Big news, our favorite launcher is finally about to hit version one! It’s hard to believe that the app has received so much attention and good press while in a fairly experimental state but the simple truth is that Mac users simply can’t get enough of Alfred’s perfect combination of depth and simplicity.
Read on as we take a renewed look at what Alfred can do along with some awesome new features you can look forward to in the 1.0 release!
The Alfred Core
Alfred has come an incredibly long way since its humble beginnings as a somewhat simple launcher. The amazing thing is, despite its amazingly deep current feature set, that simplicity is still at the forefront of the Alfred experience, ensuring that absolutely anyone can use the app with ease.
Let’s take a brief look at some of the amazing things you do with Alfred and a few quick keystrokes.
As I just mentioned, it all starts with app launching. This is Alfred’s core feature and it does it with ease. Just hit your designated shortcut, begin typing the name of the app you want and Alfred will instantly pop up results that refine as you type. Hit enter or choose from the list to launch the app. Alfred even learns which results you choose most often and modifies its behavior accordingly.
Launching an app
It doesn’t stop here though, Alfred can launch a lot more than apps. Try typing in “find” and then a filename and Alfred will search your hard drive for the file you’re after. You can also hit the spacebar right after launching to search for and open files.
Alfred isn’t content with merely opening things, it also finds information for you. Want a quick definition? Just type “define” and the word you want.
A preview of the defnition is shown right in Alfred, hit enter to launch Dictionary
Similarly, Alfred can help you with your homework. It responds much better than Spotlight to complex math problems.
Alfred can perform basic math for you with ease.
Alfred plays well with the web too! If you want to open a specific web page, just type it into Alfred exactly like you would in Safari or any other browser. This will launch the site in your default browser.
Opening a URL in your default browser.
If you need to search for something, there’s built in functionality for searching Google, Wikipedia, IMDB, and a bunch of other popular sites (Powerpack users can edit the default offerings).
Running a web search.
If Alfred doesn’t search a site that you want it to, you can easily set up custom searches for almost any search function on any site! Be sure to check out our full tutorial on this very topic.
Setting up a custom web search.
The Alfred Powerpack
The free version of Alfred is something that no Mac user should be without. The Powerpack takes Alfred to new heights by adding deep integration with your system. There are a ton of amazing features that come with the Powerpack, some of which are brand new to version 1.0. Let’s take a look.
One of the Powerpack features you’ll absolutely love right off the bat is the iTunes Mini Player. Alfred gives you an impressive scope of control for iTunes including basic track commands, searching, album art previews and more.
The iTunes Mini Player
Terminal fans will enjoy Alfred’s ability to quickly perform a number of file actions. Just hit “~” to launch the file navigation window. From here you can navigate your hard drive freely and even perform actions of files such as move, copy and email.
Navigating files in Alfred
Extensions have changed the game for Alfred and opened up an endless world of possibilities. Create your own or browse the extension gallery for some awesome goodies. I recently installed an extension to quickly shorten links with Google and another that turns Alfred into a todo list!
Email and Address Book
The Powerpack links Alfred closely to your Address book. You can search for a contact and even launch an email to the person of your choice.
Emailing from Alfred
Make It Your Own
Alfred’s default color scheme is super friendly and easy on the eyes but if you dig customization then you can tweak or completely overhaul the colors in an easy to use theme editor.
Alfred’s Appearance Tab
New and Improved
The newest version of the Alfred Powerpack has some awesome improvements and new features that make it more powerful than ever.
Clipboard History and Snippets (Improved)
If you’re on the lookout for a solid clipboard manager, look no further. Hitting Command-Option-C in Alfred will launch an improved clipboard manager that gives you access of recent clips. You can also save frequently used snippets for quick insertion. Just type “snip” and the name of your desired snippet to insert it. The snippets editor now allows for searching and sorting.
Alfred Never Forgets (New!)
You might or might not know about Alfred’s ability to recall recently opened items, well 1.0 adds to Alfred’s superhuman memory by adding a feature to remember recently visited URLS for quicker searching.
Global Hotkeys (New!)
This is my favorite new feature, Alfred now allows you to set up global shortcuts to launch an app, script, extension or anything that you want. Simply navigate to the new “Hotkeys” tab inside of Alfred and set up shortcuts for all your favorite actions.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Alfred 1.0 ships with a whole mess of improvements. To name a few, hitting Command-C now copies the result’s path or URL, clipboard and snippets are now independent, generic icons have been added for many filetypes, iTunes search has been improved, extension parameters are much more flexible; the list goes on and on.
You’ll also be happy to know that the Alfred team now accepts direct Credit Card and Paypal payments.
Absolutely Essential to the Mac Experience
This update is so positive that it’s probably starting to sound like a sponsored post, it’s not. We AppStormers are simply so fond of Alfred that we think every Mac user should give it a shot. We’ve followed the development closely since day one and are super excited to finally see the Alfred team hit 1.0.
If you don’t see yourself using all of the fancier features, download the free version and discover the wonder of launching apps instantly without the hassle of the Applications folder or Launchpad. If you’re the kind of user who likes control, the Powerpack turns Alfred into an unbelievably convenient and useful assistant that covers almost every aspect of OS X. Give it a week or two and you’ll likely be unable to use a Mac without Alfred going forward.