5 Quicksilver everyday tips

For most Mac uses, Quicksilver is an app that gets used heavily every day. So, in a follow up to my post on why Quicksilver is awesome, I thought I’d bring you five every day Quicksilver tips. Quick little tidbits of information that can help you every day.

  1. Access Menu Items – As goodAccessing applications menus in Quicksilver as Apple is at designing interfaces, sometimes you just can’t find that function you need in the menu. So how usefull would it be if you could just search across all menu items in an Application? With Quicksilver, you can. Invoke Quicksilver, and bring up the application you are interested in. Then, use the “Menu Bar” action and tab into the third pane. Now, in this third pane you can type away to find menu items of navigate through the menus using the arrow keys. And, when you find the item you want, just hit return and that action will be performed. This is a great way to quickly find features in new applications.
  2. Add Comments to, and Label Files – OSX has a fantastic way of categorising files by allowing you to label them with colour or add comments to them. The only down side to this is the fact that to add a comment, you have right/control click on an item, bring up its info and then edit it. Not a horrific process, but do it enough times and it will start to grate a little. Luckily, Quicksilver has you covered. You can add comments to files as well as coloured labels using the “Set Comment” and “Set Label” actions.
  3. Perform actions on multiple objects – This has been previously referred to as the comma trick, and is well known amongst heavy Adding a comment to multiple files in QuicksilverQuicksilver users. Essentially, this allows you to select multiple objects and then perform actions on all of them. You can do this by selecting all the objects in finder and then invoking Quicksilver, but this isn’t always practical (the objects may be in different folders for example). Instead, bring up the first item in Quicksilver, and then you’ve got it, instead of tabbing into the next pane, hit the comma key. This will allow you to search for another object. When you’ve got all your objects, enter the action and it will be applied to all of them. You can combine this with the previous tip to apply comments or labels to multiple files. Note that as you add items, they are recorded in the Quicksilver window as small icons, in the example to the left, they are image thumbnails.
  4. Pretty things up – Selecting constellation in QuicksilverIn the Quicksilver plugins list, there is a plugin called “Constellation Menus”. This doesn’t offer any Safari Constellation Menufunctionality that isn’t already there, but it does present it in a very different way. Specifically, it uses circular menus with clickable areas containing actions or applications. The best way to make use of this particular piece of functionality is to create a trigger that brings up the action menu for the current app. This can give you very quick, and highly accessible, access to the current applications options. See the screenshot to the left for an example of how this appears for Safari. There are entire apps out there dedicated to doing this, yet in the mighty Quicksilver, it’s just a plugin. And a little heard of plugin at that.
  5. Quickly create a trigger – Triggers are the lifeblood of Quicksilver. They essentially let you perform any Quicksilver action at the push of a button or two. There are many popular triggers out there, like bringing up popular folders to view or composing email messages. The possibilities are, literally, endless. The only problem is, creating the triggers is not as easy as it can be. You have to pull up the Quicksilver preferences, go to the triggers section, and then input the entire action, even if it’s one you’ve just run. The usual call that comes from users is, why can’t we just create a trigger direct from the Quicksilver window? Well, you pretty much can. The way to do this is to create the action you want to perform (bearing in mind that any files, text or applications that are selected will be hard-coded into the trigger) and at the end, instead of hitting return, hit command and single quote ( ‘ ). This will bring up the triggers pane in Quicksilver preferences. From here, pressing the plus button ( + ) will bring up the standard add trigger dialogue but, crucially, your action will be pre-populated in the fields. This, quite frankly, is one of the biggest time-saving tips I’ve come across. Essentially, you get to the stage where if you have to perform an action more than once, it becomes a trigger.

As with my other Quicksilver tips, you may need some plugins that aren’t installed by default. You will also need the beta features enabled. Happy Quicksilver-ing!