Alfred is a keyboard launcher for Mac. It’s like Spotlight but way better. You can use Alfred to launch apps, search specific websites, search for files on your Mac and a lot more. But the best features of Alfred are unlocked when you buy the Powerpack upgrade for around $26. That upgrade gets you a clipboard management tool, access to action tools, themes and most importantly workflows.
Workflows are similar to extensions for Chrome. They add special functionality, and when it comes to Alfred, there’s a lot of them available on the web. Yes, you can write your own workflows, but why would you when an active and dedicated community has already written workflows for almost everything you can imagine?
Installing workflows is pretty easy. Just download the “.alfredworkflow” file, open it, and it will launch in the Alfred’s Preferences page. Confirm that you want to add the workflow, and you’re done. When you’re adding the workflow, you can customize the workflow’s keyword or even set up a hotkey. All workflows have default keywords (that you can change), and if you forget a keyword, just go to the “Workflows” section in Alfred’s Preferences page and click a workflow.
1. Make New Notes and Search in Evernote
If you’re a heavy Evernote user and aren’t a big fan of the Mac app (which, let’s face it, you probably aren’t), this Alfred workflow is going to come in handy. Using it, you can both search for notes in Evernote (“ens”) and create new notes right from Alfred (“enn”).
ens for global search,
ens @ for searching in specific notebooks and
ens # for notebooks with specific tags.
enn to get options for creating new notes. You’ll get an option to create a new note using the clipboard, selected text and even the current Chrome tab URL. Handy stuff. Check out the forum post for all workflow features.
One of the coolest things this workflow can do is actually append text from the clipboard to any note. All you have to do is copy the text, search for the note, hold “Cmd” when you press “Enter,” and then select the “Append from Clipboard” option.
2. Add Tasks To Trello/Wunderlist
Trello doesn’t have a native Mac app. Going to the web app every time seems like a chore. If you want to quickly create a Trello card, use this workflow. There is a similar workflow for Wunderlist as well.
3. Unit and Currency Converter
Units is a really awesome way to convert basically any value unit into another. This includes speed, time, volume, length and yes, currency.
4. Control Rdio, Spotify, iTunes, Play Music and More
Using individual Alfred workflows for music streaming services like Rdio, Spotify and Play Music (mac apps required), you can do things like pause playback, switch tracks, and more, without ever switching to the app.
Alfred Powerpack comes with a fully featured iTunes mini player that you can check out by entering
iTunes mini player in Alfred.
5. Search and Download Torrents
Alfred used to have a great extension for The Pirate Bay, but now it’s been replaced by a Kickass Torrents search workflow. This is by far the best way to download the latest Linux distro because that’s what you use it for, right? After installing the workflow, just enter
torrent and search. You can also see the top lists for categories. You can press “Enter” to load it to your default torrent app. You can use “Cmd + Enter” to start downloading in Transmission in the background.
6. Find and Open Directories in Atom or Sublime Text
I frequently need to open folders in Sublime Text or Atom, and based on the project I’m working on it’s always different folders. Using these Alfred workflows is the fastest and most reliable way I’ve found for doing this job.
All I do is type
subl followed by the folder name and Alfred does a great job of finding the folder I want (I can view the directory structure to confirm). Then I just press “Enter.”
7. View Recent Items
Recent Items is a behemoth of a workflow. It’s really useful when you’re working on a project, and you need to access a set of recently visited folders or documents again and again.
Recent Items has a general menu that shows up with the
rec keyword, but you can get to the specific categories for downloads, documents and favorites using custom keywords as well.
8. Display Network Information (like IP Address)
If you’re a developer, the workflow Network Tools will come in handy. It provides quick access to network tools like ping, nslookup, traceroute and DNS flush.
Another workflow called Network Info will quickly show you the current IP address when you type “ip” and will let you copy it to the clipboard.
9. Search Tabs in Chrome or Safari
As a person who has multiple Chrome windows and a couple of dozen tabs open at all times, this workflow is a godsend. All I have to do is type
tabs, and all the open tabs will show up. Then I can just search in all open tabs, press enter and I’ll be taken to the tab just like that.
10. Time Tracking and Timers
If you’re into time tracking or want to explore that area, check out Toggl. It’s a free service and comes with a great Alfred Workflow. You can start tracking an event, give it a name and stop the tracking directly from Alfred.
Using the Egg Timer workflow you can quickly start a countdown timer. Use the
timer keyword, specify the minutes, add some text and you’re good to go.
How do you use Alfred? Share your favorite workflows and tips in the comments below.