Washington Apple Pi

A Community of Apple iPad, iPhone and Mac Users

A Quick Look at Quicksilver

© 2004 Mike Mellor

Washington Apple Pi Journal, reprint information

Quicksilver http://blacktree.com/apps/quicksilver/ is a free application launcher for Panther that I think is great! It an application launcher that makes it much easier to navigate around my computer, using a few keystrokes instead of “mousing” through Finder.

I am always looking for new ways to increase my productivity (find stuff faster). I have tried using a “My Applications” folder in the Dock, as well as menu bar application such as “Rocket Launcher” but they never really met with my needs. I want a way to get at the applications I want without having to manually reconfigure it every time I add a new app, and since I spend most of my Mac time with an iBook I want something that can be keyboard driven. Quicksilver meets both of these requirements.

Enough about me though. Here’s a rundown on Quicksilver. It is accessed by a User defined keystroke (Command-Space). This brings up the Quicksilver interface (as a small window; a box on the menu bar; or as shown, in a bezel).

Quicksilver in action

Here is Quicksilver in bezel mode, showing a selected application (Grab), and its default action (launch)

Then you simply type in the first few letters, or a few letters from the middle, or a couple of letters from somewhere in the application or document’s name. Quicksilver, as the name implies, rapidly produces a list of possible solutions to your query. For me, “ENT” will bring Microsoft Entourage to the top of the list, and hitting return will activate the application. Typing “MSNT” brings up a few Mac OS X Hints web pages that I have saved as PDF’s, and then Entourage is the fifth choice. In addition to setting which folders to search, you can also select an application to be the default selection for a certain keystroke, so I could set “MSNT ” to select Entourage. Additionally, the search engine learns from your selections, so it would learn that “MSNT” is a search for Entourage on its own.

I have only scratched the surface of Quicksilver’s functionality here, I recommend downloading it and trying it for a couple of weeks; it may change how you work with your Mac!