How do you launch apps and files on your Mac? Do you use the Dock or scroll through the Applications and Documents folders? T
here is an easier way and it’s absolutely free. File launchers on the Mac are a must have for organization.
The Mac is loaded with applications, utilities, tools. Then there’s all those applications, utilities, and tools we buy and install on our Macs.
That’s what Mac360 is all about. Helping you to load up your Mac with software that makes you more productive, more efficient, better looking, a better dresser, and with improved posture.
Seriously, the Dock is nice but it gets crowded very, very fast. Even with Dock magnification set to on, many of us have more Mac software icons than we have space for said icons.
If you haven’t made it beyond clicking around in your Applications or Documents folders, a file launcher is a single utility that stores the location of Mac applications or documents or both. One click opens whatever you want. That’s handy.
If you’re like Kate or Bambi, you’ll buy the ultimate in Mac file launchers, DragThing. There’s probably not a better more elegant file launcher available, Mac or Windows.
If you’re like Jack or Jeffrey, you’ll probably prefer Quicksilver, though you’ll need to take classes at night school to learn how to use it.
Beyond those two launchers, the Mac software community has provided a dozen or so other ways to launch yours applications and documents. OverFlow is elegant and easy to configure. Trampoline is unique. Launcher is free.
If you’re like Alexis or me then you’ll probably prefer a free solution with little configuration (as in “none”), and with a high degree of flexibility.
Even better is what’s already on your Mac, assuming you’re using a version of Mac OS X, and don’t mind it if I help you unclutter your Dock.
Mac OS X has a feature called Aliases. It’s called Shortcut on Windows PCs. When you create an Aliases to an application or a document, double clicking on the alias opens the original file, application or document.
An Alias is a very powerful feature and you can use it to create your own Mac launcher in just a couple of minutes. Once you see how it works, you’ll be able to customize it to fit how you work.
First, in your Documents folder, create a new folder called Launcher. Inside the newly created Launcher folder, create two more folders, once called Applications, and one called Documents. Drag the Launcher folder to the right side of your Dock, near the Trash icon.
Open your Mac’s application folder and select any application you use regularly, such as TextEdit, or anything else. Right click, or control-click, and you’ll get a pop up menu. Select “Make Alias.” That will create an Alias file. Drag it to your Launcher’s Applications folder.
Next, open your Mac’s Documents folder, find a document that you use regularly; Word, Excel, Pages, whatever. Again, right click, create an Alias, and drag the Alias to your Launcher Documents folder (inside your Mac’s Documents folder).
Now, click and hold the Launcher folder icon in the Dock. You’ll see a pop up menu with two more folder icons, one for Documents, and one for Applications. Select either, and the Aliases you just created will appear.
You’ve just created a one click Launcher for any file, document or application on your Mac.
Repeat that process for whatever files, Applications or Documents, you want to be in the Launcher’s menu.
Cool, huh? And totally free, fully customizable.