quicksilver mini how-to

Until recent­ly, I avoid­ed using Quick­sil­ver (the “launch­er and do almost any­thing” util­i­ty for OS X) because it seemed a bit com­pli­cat­ed to learn (i.e., it was­n’t usable for me right out of the box). But I final­ly took the time to go through a cou­ple of tuto­ri­als and dis­cov­ered that, hey, it kin­da rocks. It only took a few min­utes to get the hang of the basics, and then a while longer to learn a few cool tricks. If you want to try to it, I advise tak­ing a look at a few of the more in-depth tuto­ri­als (a few are list­ed below), but here are the basics:

Once you’ve installed Quick­sil­ver and set it up, you can invoke Quick­sil­ver at any time, in any app, by press­ing the default hotkey: ctrl+space (although you can change this in Quick­sil­ver’s pref­er­ences). Once you pull up the app, the gen­er­al method of use is the fol­low­ing: You select (by either begin­ning to type some­thing, or select­ing from a pull-down menu):

1. an item (e.g., a file, a pro­gram, a url), press [tab], then select
2. an action (e.g., open, copy to clip­board, email, move).

What actions are avail­able will depend on the type of item you select. And, some­times, there will be a third item that is the object of the select­ed action (e.g., in instances where you are mov­ing an item to anoth­er loca­tion, or if you are append­ing some piece of text to anoth­er file).

Quicksilver sample screenshot

I’ve just start­ed using it, and I know that I have only scratched the tip of the ice­burg (to mix metaphors) with respect to what I can do with Quick­sil­ver, but here are some of the basics, along with a cou­ple of nice tricks (click on a linked task to pull up a screenshot):

task type
invoke quick­sil­ver [ctrl]-[space]
launch appli­ca­tion name of application
open a file name of file -[tab]> Open
vis­it a website url address -[tab]> Open URL
wikipedia search wp -[tab]> Search For -[tab]> search string
email a con­tact in your address book1 con­tact name + [right arrow] |select email address| -[tab]> Com­pose Email
browse music in iTunes2 Browse + [right arrow]
append text to anoth­er text file3 [peri­od] text -[tab]> Append To -[tab]> text file
google search4 google -[tab]> Search For -[tab]> search string
define a word5 [peri­od] + word -[tab]> Define with dict.org

And be sure to check out some oth­er tutorials:

Dan Dick­in­son’s begin­ner tutorial
Dan Dick­in­son’s inter­me­di­ate tutorial
Nick San­til­li’s tuto­r­i­al on theappleblog.com


1Requires the apple address book and mail mod­ule plug-in
2Requires the iTunes mod­ule plug-in
3Requires the text mani­upu­la­tion plug-in
4Requires the web search mod­ule plug-in (I think)
5Requires the dic­tio­nary mod­ule plug-in

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