how i used quicksilver today

| 9 Comments | 5 TrackBacks

A few colleagues have asked me what makes Quicksilver better than other launcher programs that they already use (besides the fact that it's free). I thought I'd keep some notes today about how I used the software so that the day-to-day value was more obvious.

  1. After turning on the computer, I wanted to go to the comments moderation page for my blog. I've got a bookmark in Firefox called "comments," so I invoked Quicksilver and typed "comm". Quicksilver immediately suggested the comments bookmark, so I pressed enter. Firefox launched and went right to the page I wanted.
  2. I wanted to listen to Sarah McLachlan's Afterglow album while I worked, so I invoked Quicksilver and typed Browse. I arrowed down to "Browse Albums," then used right arrow to see my list of albums. I typed "Afterglow" and pressed enter. iTunes launched and started playing the album.
  3. Today's grading day. I use an excel spreadsheet to store student names and URLs, and to record marks for individual components of the assignment. I invoked QS and typed "409-042 grades" to find the spreadsheet (409 is the course number, 042 is the current quarter; I use this naming convention for all course-related materials), and enter to launch it in Excel.
  4. My dock icon for Adium started jumping to tell me I had an incoming IM. I invoked QS and typed "ad" to bring up Adium, and pressed enter to make it the active application.
  5. While grading, I had to send out an advising alert for a student who hadn't turned in an assignment. I have a bookmark for the Advising system, so I invoked QS and typed "advising" to find the bookmark and then enter to open it in Firefox.
  6. I noticed that there was still a PDF article that I'd downloaded yesterday sitting on my desktop. I invoked QS, typed the name of the document (well, the first few characters, actually). Then I pressed tab and typed "move", and tab again and typed the name of the research folder that the document belonged in. Pressing enter resulted in the document disappearing from the desktop and magically being relocated to the appropriate folder.
  7. I remembered that I'd promised a family member that I'd get some information from a mutual friend, so I invoked QS and typed the friend's name. When her entry from my address book appeared, I pressed tab and typed "mail" to find the "Email" command. I selected it with the down arrow, then pressed enter. Mail became the active application (it was already open in the background; otherwise it would have been launched), opened a new message addressed to the friend.

And that's just an hour or two of computer use. There are lots of other nifty tricks that you can use once you master the tool. I highly recommend reading 43 Folders for ongoing ideas and tricks.

5 TrackBacks

Quicksilver and ActiveWords from Knowledge Jolt with Jack on January 17, 2005 12:21 AM

Liz Lawley writes about the time-saving launcher program Quicksilver (Mac-only). My immediate reaction was to compare to how I use the describing how I use the Windows-only Activewords. Thus a very long entry is born. Read More

Hidden Wisdom from AKMA’s Random Thoughts on February 7, 2005 8:17 PM

After Jim McGee said such a kind thing about my Law of [Non-]Simplification, I have to spread around some of my new organizational-theory whuffie, pointing it at Merlin Mann. You may think Mann has all the whuffie anyone could need, with countless tech... Read More

Since we installed the brilliant Quicksilver on the Mac, we've been using it several times a day to speed up the launching of applications, play tracks with iTunes and many other things. One of its handy little tricks is the... Read More

A very simple hack lets you print files in Quicksilver without having to open an application or dialog box, or leave your current window. ... Read More

Quicksilver and ActiveWords from Knowledge Jolt with Jack on October 27, 2005 9:28 AM

Liz Lawley writes about the time-saving launcher program Quicksilver (Mac-only). My immediate reaction was to compare to how I use the describing how I use the Windows-only Activewords. Thus a very long entry is born. Read More


That list made so much more sense to me than other stuff I've read about Quicksilver. THey're actually the kind of tasks I do all the time, while I rarely append text to a text file (typical example for Quicksilver) without wanting to read the file as well, for instance.

I guess I'll go reinstall it!

darn you, Liz! it's blog entries like these that are making me lean more & more towards getting a mac!

Regarding Quicksilver use.
Based on your enthusiasm I went and downloaded it.
I read some FAQS and both you and they say type something and you head there. Your first example above says you typed comm.
When I type comm, I get all the C's, which then change to all the O's then all the M's.
I can't find in configure what I've got to change?
Puzzled in the Berkshires.

David, that's a function of how quickly you type. If you pause between the letters, it assumes that you're changing your search. So "comm" brings up everything with that string, but "c,o,m" will result in the behavior you describe.

To change the amount of delay before it assumes you're starting a new search, go to QS preferences (invoke QS, then press command-comma), choose the Command pane, and use the slider next to "Reset search after" to extend the amount of time.

Thanks for explaining how QuickSilver works. I've seen it recommended in several places, but no one really shared how it works. These examples really clarified what QS could do for me as a power user.

Thank god I have Mac OS X and tried QS, it amazed me. I learned a lot from you using tips and tricks w/ QS. Thank you!

The light goes on !!!
Thanks so much, it is better already.


Thanks for that tutorial, I found it very helpful.

On number 6, you could also select the file with the mouse and then hit Cmd-Esc to bring it into the QS window, then hit tab, then type move, etc.

Leave a comment




Recent Photos
This is a Flickr badge showing public photos and videos from mamamusings. Make your own badge here.

Upcoming Travel

Creative Commons License
This blog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on January 15, 2005 12:04 PM.

help needed digitizing videotape was the previous entry in this blog.

rochester hotspots is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.