Let’s say you’ve been using the Mac for awhile, you know your way around the Finder, Spotlight is mildly useful, the Dock has become boring, and you’re looking for more power.
If Tim, the Tool Man, Taylor was a Mac user, he would use the Mac app that puts more power in your fingertips, the app that supercharges your Mac’s keyboard. Tim would say, “the mouse is for sissies.”
Must Have More Power
Power, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. There’s CPU and gigahertz, RAM and disk drives, multi-core this, and benchmark that. The Mac geeks among us know all the buzzwords.
If you want to become the master of your Mac domain, you need the right tools.
Or, in the case of Mac navigation—tool. Quicksilver is the app for Mac power users.
If you’re comfortable with the plodding gracelessness of the Mac’s Finder, and you find the Dock to be totally influenced by Fisher Price toy designers, then Quicksilver is the next great thing.
It’s power at your finger tips. Literally.
Great Power Requires Responsibility
Simply put, Quicksilver is a keyboard shortcut launcher-cum-Spotlight-like digital gateway drug to using your Mac as if you know what you’re doing (and even if you don’t).
This powerful, behind-the-scenes app works in a wonderful, thoughtful, intuitive way. If you can type, you can use Quicksilver.
For example, hit the magic keys, type the word Mail. Quicksilver launches Mail on your Mac. What? Typing the whole word Mail is too much? Type the letter M and Quicksilver gives you choices that begin with M.
See? Launcher. Power launcher. Forget the Magic Mouse. Use the new magic in your fingers, keep your fingers where they belong—on the keyboard.
Not only do Mac users use the Finder to launch apps, they use it to find files. Quicksilver can find files. Apps, documents, music, contacts, images. It’s Spotlight fast but more intuitive.
Quicksilver can remember abbreviations. Whatever abbreviations you can remember, Quicksilver remembers, and does what you tell it when you type in the appropriate letters. What happens with this much power is simple.
Goodbye mouse. We hardly knew ye.
Quicksilver brings powerful launching and finding by using just the keyboard. That includes using a search engine. Select the text using keystrokes. Send the selected text to a search engine. The same power shows up in moving files, copying documents or text selections, renaming files, and even deleting documents and images.
With great power comes great responsibility
Caveat Emptor, Baby
Regarding Quicksilver, there’s good news and bad news. First, the good news. Quicksilver is free. Download it. Install it. Use it. Easy enough, right?
Next, the bad news. Quicksilver is not your grandfather’s Dock launcher or Menubar app. It’s a power user’s app and power users tend to be disciplined and using Quicksilver requires discipline. Why? Well, there’s that no using the mouse thing. Then you need to remember the proper keystrokes to do whatever that thing is you do.
Then, Quicksilver is highly configurable. But not out of the box (a metaphor for a fresh installation). It requires some thought and work and a decent memory. There are basic keystrokes to remember just to get Quicksilver to be quick to open and do something.
When you configure it, you have to remember what you configured and which keystrokes make it happen. If you’re a casual Mac user, stick with the Dock and Finder. If you’re on the keyboard all freakin’ day long, and you long for a way to make it all happen easier and faster, Quicksilver’s learning curve, when conquered, will give you the power you seek, Grasshopper.
Quicksilver also comes with a healthy list of plugins that provide more power for specific Mac apps—from iPhoto to iCal, from 1Password to Mail, Automator, iTunes, Safari and Firefox.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Quicksilver isn’t easy to master despite the price tag (or lack thereof). Install, start slow, grab a few shortcuts, add more options over time. Then, when you’re ready, young Qián Guānchāng, the power will serve you, and you will be the master.