Using and Comparing Automation Tools: Keyboard Maestro, Alfred, LaunchBar, etc

I am running all of them (Spotlight, Hazel, LaunchBar, Keyboard Maestro, KeyCue, Typinator) and have not noticed a hit on performance. I can’t say how much of a hit Alfred imposes because I am not using it.

With regards to workflow richness. Have you read the documentation or watched any video on LaunchBar?
Alfred is all about interface and that’s certainly nice but LaunchBar gets extremely deep and it’s not obvious if you don’t dig deeper. It’s also got an small footprint with regards to GUI.

No, just ⌥➔

If you click on the focussed item you get a contextual menu with all the shortcuts:

Ah… I see there’s some diffences in the newest version of LaunchBar. I still haven’t updated.

@Tom, how can you let this happen!?!?! LOL
How will you educate/train me on LB if you’re not up-to-date? :wink:

Any good LB videos (aside from the std ones LB produces) that you’d suggest for me?

I am guessing there’s a private joke there I don’t know about. :slight_smile:

Youtube is your friend. :wink: Just search. More vids everyday so it pays to return and search again days/weeks later.

Yep. @Tom introduced me to LB, and has been kind enough to provide numerous examples of use.

You’re preaching to the choir here. OTOH, both Youtube and the Internet is full of garbage.

I’m looking for curated videos.

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Ok, Well now that I know you are interested I will see what I can curate for you.
Here’s two by good sources. I haven’t watched them though but do give me your opinion so I can tune the curation.

Thanks for your help. But, to be clear, they cannot be curated if you have not watched them. :smile:

In trying to clarify what I meant “curated”, I did some searching, and was surprised by the many different definitions of this term. Here is the one that I meant, that applies here:


select, organize, and present (online content, merchandise, information, etc.), typically using professional or expert knowledge.

So, I am selfishly asking for suggestions that others have found (by their own review/viewing) to be good sources of LaunchBar instructional videos.


Actually they can when I am recommending videos by authors whom I am familiar with and most of the time create great content. So there you have it. And by the way I have now watched all of them and again recommend them highly. :smile:

p.s. I was clear on what curated means. :wink:

p.s.s. You might want to google the authors of those videos. That ought to give you a measuring stick of the level of my curation.

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Here it is:
It is set to use Google Chrome and Google Search, but it can easily be changed to Safari and whatever search engine you prefer.

Valuable topic.

For the first time, I now understand how KM and LB can work together: more than just additive, can be synergistic.
I’m downloading Launch Bar now.

I’ve been using another program from Objective Development, Little Snitch, for four years.
If Launch Bar is similar quality of design and reliability to Little Snitch it will be excellent.

My thanks to “JMichaelTX” for asking for “curated”.
I, too, seek “curated” … everything.
Even semi-curated (“haven’t watched yet”) is far superior to a random walk on YouTube.
Thank you, “Tunes”.

My curated contribution to this topic:
I watched all 6 videos on the Launch Bar web site.
The videos offer a quick introduction to the capabilities.
Good production values with concentrated information at a quick pace.
(The high-pitched, squeaky voice of the female narrator is grating, but worth tolerating to gain the information.)
Here’s the link: 6 Launchbar videos


I’ve decided to delete Launch Bar from my Mac.
My post above is quite enthusiastic, sounds like a “curated” recommendation.

After trying Launch Bar a little, I realized that it’s main functions could be done within KM – not in exactly the same way, but with the same result.
No need for Launch Bar here.

That depends what you define as Main Functions. App launching, web search, clipboard history can certainly be done with KM. What about file system browsing/listing, instant send, drop actions, snippets, Terminal interaction, auto-adapting abbreviations etc.?

To see it the other way round: Many KM macros you can also realize in LB as custom plugins (AppleScript, JXA).

I always found that KM and LB complement each other very well. (With some overlap, of course.)


No doubt there is overlap between the features of LB and KM, but the UI is quite different, and as @Tom notes, LB does offer some additional features, which I find very useful.

FYI, I had no idea that you could extend LB, but I just discovered this from another KM post:

LaunchBar Actions by CustomComputerTools (

Lots of interesting stuff there to checkout.


LB Action Documentation.

You can use virtually any language, but AppleScript and JXA offer the best integration with the LB interface elements.

Here is an action I’ve written some time ago. Not very professional, but may serve as showcase.

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@Tom, I need your help, please.
I feel like an idiot because I can’t figure out how to install a LB custom Action.
Can you please point me in the right direction?

I have searched Google, read the LB Action documentation, and searched the LB Forum without success.

I must be missing the obvious . . .

Usually they come as installers. For example, if you download my action from above, open the dmg and double-click the .lbext file. In the installation dialog click install.

The Action should then appear in the list of Actions (in the LB Index window).


If they don’t come as installer, but as .lbaction, you’ll have to move them manually to ~/Library/Application Support/LaunchBar/Actions/

Thanks, Tom. I have discovered that if I double-click on a .lbaction file it will offer me an dialog to install that action, and provide some useful info/links:

Ah, I didn’t know that .lbaction works as installer, too. Formerly you had you make a .lbext (the installer) which contained the .lbaction (the action). Nice.

BTW: When you have written an action, you can zip the .lbaction (or .lbext) bundle, then remove the .zip extension. On double-click it will still work as installer and auto-unzip the contents.