Launchbar and an urgent request.

MacUpdate has a promo of Launchbar at 50% off, if anyone is interested … I have less than 46 hours in which to take it up if I want to.

However, could any of you Launchbar aficionados (Ioa ? :slight_smile: ) answer a question quickly. The blurb that comes from MU says that the hot-key to launch Launchbar is Command-Space. Is it possible to change that within the app, as Command-Space is the hot-key for switching keyboards, and for me, switching between English and Chinese keyboards is a frequent requirement, something I’ve been doing for about 20 years and there’s no way I want to change that.

So hot-key assignment is make-or-break for me, and I need to know within the next 45 hours. I don’t want to buy the app and find it buggers up my keyboard switching.


I use Command +
I’ve used it since 2002, but did not upgrade to version 5. I would think that it has the same option to choose a different hotkey to invoke it.
In version 4 I don’t think I could create any combination I wanted, but LaunchBar included some options and I picked one.

Mark you can freely choose your hotkey to invoke Launchbar, I use version 5 and am very happy with it, keep finding out new things I can do with it. It has a clipboard history, each item of which it can display using quicklook, very handy if you copied a bunch of pictures and need to find the right one to paste into an email. One of the few so-called productivity apps that is actually worth it IMO.

I’ve used Quicksilver for many years (except for a short period when it seemed to stop working, and I used Google’s QuickSearch), but I decided that at about £11 GBP it was worth buying Launchbar. As Ioa said on another thread, Quicksilver completely changed the way I worked with the computer, but it was beginning to look a bit old, and I gather the original developer recommends moving to Launchbar or some equivalent software. Too soon for me to make a proper comparison, but first impressions are OK, with the exception of the font size being too small (it seems that various people have complained about this on their forums). I wear varifocal lenses, so I have to tip my head back to read Launchbar, something I didn’t have to do with Quicksilver. You can’t win them all.

What did you decide, Mark?

Best, Martin.

I bought! I have had Quicksilver for a while, but have never really got into it. And yes, first impressions of Launchbar are OK. I set the main Launchbar shortcut to Cmd-\ so it leaves my keyboard switching alone, but I’ve actually set double-tap on to open Launchbar Search, which does the same thing … at least in terms of the simple use I’m making of it now. I do have to remember to use it though … calling up the apps I use from my minimalist dock and its “Applications” folder for those I don’t access all the time has become such a habit!

I don’t have a problem with the font size, though, even on my MBA and with my 65 year-old eyes … though I only wear specs for distance, particularly when out and about.



Maybe you’ve rejected this – but you can drag Launchbar to anywhere on the screen, escape it and when recalled it will re-appear in the same spot. For varifocals, perhaps more of a Launchdoorstep …


Hugh – Actually, I hadn’t thought of putting it right at the bottom of the screen. I wonder how that would work. Normally the lists drop down below the main bar. Do they go upwards instead? That would feel a bit strange. I’ll have to try it. One can get used to most things. But probably the middle of the screen would be best. Aaahh … the problem of having a choice. But thanks for the idea.

Mark, I’m one of those who like to keep their hands on the keys, so I found Quicksilver a godsend. I’m also not as organised as I ought to be, so the ability to find my scattered material from inside Quicksilver was very useful. Once you adapt to the way of working, it’s very satisfying. Best of luck with it!


Edit: Yes, the lists do open upwards. Intriguing. Experimentation clearly called for.

Although I remain a fan of Launchbar (following Ioa’s original recommendation shortly after I moved to the Mac and Scrivener) which I think is still leader of the pack, the upstart Alfred (Powerpack edition) continues to pile on the features. It has released an update today.

And varifocals should have no problem with it.

But unfortunately my computer would – I don’t have an Intel chip. (Although I see there is an unsupported PPC version, but I assume this is not getting all the feature upgrades.)

However, I’m beginning to get used to Launchbar – and it may help me to cultivate a superior look :mrgreen: (unless I do decide to shift it down the screen a little).

Thanks for the info,

Yes, I took the plunge with Launchbar as well.

Old, slow, and confused, but at least I’m inconsistent… :mrgreen:

Thanks for the heads-up. I started using Quicksilver shortly after coming to the Mac in late '07 but it’s looking a bit ignored by the developer(s) these days. It’s getting more unstable, too. I bought LaunchBar before the sale ended so at least now I’ve got an App that’s actively developed. So far, it’s slicker than a KFC drainpipe.


I’m late to the party. One thing I do like on the double-tap Fn/Ctrl thing is having that set up to “Instant send” instead of an alternate search. This is slightly different in that it macros a two actions you’d have to take otherwise. It does the following:

  1. Grabs the current selection in the active application, which is equivalent to tapping Cmd-G with the LB interface already up
  2. Invokes target mode on the grabbed item(s), which is indicated by the orange arrow, equivalent to tapping Tab after making a selection

Target mode is like saying “Do what I select with this item”, and opens up a whole bunch of secondary things, and will be quite familiar to QuickSilver users since that Tab method is more predominant. For example you can select some text in a program, that will send the text as a snippet to LaunchBar, and from there you can access all of your Services and zip the text off where it needs to go. It reduces the need for global shortcuts (which always seem to conflict with something somewhere) in services. Or select 5 files and move them to another folder, or zip them in an archive, or send them to an FTP server.

There seems to be a bug here – it doesn’t work for me at all, and there are various posts on their forum going back to last May saying that it only works intermittently, or not at all. Shame, as it would be handy.

Cheers, Martin.

So far, double-tap on Function has worked perfectly for me. I’ll have to read Ioa’s post carefully and think about what he says. For the moment, I’m still teaching myself to use LaunchBar to launch apps, rather than going automatically for the dock.



at the risk of stating the obvious: You did configure the hotkey for instant send (double fn or the like) in the Launchbar prefs under the “shortcuts” tab?



Yes, I did. The thread on their forum is here:

Seems like a genuine problem with the OS thinking a key has been pressed when it hasn’t. I’m no techie, but I think that’s what they’re saying.

Best, Martin.

I think Launchbar is just the cat’s pajamas! I’ve used it for years, now, and keep finding more things to do with it. You can, of course, not bother with any of its fancy stuff and get great use out of it but (and this will take a long period of use) once you start finding out all the nifty things it can do, it starts becoming indispensable. I find reading through the documentation every few months is very useful. For example, I set up a search template for Google Translate where I just type gtf (google translate french), hit the spacebar, type ‘questionable’ -return and whammo “contestable”.

If you haven’t tried Launchbar, try it.


P.S. Mark, if you have apps in the dock it may not be all that useful to force yourself to use Launchbar for them. Dragging a file down to an app icon may truly be easier than doing a Launchbar finger dance.

One thing I found worth doing with Launchbar is compiling its Help as a pdf in Scrivener and printing it off*. Although the application itself is actually fairly straightforward, its Help - I found - could do with being “AmberV’d” like the Scrivener Manual; its atomistic treatment on the screen isn’t the clearest. But a read-through from beginning to end on paper - and a paper reference thereafter - assisted understanding.

*There may be a more elegant way, but that’s the route I took.

Thanks, Hugh. :slight_smile:

All opinion from a keyboard junkie, but I think once you get LB sufficiently trained with your abbreviations, it can become quite a bit more efficient than using the Dock. Most of my common applications are all down to single-letter recall these days, so sending a file to, say, TextMate, is as simple as Fn+Fn;t;Enter. Another thing that can help is Cmd-R, which returns a list of all running applications which you can then abbreviate off of; good for programs you don’t use as much as it shortens the list of potentials. Cmd-R is also nice in that when using that mode, it opens up task management features, such as Cmd-Q to quit the program.

But, if you do like drag and drop, be aware you can drag items from an LB match as you would anything else from the Finder. If you select a file, you can drag and drop from the LB interface into the Dock to load it in an application. If you find this way of working useful, you might want to move the LB panel closer to the Dock.