App Launcher: Typing an showing results while typing

In one of the latest threads I read about “simple to complex” App Launchers.

I was always wondering: Is there a way to get something similar to Spotlight-Search/Launchbar/Alfred - opening an input bar by Hotkey and while typing the results appear as a list, narrowing down the further I type?

For me, the build-in “Activate Application Launcher” is useless, because I can not type “mw” to open Microsoft Word (instead it shows “NetSpot”). Furthermore I would prefer List View with Text over huge Icons in “Cover Flow” Mode


Currently, you use Spotlight/Launchbar/Alfred for that if that is what you want.

It might be added at some point, but since those services actually do far more than just launching applications, if that is the style you want, why not use it.

Personally I am trying to train myself to use Spotlight more, but without much success.

First of all, how about using Spotlight and typing in “m w”?

If not, and I’m just curious - why wouldn’t you use something like LaunchBar?

The reason I ask is that I could certainly create something like that, using the techniques I created originally for Spotlight Search Prompt, and pretty-much perfected in KMFAM Favorite Actions and Macros, but with apps like LaunchBar and Alfred, I don’t see what I could provide that they don’t.

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Hello Dan,

because I didn´t know I have to type a space. there is no need to in Spotlight/Launchbar/Butler

I tried Launchbar so many times, but it gives me too many results. I want to enter a hotkey for launching apps, and another for folders, and again another for something else. I don´t want to get Telefon Numbers, Bookmarks, Apps etc. when I want to launch an app

That’s why I still use Butler and (try) Spotlight with only marked “Apps” and “Folders” in the spotlight settings,

LOL. So does this solve your problem?

LaunchBar learns while you’re using it. Sometimes it happens that the item you want is not at the top of the list, but then select it one or two times more (always calling it with your preferred abbreviation) and in the future it will show up at the top of the list.

I want to enter a hotkey for launching apps, and another for folders, and again another for something else. I don´t want to get Telefon Numbers, Bookmarks, Apps etc. when I want to launch an app

Besides the learning thing you can also manually assign abbreviations: Open the contextual menu (right click) of an item and select Assign Abbreviation.

As @Tom says, the more you use LB, the better it gets at quickly finding/selecting what you want. After using LB for only a few days, I found that it almost always selects the app I want. To make it easier on me, I have also added abbreviations to my LB selections, like:

  • KM -- opens the Keyboard Maestro app
  • KMF -- opens Chrome to the KM forum
  • TW -- opens TextWrangler
  • SE -- opens Script Editor
  • SD -- opens Script Debugger
  • etc -- and many more

You can also train LB to goto the Bookmarks Bar of your preferred Browser. So I have an abbreviation of "BM" to go to the Chrome Bookmarks Bar:

Once there, a simiple [RIGHT ARROW] will list the sub-folders and URLs:

So, by using this technique, you could train LB to limit the selections to many different areas.

Have you viewed the LB videos?

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Yes I know this behavior from Butler

And how did you do that?

What do I have to do, to use “FF” to show only Firefox Bookmarks?

Yes, but I didn´t remark anything, that helps me reduce the clutter

If not already done, add the Firefox Bookmarks to the Index:

Open the Index window (⌥⌘I) and go to the + menu in bottom-left corner:

The bookmarks should appear now in the sidebar of the Index window:

Close the Index window and open LB with your hotkey. The “natural” shortcut for the Firefox Bookmarks is fb.

Type fb. You will find your Firefox Bookmarks somewhere down in the list. If you repeat this one or two times fb would automatically go to the top of the list. But, since you prefer ff as shortcut, you can now assign an abbreviation manually:

Right-click on the Firefox Bookmarks item and select Assign Abbreviation…:

Enter ff and hit Return:

From now on you use ff to call your Firefox boookmarks.

To Instant Open the item hold down the last character of the abbreviation. That is, type ff and rest a bit on the last f key.

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This is 1 of the things 1 never found! Very important to know fpr me, thanx!

Also valuable.
Thank you, again!

They still have not updated the documentation for version 6, but most things you find in the existing documentation for version 5.

It’s really worth reading. I still discover “new” things there :yum:

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