If the Dock gets too crowded with apps, browse around in the Finder’s Applications folder until you find the app, then double-click it. Is there a better way to find files, launch apps, and manage your Mac? Yes, there’s an app for that.
Launching Does More Than Launch
Color me jaded, but I’ve long been a skeptic of Swiss Army Knife apps; utilities which claim to do everything but don’t do anything better than a dedicated, standalone app.
Just as there exceptions to every rule, there’s an exception in this case.
LaunchBar is a Mac app launcher where the value is greater than the sum of the parts (in this case, features).
This is a power user tool for Mac users who are not power users but who want to be.
While the app’s developer claims over 1,000 features are stuffed inside LaunchBar (I haven’t done a count– I tired after a dozen or so), here’s 12 you’ll find useful enough to put the app on your Mac.
First, LaunchBar launches. It launches apps. And it does the launching from the keyboard. Hit the hotkey and start typing. LaunchBar can find what you want to launch (or, find) without lifting a finger to the mouse or trackpad by using the Abbreviation Search.
Keyboard Shortcuts abound, including a quick pop up Calculator.
LaunchBar is smart enough to remember what you store on the Mac’s clipboard, and gives you an option to use copied items again. In fact, the ClipMerge operation can be combined by using keyboard shortcuts.
Setup LaunchBar to use the web and search the web without digging around in Safari or Chrome. Any selection you make in the Finder can be displayed using QuickLook, but Instant Open opens items from the keyboard.
LaunchBar is a good file browser which lets you navigate folders, bookmarks, even recently used items without leaving the keyboard. Files can be moved, renamed, compressed, labeled, and more.
Use keyboard shortcuts to invoke OS X’s Services menu, or pull information from Contacts or Safari bookmarks, or control iTunes playlists.
An unexpected treat is LaunchBar’s ability to create new events and to-do items in Calendar.
The 1,000 Features List is extensive. It’s quite remarkable that a single Mac app can do so much, but that’s what Mac power users expect.
That’s the good news. Here’s the bad news.
First, LaunchBar isn’t free (but considering all it does, the price is a value). Second, a substantial effort required to get the most from LaunchBar.
You’ll need to give it time because the learning curve, though not difficult, is long. Using the app makes it work better and as you become more acclimated to using the keyboard for functions, your productivity increases.
I’ve used LaunchBar for months on both my iMac and MacBook Pro, and I keep finding new ways to use it. But it’s keyboard driven. If you’re solidly stuck to the mouse or trackpad, LaunchBar may be intimidating.