Productivity Boost on Macs with Quicksilver

Here’s a quick post about enhancing your productivity in OS X. Along the lines of the Vim philosophy, that it should be easy to navigate between things and you shouldn’t need to reach out for the mouse, I’ve set up a simple workflow that I use to switch between open applications at a blazing speed.

I use Quicksilver, which is a free app for the Mac platform. It enables you to set system-wide hotkeys that don’t only open an app, but also shift focus to an already open app rather than open a new instance of it (something that annoys me endlessly with application launchers on Linux). The Mac keyboard is so structured that it’s easy to type Cmd+Option – those are the only two control keys to the right of the space bar. These two can be combined with any key to the left of the keyboard to set up a shortcut that’s easy to type with two hands. You can have a similar setup with Ctrl+Cmd+Option (to the left of the space bar) and a key to the right of the keyboard. You can pick a letter depicting an application, e.g. W for Webstorm, and use it like so: Cmd+Option+W and voilà, it comes to the foreground (or opens if not already open). The best of course is being able to use just the Ctrl key (you have mapped the Ctrl key to be used in place of Caps Lock, right??) – Ctrl+F for Finder, Ctrl+B for my browser, etc. But you also don’t want to override some of the shell shortcuts like Ctrl-a, Ctrl-c, Ctrl-c etc. Enter multiple control key combinations like the example above for Webstorm. Or you could do Ctrl+Cmd+Option+o for Omnifocus, for instance.

Attached is a screenshot of my current configuration. Set this up, and you’ll never go back to switching between apps using Exposé, Option+Tab, or the mouse ever again.

My setup with Quicksilver triggers

My setup with Quicksilver triggers

Happy app-switching!


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