aLaunch: Not Just Any Mac Apps Launcher

Mac users are a group that enjoys a certain degree of pleasure when they use their computers. Many of the reasons I like the Macs I have owned are the simplicity of their operation. Even though Apple gives you fantastic quick methods of finding and opening apps and documents, there is always room for improvement.

One of these areas is a fast way to launch apps. There are several popular app launchers out there, the most popular is Quicksilver. It is a great product, but is no longer being actively updated. This means it is not going to work well versions of OSX much later than 10.5. If you are using 10.5 or newer, you will want to look at aLaunch.

The way aLaunch works is a little different from some of the other app launchers out there. aLaunch lets you put your most used applications, documents, folders or anything else you need into one spot for quick access.

Setting up aLaunch

The installation is no different from any other application. Once installed, you will need to configure aLaunch. Once you have aLaunch on your hard drive, open it; you will need to do a little configuration before you can start.

Start the configuration by clicking on the icon at the top of the screen. In the drop down, you will see a pencil, click on it.

alaunch - icon

Click on Please Configure.

alaunch - please configure

In the configuration menu, you will see 5 tabs to the left. You shouldn’t need to use the Update option, but the other 4 will be.

The General tab lets you select the icon size and the color of the menu. More importantly, you can select what you want to see in the drop down menu, and whether or not you want aLaunch to auto launch when you start your Mac.

alaunch - general tab

The Item list is where you drag and drop the apps, documents or folders. If you choose to, you can have several sets of applications.

alaunch - item tab

To add another set of items to launch quickly, click the “+” sign in the bottom left of the left row.

The Icon tab lets you choose the pictures shown to the left of your sets. If you have your own, you can drag and drop them into the window.

The Hotkey tab is where you will set up the keyboard shortcut to activate aLaunch. I chose Control + Spacebar. A little farther down, you can choose what you want to open when you press the hotkeys.

alaunch - hotkey tab

After everything is tweaked the way you want, it is a good idea to close the application and restart it. Some of the settings require this restart.

Using aLaunch

To activate, press the hotkey combination you chose. You will see a window appear in the middle of your screen. From here, you simply click on the application, document or folder you would like to launch.

alaunch - app launch window

Alternatively, you can also access the same files by clicking on the aLaunch icon in the bar at the top of your screen. In the drop down, you will see the preference and (if you chose to see it) the update options along side your set(s) of apps.

alaunch - dropdown menu


If you are looking for a quick way to launch your most used applications, this is a fantastic choice for your Mac. Having the ability to combine applications into groups for work and home, by project or even by the type of work can be very productive.

How do you launch applications on your Mac?

Thanks to Bruno Casarini for bringing alaunch to our attention.

Trevor Dobrygoski
Trevor Dobrygoski

Trevor is a freelance writer covering topics ranging from the Android OS to free web and desktop applications. When he is not writing about mobile productivity, He is coaching and playing the world's greatest game... Soccer.

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