Alfred Universal Actions

New functionality introduced with Alfred 4.5: Universal Actions.

Although I do need some time to play around with this and get an idea of the possibilities, this looks very interesing. And if I’m not mistaken something that might be a good replacement for PopClip. I’m always looking to reduce to number of (background) applications running on my Mac.


Thanks for the heads up. Alfred Universal Actions will definitely be a rabbit hole I’ll enjoy going down :laughing:

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Regarding PopClip: It would be a great addition to PopClip if I would have an icon to invoke Alfred Universal Actions!

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That doesn’t add much (if any) value. Universal Actions are already triggered by a hotkey. The only thing a PopClip extension would add is that you can trigger the Universal Action with a mouseclick (through PopClip). Extra complexity instead of any convenience.

One thing that is still seriously lacking is proper documentation for this feature. Especially the enhanced functionalities are not obvious.

And related: I find that I tend to forget or am unaware of – and hence not use – a lot of options in Alfred. File buffers for example.

For sure a MacSparky “Alfred Field Guide” would be something I’d snap up in an instant.

A suggestion for @MacSparky?


I’m not sure I’m going to give a pop clip yet, since Alfred tends to be a jack of all trades, master of none.

We’ll give it a swing and see how it does

From the Alfred blog:

You can access Universal actions from:

  • Your Alfred results, including File Navigation and Clipboard History, where you can use the right arrow (or your own set Actions shortcut) to show the list of available actions
  • From your Desktop or anywhere on your Mac, by selecting a file, URL or some text and using your Actions hotkey
  • From within a workflow, using the Action in Alfred object

Over the next few days, we’ll share a few ways to interact with Universal Actions, including integrating them with your workflows.


Looks interesting. I am a massive user of Alfred so I am sure I will find some use in these. However, I also find Pop Clip excellent and will not be removing it for a long time yet! It is almost part of the OS for me.


Does this only work for selected text? I have a few scripts which work on text from the clipboard which would be a shoe-in for this.
(Yes, they have to be input from the clipboard due to the tools I use)

I do think @MarkusJ 's suggestion is a good one.

If your hands are already on a trackpad or mouse as you are editing and/or your muscle memory is to reach out to one to edit, it is far easier to just highlight the text of interest and have Alfred show up as a pop clip action. Invoking solely via Alfred requires extra steps - highlight the text and then move hands back to keyboard to invoke the trigger. Subtle, but at least for me, notably less efficient than the PopClip mode of operation.

I hacked together a PopClip extension to trigger Alfred using the following guide. It is a much faster way to get to the Universal Actions, IMO


It also works on text that’s on the clipboard. An example is in the “Getting Started” workflow for Universal Actions.

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If it wasn’t for the fact that there is a slight delay for PopClip to popup. And it’s kind of hit or miss if it will popup at all (depending a.o. on the way text is selected). That’s way I currently have an Alfred workflow to show the PopClip menu. [1]

Nothing against PopClip b.t.w. I have been using it for a long time and it was a valuable little tool. Until Universal Actions arrived. :slight_smile:

[1] Based on something Brett Terpstra wrote IIRC.

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For a while I had a keyboard maestro action to invoke PopClip from the keyboard. I haven’t bothered to install it on this computer.

I found the explanation of invoking Universal Actions VERY confusing, though I eventually sorted it out. So far Universal Actions seem less rich than PopClip, but I’ll check in occasionally for developments.

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I love pop clip, but another potential advantage is syncing actions across my multiple computers. I am terrible about manually keeping popclip standardized, and then it drives me crazy when I need an extension that’s not installed on the computer I’m at.

But I agree about not wanting to move my hand off my mouse.


Same here.

Using Alfred workflows within a Universal Action is the key to all the magic PopClip had to offer. That way it’s very powerfull. I already created an action to change the case of selected text. And much more to follow.

I haven’t been so enthousiastic about new functionality in an application for a long time. Even though it’s just a small thing in the grand scheme of things.

Depending on the mouse or trackpad you’re using this functionality can be added by tools like SteerMouse (and probably Logitech Options) or BetterTouchTool. Just assign the Alfred Selection Hotkey (⌥ ⌘ \ by default) to a mouse button or trackpad gesture.

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Y’all inspired me to publish the 4.5 version of my Case Converter workflow:

and a 4.5 version of my Code Case workflow:


Also a little browser snippet set updated to be available as UAs:

Browser (SafarI) snippets and Universal Actions - Share your Workflows - Alfred App Community Forum

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that’s great - just what I was about to endeavour to do myself :slight_smile: Thanks!

That title is actually on the white board for 2022. :slight_smile: No promises though.