LaunchBar is pretty cool

Based on this thread and others, I’ve bought Launchbar — and I like it.
It’s a different animal than clicking through the GUI, and certainly not Terminal. I would describe it as the reduced friction way to do things. I really like that it’s keyboard-centric.
I’m still learning (bought the book), but it’s already saving me time.

Would appreciate any suggestions you all have on usage, tutorials, actions, etc.!


I use it all the time for just 5% of it’s power and I still consider it a valuable tool for me.

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Instant Send is why I prefer it over Alfred. I had switched back and forth a few times between Alfred and LaunchBar over the last several years, but this time LaunchBar really has stuck for me. Instant Send is a big part of that. I like picking a file, double tapping the Option key (what I set as my trigger), and doing just about anything with the file.


I used Launchbar for years, but then a couple of years ago something on my system started interfering with its effectiveness and it slowed down dramatically for me; installing a new OS update didn’t help (and I wasn’t going to do a clean install to deal with the issue).

So I tried the LaunchBar competitor, Alfred, and quickly got used to it. In fact, by comparison LaunchBar seems a bit more powerful but also quite a bit more fiddly and complicated, and Alfred’s free version is probably enough for most people’s uses. (But the upgrade gets you a lot of nice add-ons, like 1Password integration, and I recommend it.) I’ve come to actually prefer Alfred, even though I spent many years using LaunchBar. They’re both great apps, and if you’re comfortable with it, that’s fantastic.

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How does this differ from File Actions in Alfred?

Works with Text, Files, Folders the same way. In general, the biggest strength of LB is that the Syntax in universal through the app. TAB works just everywhere. In your example: if you select a file and want to open it in an App or Mail it will be mostly the same. If you want to do it with many files at the same time - as far as I remember, you have to use file buffer through the Alfred file browser. Cumbersome. If you want to put selected files in a new folder, you are in trouble. In LB all of it does not matters, because in has an uniform Object-Action Syntax for everything.

Sometimes it is just funny to see what is possible: Select Omnifocus, type Tab, and press on Script Editor - it will open the AppleScript dictionary for OmniFocus. I have to scratch my head first just to think how to do it in Alfred. Custom Workflow again, I guess… But I already have 20 and barely remember the syntax and abbreviation for them, uh-oh…

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File actions is just one use case for Instant Send. I use it often to select any text, double-tap my designated Instant Send key, and send the selection to any of my search templates. I have a lifetime PowerPack license, love the app, and love their support, but Instant Send and the ability to manually assign an abbreviation to any action are the two features that keep me using LaunchBar.

I’ve assigned the butterfly key on my Keyboardio as the LB key, and caps lock on the internal laptop keyboard. So smooth and painless. Can’t wait to learn more about using LB.

Hey John - I’m also using Launchbar all the time, and yet also feel like I only use about 10% of it. Evan Kline recently had a blog post that inspired me to try to learn more and practice – and I just now realized it’s the same Evan who’s already in this thread :slight_smile:

Here’s a tip I picked up from somewhere:

Launchbar can index bookmarks, and I have a bazillion Safari bookmarks in various folders - but there are a few I use everyday for work. If I edit the bookmark (in Safari) to have a little abbreviation, then I have a Launchbar shortcut to the page. Example, we use Jira for project management, and I have a few projects (lets call them project ‘a’, b’, c’) then I make bookmark abbreviations ‘ajira’, ‘bjira’, ‘cjira’, once I type them a couple times, Launchbar learns them ,and I can just type LB ‘aji’, for example, and get that page opened right up.

I’ve bookmarked the LB ‘working with files’ page, so I have a quick reference for all the file manipulation tools, which I am gradually learning, and I’ve realized now I really underuse ‘Instant Send’, so I bookmarked that page too, to try to build a habit…

Finally, there’s a ton of clipboard history managers out there, but I use the one built into Launchbar, and really like that too… especially the ClipMerge feature.