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There is a tendency on computers to find what you are looking for via text search. We can observe this trend online, where it has almost become a necessity for websites to offer search functionality. This has to do with the speed at which the amount of data and documents we process every day is increasing. To counteract this problem on your computer too, there is a great tool.

The most essential tool I have been using on my Mac in the past years is Alfred. Alfred is essentially a superpowered “Spotlight Search” tool. It allows you to search for files on your entire file system, open applications, search your mails, and soooo much more. You can even create entire workflows similar to AppleScript. Using a simple shortcut, a textfield opens anytime anywhere on the system whenever you need it. You can immediately type what you are looking for. What I use it most for is: opening apps, file search, fast calculations and reviewing my clipboard history (very useful).

File and app search

These are Alfreds preferences:

Looks like a lot of overwhelming functionality, and it is at first. I suggest to set up search functionality at first and get used to work with it. You can manually add Paths that you want Alfred to search apart from default.

I recommend to setup using arrows on the keyboard for folder navigation, you can do this under the tab “Navigation”. For file search just remember the keywords find and open. To open applications just type the apps name until it shows up first in the list and press enter.

alt + space opens Alfred:

Opening apps in Alfred

After getting used to this you will never ever open an app in any other way ever again. Why? Because there is no faster way to open programs or look for files on the file system.

Calculations in Alfred

Whenever you need to do relatively simple calculations, use Alfred. It allows to formulate calculations in text form:

Alfred calculator

Again, simply press enter to save the result in your clipboard.

Clipboard history

Antoher impressive feature is clipboard history. Press alt + cmd + c to open the clipboard history:Clipboard history in Alfred

Alfred and 1Password

You can allow 1Password to integrate with other apps such as Alfred in its settings. Then you can head over to Alfreds preferences and activate the 1password command ‘1p’ and integrate the 1Password vault. This allows to search for logins and info directly from Alfred.

More Features and Gimmicks

  • Emptying the trash: Just type in ’empty’ and press enter to empty the bin.
  • Setting up a workflow to search your Emails if you use Apples Mail app
  • Style Alfred in the preferences according to your OS’s look