If Quicksilver isn't working for you, you're not using it enough

Written on November 27, 2008 in Technical.
Adam Fortuna

Hey hey! I'm a developer who lives in Orlando, FL. Right now I work at Code School, listen to a lot of audiobooks, set way too many goals, write at minafi.com and tweet often.

It’s taken me a while to jump on the Quicksilver bandwagon. If you’re a Mac user chances are you’ve run into QS as some point, as it seems to be one of the core apps that most hardcore mac users recommend. There are tons of great links on del.icio.us , posts by Merlin Mann and even screencasts . Safe to say it’s here to stay, and with it now open source and hosted on Google, it has a future ahead of it. Explaining what Quicksilver is might best be left to the wikipedia entry , but to put it short Quicksilver is used to launch apps and control them using short, quick keystrokes.

The hardest part about Quicksilver may just be finding out how can use it to make things you do faster. One of the best ways to handle this is to actively think about anything you do often and see if it could be done using Quicksilver. There’s a few Quicksilver tasks that I’ve recently started using that might be useful. Add Items to a RememberTheMilk.com todo list I’m a recent convert to RememberTheMilk and it’s related iPhone app, so linking these extremely common tasks was a top priority. There is a quicksilver plugin for remember the milk that makes this quick. Initially when the plugin is added, you’ll need to authorize it to work via the quicksilver preferences. After that it’ll import your task lists and make them available to add to directly. Putting them all together it looks like this.

Send tickets to a Lighthouse app project There’s no magic plugins for this one- - just the basics. Lighthouse allows you to create tickets by email for a specific project. Just about any bug tracking/project management app has a similar capability that can be invoked via Quicksilver. There’s a number of different ways to do this, but the basic one is to create an entry in Address Book titled something related to your app. It has the added bonus of being able to add a contact image that will show up in Quicksilver.

Get fast access to commonly used text One feature of Quicksilver that gets a lot of coverage is the Shelf. It’s basically a way to access things fast. These “things” can be plain text, folders, applications- - basically anything that shows up in quicksilver in the first pane. To enable the shelf, go to plugins in preferences and make sure the “Shelf module” is checked off. After that you can try putting something on the shelf to test it out. To do that just enter some text in the first pane, and then put on shelf

After you have at least one item on the shelf, you should be able to pull it up in the first pane using _ shelf_ . show contents is used to get a list of what’s actually on your shelf. This Shelf > Show Contents combination gets old real fast, so you might want to consider moving this to a trigger. In Preferences > Triggers > Custom Triggers you can create a new keyboard command that jumps you straight into the shelf. I went with option+command for this. Only takes a few keystrokes!

What killer users for Quicksilver have you found? Or perhaps other uses for the shelf?

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