LaunchBar - If you can touch-type accurately, LaunchBar is a godsend
Label: OUTSTANDING | Productivity | Mac | Indispensable Software | Too powerful to be sold via App Store
LaunchBar is Indispensable Software
You won’t find this on the App Store
- You will not find LaunchBar on the AppStore. I hope that new Mac users understand that is a problem with Apple’s rules, rather than the software. In my experience, nothing on the App Store (e.g. Alfred) comes close.
- You can download a free 30-day trial. The price is € 24.00, which is about £20.
What It Says 'On The Tin'
LaunchBar is a smart and powerful, keyboard driven productivity utility that lets you access and control every aspect of your digital life. Whatever you want to get done on your Mac – with LaunchBar it’s only a few keystrokes away.
Abbreviation Search LaunchBar’s powerful, blazing fast adaptive abbreviation search technology allows you to find items just by typing short acronyms of their name.
This can be a little annoying, if your desired option is buried low down on the list, but there is a ‘cheat’: Press ⌘ ⌥ A to quickly assign your chosen shortcut:
Instant Open Open items even more quickly. Just hold down the last entered abbreviation character and the selected item opens immediately
★ This is the killer feature of LaunchBar. I am able to invoke the desired application in a fraction of a second.
Keyboard Shortcuts Invoke LaunchBar quickly with a system wide hotkey, or just by tapping a modifier key.
I have set mine to ⌘ spacebar (and I have changed the Spotlight shortcult to ⌥ spacebar)
Clipboard History Preserve the data of your most recent Copy operations, and use the copied objects again later.
I use this all-the-time. I press ⌘ spacebar to invoke LaunchBar, then ‘CH’ to see a list of my clipboard history.
ClipMerge Combine subsequent Copy operations into one single clipboard object just by pressing ⌘C twice.
I personally dislike this feature as, too often, I accidentally merge two items together. I have disabled ClipMerge on my computer
Web Searches Searching the web has never been easier. Choose the desired web service, enter your query and get the result instantly shown in your web browser.
Calculator From simple numeric calculations up to complex scientific expressions - just open LaunchBar, type your calculation and press Return to get the result.
This is extremely handy. One problem I had with it, though, was that typing ‘1pass’ (for 1Password) invoked the calculator. A workaround is to type ‘pass’ instead (i.e. drop the ‘1’ at the start)
Quick Look Get a quick preview of your current selection just by tapping the space bar.
Browsing Navigate folders, contacts, bookmarks, recent items, libraries or any other kind of hierarchy with the arrow keys to reveal related information.
File Operations Manipulate your files efficiently with the keyboard. Move, rename, compress, assign color labels, create folders and much more.
Services Call up Mac OS X Services by name to quickly manipulate text or file selections.
Address Book Enjoy the convenient access to your address book data to quickly create new email messages, retrieve phone numbers, postal addresses and other contact details.
This is super-useful. It’s so much smarter than just using Spotlight (built into Mac OS X)
Bookmarks Get instant access to all of your web browser’s bookmarks, bookmark folders and history.
Personally, I found this the least useful feature; I have so many bookmarks, I find that it just clutters up the prediction results.
iTunes Browse your iTunes Library, find your favorite tunes and enjoy your most beloved albums and artists.
iCal Create events and to-dos in your iCal calendars within seconds.
Whilst I know this feature exists, I don’t ever use it. Of course, I use BusyCal and my undrestanding is that it shared the calendar database with iCal, so it should be fully compatible.
Instant Send The most efficient way to send files or text selections to LaunchBar, and then hand them over to applications, folders, email contacts, search templates, services and more.
This is an advanced feature. I must admit, I find it a little hard to get my head around, but even so,
- If you can touch-type accurately, LaunchBar is a godsend
- There is a learning curve, for some of the more complex features, BUT it’s totally worth investing a little bit of time to get your head around it.
- It will dramatically change the way you use your Mac; so-much-so, that you may feel crippled if you have to use someone else’s Mac, for a bit. That said, it’s still worth it!