged search every week or so to find notes that I’ve added and forgot to tag.
I also use @task, @todo, and @done to manage tasks. You can see the definition of what each one does below.
Here’s a list of all Bears special searches:
@tagged : shows the notes which have at least one tag
@untagged: shows the notes without tags
@today: show the notes modified the current day
@yesterday: show the notes modified the day before the current
@images: shows the notes which contain images
@files: shows the notes which contain files
@attachments: shows the notes with files or images
@task: shows the notes which include at least one todo element, either complete or not
@todo: shows only the notes with not completed todos
@done: shows only the notes with all the todos completed
@code: shows the notes which includes at least one code
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.
Sometimes websites that I regularly visit have a font that’s so small my aging eyes have difficulty reading it. Safari 11 for Mac has a nice feature that lets me set a permanent zoom level for those websites. Now, the next time I visit the site it’s already zoomed to the level I need for easy reading. Safari does this automatically, but the zoom can also be controlled from Safari Preferences Safari > Preferences > Websites > Page Zoom. You’ll see all the websites that are open, and those that are already configured (if you’ve already changed the zoom).
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 like me you have more than one iOS device using the same Apple ID you may have noticed that if you download an app on one device the same app will download to the other device. This started happening to me after I got my iPad a few months ago. When I download an app for my iPad it would also download it to my iPhone if it was an app that wasn’t already on my iPhone. Since I don’t always need or want the same apps on both devices I was having to delete apps from my iPhone. Then I discovered that there’s a setting called Automatic Downloads that’s on by default. I went into Settings and turned it off on both devices. Now app downloads only happen on the device I’m using.
Here’s how you do it. Go to Settings > iTunes & App Store > Automatic Downloads and toggle the switch next to apps to the off position.
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.