One of my favorite tools for Mac is Alfred, a launcher app that’s effectively the “Swiss Army Knife” of my computer experience. Alfred can search files and websites, open, calculate, process data, expand text, and even play music. Best of all, Alfred is completely expandable via “workflows”, plugins that allow users to do whatever they want within the Alfred toolset.
Almost everything with Alfred is programmed to start with a specific keyboard shortcut which brings up a big search bar:
Once this bar is up, you can type a command or search into the field and get some results. This might be as simple as
find MyLostFile to get a list of files with that name, or
define extraordinary to bring up a dictionary/thesaurus entry for that word. The two examples I just gave are built-in commands for Alfred. But I also have installed a handful of super-useful workflows (and built a few of my own) that make the experience even better.
What follows is a list of my current most-used Alfred workflows, in (roughly) alphabetical order:
Blue Letter Bible Search
I created this workflow last month, and it’s received quite a bit of use. Essentially allows you to bring up a Blue Letter Bible page/search for a given Bible reference or keyword(s) without having to open your browser and navigate to the Blue Letter Bible site.
One of the common things I need to look at is a tiny “month calendar” in order to quickly answer questions like “What day of the month is next Tuesday?”, or “What day of the week is July 12?”. This workflow makes it really easy to type
cal July and have a visual calendar pop up where I can see everything at a glance. Bonus feature is that I can select any of the “weeks” in the calendar and hit enter to open that week in the macOS Calendar app.
Very handy way to quit applications, especially those that don’t show up in the usual app-switcher (
A while back, I picked up this workflow as an alternative to Alfred’s default
lock command. Allows me to quickly lock my Mac, but unlike Alfred’s feature, it doesn’t do a “switch users”, which is slow on login. Instead, this workflow uses the screensaver functionality in macOS to fire up the lock screen. Based on lock-system by @sindresorhus.
Open in Sublime Text
It’s similar to choosing open with when browsing folders/files with Alfred, but I like the ability to type
subl in Alfred to open the file/folder that’s currently selected in Finder. And the
subl* concept is a tad quicker, too.
A handy workflow (by yours truly) that attempts to convert between Windows UNC paths and “macOS-style” paths, to make life easier for both loading remote files from emails with UNC paths, and also for sending links to colleagues with Windows computers.
Rate iTunes Track
I’ve been using some smart playlists in iTunes over the last few years to “rediscover” older music that I haven’t listened to in a long time. This workflow allows me to rate tracks while listening (and without stopping what I’m doing). I just type
rate <number> with the rating between 1-5, including half-stars (e.g.
rate 4.5). A notification pops up to say that it rated the song with the given number of stars. Very nice.