A little background. Quicksilver at its core is an application launcher, a quick way to get access to any application or file on your computer, and fast. What is important to note however is that thanks to passionate developers and their plugins, you very quickly forget that, and it soon becomes clear that Quicksilver is the actually the ultimate Mac Swiss Army Knife.
When I first begun using a Mac full time, a little over two years ago, Quicksilver was all the rage. On browsing the hundreds of ‘top Mac apps to install’, Quicksilver was frequently placed number one, and to this day, after testing virtually every new Mac app release, I couldn’t agree more. More recently however, the app is slowly being forgotten amongst newly formed Mac users – this needs to change.
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The application, created by Blacktree, is (believe it or not) still under (open source) development. More importantly however, developers are still putting time into developing plugins for it. Quicksilver see, runs on plugins, in fact it’s nothing more than an application launcher without them – although a fine one at that.
Why is it so useful? And show me the Goodies!
The beauty of Quicksilver lies in its elegance. It sits there waiting, like a genie in a lamp, for your command, often ready willing and able to perform whatever you request – no matter how significant or otherwise.
I’m a great believer in at least attempting, for productivity’s sake, to use one app for as much as possible. Not only does it keep my memory usage to a minimum but I simply need to think less by knowing that via Quicksilver, I can usually get 95% of menial tasks done.
Whether I’m looking to:
- control and manage itunes (guide)
- take screenshots and upload (with Skitch guide, the fastest way)
- minimise/maximise all/specific windows
- define (how)
- calculate (how)
- convert units (how)
- tweet (how)
- post to Friendfeed (how)
- post to ping.fm (how)
- manipulate text (how)
- search any website (including gmail and google…how)
- post tasks to my favorite task app – online or off.
(how RTM, how OmniFocus, how todoist, how highrise)
- manage multiple files (how)
- add events to my calendar of choice (how ical, how gcal)
- upload images to flickr (guide)
- send short quick emails (how, how)
- create a clipboard history of items (how)
- and SO much more (genuinely)
…it can do it and what’s more you are handed a number of gorgeous interfaces to choose from to make it happen.
The one drawback, which sadly sees many people abandoning the app before they have even begun to realise its capabilities, is its learning curve. Like learning to drive, fly a plane, dance or any other skill that you’ll enjoy for a lifetime – you need to be prepared to learn how to use it. The good news is, it’s MUCH easier than it first appears and there’s tutorials galore – a few I have linked to in the list above – that will illustrate how to use specific plugins, but to get you started this ‘getting started with Quicksilver‘ guide will change the way you use your Mac forever.
So it’s really that good huh?
Yes!! The fundamental reason for using the application however is it SAVES YOU TIME. It’s a productivity tool above all else, it makes your life easier and more productive and lets you focus on the bigger things whilst it takes care of the smaller. Like the worlds butler, it lets you do what you do best and takes care of the rest.
Now go learn, thank me later.
update: Some people note that the app crashes frequently for them. I have installed Quicksilver on three separate macs and have been fortunate to hardly ever experience crashes of any sort. I can’t explain why that may be, as I install virtually every plugin available, but hopefully we can figure out a solution via this post! :)