LaunchBar

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1000+ Features, 1 Interface

Well, to be honest, we didn’t count them. But there are tons of great features that make LaunchBar the most versatile keyboard driven productivity utility you’ve ever used.

Highlights

  • Adaptive Abbreviation Search
  • Application Switcher
  • Clipboard History
  • ClipMerge™
  • Quick Look support
  • Instant Send
  • Instant Open
  • Invoke commands from the Services menu
  • Run AppleScripts, Shell Scripts and Automator Workflows
  • Comprehensive set of built-in actions
  • Browse and Sub-Search
  • Navigate through files and folders
  • iTunes library browsing and playback control
  • Open web bookmarks and history
  • Access contacts
  • Categories to browse items of the same kind
  • Web Searches
  • Spotlight Searches
  • Create calendar events and reminders
  • Powerful, extensible Calculator
  • Open System Preferences panes
  • Switch Network Locations
  • Fast User Switching
  • Versatile File Operations: Move, Copy, Rename, New Folder, …
  • Access invisible files and file package contents
  • Access your Apple Development Resources
  • Scriptable via AppleScript
  • Fully customizable hotkeys
  • Modifier Taps
  • Powerful configuration and indexing options
  • Automatic software update
  • and much, much more…

Abbreviation Search

  • Ultra fast, adaptive abbreviation search (AASv4) for amazingly accurate results. Automatically adapts to your preferences.
  • Find items by entering short acronyms of their name (e.g. SP to select System Preferences).

Sub-search and Browse

  • Collections of other items (folders, bookmark folders, browser history, contacts, iTunes Library, photo albums, categories, etc.) can be browsed by pressing the right arrow key.
  • Alternatively (with a few exceptions) the space bar can be used for browsing as well.
  • Browse the recent documents of selected application. For example, type TED to select TextEdit, then press Right Arrow.
  • Browse Finder’s Recent Folders. Select Finder, then press Right Arrow.
  • Browse your contacts, contact groups and contact details such as email addresses, phone numbers, etc.
  • Browse your web bookmark folder hierarchy sub-search a flat list of all bookmarks and folders.
  • Browse or sub-search your web history grouped by day as a flat list.
  • Browse your iTunes Library by playlist, genre, artist, album, composer or song.
  • File System Browsing: Navigate to any file or folder on your hard disk.
  • File System Browsing traverses folder aliases and symbolic links.
  • Press ⌘→ to see a folder’s contents sorted by modification date.
  • Sub-search while browsing with arrow keys, press Space to perform a deep sub-search.
  • Category sub-search limits the search scope to a particular kind of items. For example, type JPI to select the JPEG Images category, then press Space to search to trigger a sub-search that searches for JPEG images only.

Text Input

  • Press Space to open an optional text field for entering search strings or parameters.
  • Direct Input of URLs (either via ⌘L or automatically by entering a dot character).
  • Search iTunes Store: Select iTunes, press Space.
  • Search Mac App Store: Select App Store application, press Space.
  • Pass parameters to AppleScripts, Unix Executables, services and actions. For example, select ping, press Space.
  • File Content Search: Select plain text, rich text or html file, then press Space.
  • Rename files, create new folders (⇧⌘R, ⇧⌘N).

Web Searches

  • Perform web searches: For example, select Google and press Space.
  • Comprehensive set of built-in web search templates (Google, Wikipedia, IMDB, YouTube, Flickr, Amazon, Wiktionary, Yahoo!, Merriam-Webster, and much much more).
  • Add your own, freely editable search templates.
  • Press ⇧Space to reuse your most recent search string with a different search engine.
  • Open another search template with ⇧↩ to re-run the most recent search immediately.

Opening items

  • Press ↩ to open the selected item.
  • Instant Open: Keep the last abbreviation character pressed to open the resulting item immediately, without pressing ↩.
  • Press ⌘↩ to show the selected item in Finder.
  • Press ⇧⌘↩ to show the selected item in the frontmost Finder window.
  • Open files with alternative applications: Press Tab to trigger “Open with” and select the destination.
  • Press ⌃↩ to open all files contained in a selected folder in one go.
  • Run AppleScripts.
  • Run Unix Executables.
  • Run Automator Workflows.
  • Invoke Mac OS X Services.
  • Press Space to enter string parameters for scripts, services and actions.
  • Drag items from LaunchBar or from the search result list.

Sending Items

  • Press Tab to send the selected item to the desired target.
  • Send to application to open items in that application.
  • Send to folder for move/copy operations.
  • Send file attachments to email contact.
  • Send text to search templates to perform a web search.

Instant Send

  • Press and hold ⌘Space to send file or text selections from other applications to to LaunchBar.
  • A modifier tap can be used to invoke Instant Send ever more quickly.
  • Once the data has been sent to LaunchBar, a target can be selected for further actions (open with application, move to folder, perform a web search, send email attachment, invoke service, etc.).
  • Combine Instant Send with Instant Open for even faster results.

Drag & Drop

  • Drag items from other applications to LaunchBar.
  • Drag files, text or URLs from LaunchBar to other applications.
  • The dragging target can be selected in LaunchBar even while the drag operation is already in progress.
  • When dragging to a folder in LaunchBar, use the modifier keys to choose the desired file operation (move, copy, make alias, etc.)
  • Press ⌘D to simulate dragging the current Finder selection to LaunchBar.

iTunes

  • Browse your iTunes Library by playlist, genre, artist, album, composer or song.
  • Find similar songs: Select a song, press Right Arrow to find songs from the same album or the same artist, composer or genre.
  • Playback control: Play, Pause, Next Song, Back Track, Fast Forward, Rewind
  • Playback of individual songs but also entire playlists, albums, genres, artists and more.
  • Best-Of Lists: LaunchBar automatically collects your top rated songs.
  • Remote control your iTunes DJ playlist.
  • Access the currently playing song: For example, type IT to select iTunes, then Right Arrow to show the currently playing song, then Right Arrow again to find similar tracks.
  • Advanced iTunes Library management: The Identically Named Albums category helps to find albums with identically names but from different artists.

Web Bookmarks and History

  • Access bookmarks and history from a wide range of web browsers (Safari, Firefox, Google Chrome, Chromium, Opera, OmniWeb and more).
  • Open a bookmark with ↩ to open it in the default browser, or press Tab to choose a different browser.
  • Use ⇧↩ to open a bookmark in the current Safari tab.
  • Press Space to edit the selected bookmark prior to opening it.
  • Use ⌘L to enter arbitrary URLs.
  • Start typing a dot character switches to URL input automatically.
  • Reveal other bookmarks from the same domain by pressing Right Arrow.
  • Browse your web bookmarks: For example, type SB to select Safari Bookmarks, then press Right Arrow to browse your bookmark folder hierarchy, or press Space to get a flat list of all your bookmarks and bookmark folders.
  • Browse your web history: For example, type SH to select Safari History, then press Right Arrow to browse your history grouped by days, or press Space to get a flat list of your most recently visited web pages.
  • Open a bookmark folder with ↩ to open all contained bookmarks at once.

Configuration and Indexing

  • Powerful, multithreaded indexing engine, performs index updates in background.
  • Lots of indexing rules: Applications, Services, Actions, iTunes Library, iPhoto Library, Network Locations, Preference Panes, Dock, Contacts, Calendars, Web Bookmarks and History, Cyberduck Bookmarks and more.
  • The Services indexing rule provides convenient access to commands from the Mac OS X Services menu.
  • Indexes bookmarks and history from a variety of web browsers (Safari, Firefox, Google Chrome, Chromium, and more).
  • Index your iPhoto events and albums.
  • User Accounts indexing for Fast User Switching.
  • Development Resources indexing rule, indexes the entire ADC Core Reference Library and the Developer Tools Reference Library.
  • Lots of configuration options to keep the index at a reasonable size (see the Options pane in the configuration window).
  • Live index updates. For instance, when you add a bookmark in Safari or when you import songs to your iTunes Library, these items are immediately accessible via LaunchBar.
  • Disabling of individual index items.
  • Multiple items can be enabled/disabled at once via context menu or by pressing Space.
  • Categories: Quick access to items of the same kind (Applications, RTF Documents, Bookmarks, Email Addresses, etc.).

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Fully customizable hotkeys for LaunchBar search, Spotlight search, Calculator and Clipboard History.
  • Modifier Taps: Tapping a modifier key can be used to activate LaunchBar and to invoke Instant Send.

Clipboard History

  • Seamless integration in LaunchBar’s standard interface.
  • Unique features such as stack operation (last-in/first-out), ClipMerge™, etc.
  • Paste as Plain Text option.
  • Paste a sequence of clipboard objects using Paste and remove from history.
  • Quick Look integration.
  • Clipboard objects can be used for LaunchBar actions such as browsing, send-to, drag & drop, etc.
  • Customizable Ignore List to protect sensitive data.

ClipMerge™

  • Combine subsequent Copy operations into one single clipboard object just by pressing ⌘C twice.
  • Collect portions of text from different sources and paste them all at once into a text document.
  • Collect files and folders to copy or move them to a folder, or to send them as email attachments.
  • Works with plain text, rich text and files.

Calendar Support

  • The Calendars indexing rule provides quick access to all your calendars.
  • Create events and reminders via LaunchBar: Select a calendar and press Space.
  • Events are entered in the format description @ date [and time]
  • Optionally, enter a location: description @ location @ date [and time]
  • Reminders are entered in the format description or description > due date.
  • Various options for entering dates, times and durations.
  • The tab key can be used to enter @ and > more conveniently.
  • Press ⌘↩ to reveal newly created items in Calendar.
  • See the LaunchBar Help for details about the input syntax.
  • Option to create calendar events via third party utilities such as Fantastical or QuickCal.

Actions

  • Actions indexing rule covering built-in an user defined actions.
  • Comprehensive set of built-in Actions:
    • File actions: Set/Reset Color Label, Empty Trash, Secure Empty Trash, Open Trash, Eject All Ejectable Volumes, Show Type and Creator
    • Compress actions to create ZIP or tar.gz archives.
    • Image manipulation actions: Resize, Recompress (High/Medium/Low Quality), Rotate Left/Right/180°, Flip Vertical/Horizontal
    • Application control actions: Quit, Force Quit, Quit All Applications, Hide, Hide Others
    • Utility actions: Make TinyURL, Start Screen Saver, Set Desktop Background, Show Date and Time, Show IP Address, etc.
    • Text manipulation: Enter Text, Display in Large Type, New TextEdit Document, Save Text
    • Clipboard actions: Copy as Plain Text, Copy and Paste, Copy and Paste as Plain Text, Clear Clipboard History, etc.
    • System management actions: Sleep, Log Out, Shut Down, Restart
    • Volume control: Decrease Volume, Increase Volume, Minimum Volume (10%), Medium Volume (50%), Maximum Volume (100%), Mute, Mute Off, Toggle Mute
    • Text to Speech actions: Speak Text, Stop Speaking. Invoking the Speak Text action automatically selects the Stop Speaking action, so it’s easy to interrupt the speech output.
    • iTunes control: Play, Pause, Next Song, Back Track, Update All Podcasts
    • iTunes Fast Forward / Rewind actions (invoking the action again switches back to playback).
    • Email actions: Get Mail, Get Mail in Background, New Mail Message
    • Creating Screenshots: Copy Screenshot of Selected Area, Copy Screenshot of Selected Window, Copy Screenshot of Selected Window Without Shadow
    • Search in Spotlight
    • Look Up in Dictionary
    • See the Actions indexing rule for the complete list of available actions.
  • Add your own custom actions. Put your custom AppleScripts or shell scripts in ~/Library/Application Support/LaunchBar/Actions. This folder is automatically indexed by LaunchBar.
  • The Reveal action (⌘↩) works with a wide range of items (Albums, Artists, contact groups, several indexing rules, etc.).
  • Support for sending items to contact groups (e.g. to send a file to multiple recipients).

File Operations

  • Perform various file operations with a selected file or folder:
    • Move
    • Copy
    • Make Alias
    • Make Symbolic Link (Absolute)
    • Make Symbolic Link (Relative)
    • Make Hard Link
    • Rename
    • New Folder
    • Duplicate
    • Get Info
    • Move to Trash
    • Eject
    • Eject Parent Volume
    • Compress
    • Set/Reset Color Label
  • Send to Folder functionality. Select a file, press Tab, select the destination. The desired file operation (Move, Copy, etc.) can be selected by pressing additional modifier keys. For example, ⌘↩ moves the file(s), ⌥↩ copies the file(s).
  • Asynchronous file operations to avoid blocking when copying large files.
  • Option to replace existing files when performing a copy/move operation.
  • ⌘A can be used to create multiple file selections.
  • When renaming a file, pressing Tab selects the filename extension.
  • Quick access to all currently mounted volumes through the Mounted Volumes indexing rule.
  • Eject All Ejectable Volumes action.

Quick Look

  • Press Space (or ⌘Y) to preview the selected item with Quick Look.
  • Press ⌥⌘Y to run Quick Look full screen.
  • Also works with contact items (cards, groups), text items, Clipboard History items.

Calculator

  • Powerful, extensible calculator, based on Unix bc.
  • Dedicated keyboard shortcut (can be configured in LaunchBar preferences > Calculator).
  • Switch to Calculator automatically when typing a digit or pasting a numeric expression.
  • Instant Calculate: If a text sent via Instant Send appears to be a valid calculator expression, the results are displayed automatically.
  • Scientific calculations:
    • Logarithms: ln (natural), ld (binary), log (base 10)
    • Power: exp, pow
    • Trigonometry: sin, cos, tan, asin, acos, atan
    • Fractions: gcd (greatest common divisor), lcm (least common multiple), rem (remainder)
  • Trigonometry modes (Radian, Degree, Grad)
  • Function Shortcuts: Uppercase letters can be used to enter function names more quickly. For example, type S45 to get sin(45), or type Q2 to get sqrt(2).
  • Smart Brackets to insert closing brackets and bracket pairs automatically.
  • Smart Calculator Input for more efficient input especially on notebook keyboards.
  • Automatic decimal separator detection (dot vs. comma).
  • Extensible via custom macros. Put your bc macro files in ~/Library/Application Support/LaunchBar/Calculator

Command Line Operations

  • Invoke command line operations in Terminal or iTerm.
  • Open Terminal Here to open a new Terminal window for a given directory.
  • Alternatively, press tab to send a folder to the Terminal application.
  • Run Terminal Command Here to run a shell command in a given directory.
  • Run Terminal Command With to run a shell command with a given file argument.
  • Run Terminal Command to run arbitrary commands in a Terminal window.
  • Run Shell Command to run arbitrary commands in a background shell.

User Interface

  • Option to hide LaunchBar’s Dock icon (see LaunchBar preferences > Advanced).
  • “Turn Hiding Off” (⇧⌘H) to keep the LaunchBar window visible, to make it a better target for dragging operations.
  • Customizable width and position of the input window.
  • The input window can also be resized via keyboard by pressing ⌃⇧←/→.
  • LaunchBar’s contextual menus can be opened with ⌃→ and ⌃⌥→
  • Customizable number of items shown while searching and browsing.
  • Customizable font size in the search result list.

Other Features

  • Switching Network Locations
  • Fast User Switching
  • Path Finder support
  • Cyberduck Bookmarks
  • Text Clips (files with a “.clip.txt” or “.clip.rtf” extension). The file contents are inserted in the frontmost application.
  • Speech Synthesis: Spoken feedback of any searching or browsing activities.
  • LaunchBar is scriptable via AppleScript.
  • Automatic software updates.