Alfred for Mac: Say Hello to Your Personal Butler

By Rahul Dowlath | Features

OS X is designed for productivity. It’s clear from the way Apple agonizes over every little detail of the interface, every little pixel, to make sure that us users can get the work done with as little to no fuss as possible.

But then there are times when you need that little extra oomph – a touch of turbo to really kick yourself into the productivity gear and get going. That’s where Alfred comes in. It’s a personal assistant for Mac that makes the built-in Spotlight feature look ancient.

Alfred has been around for some time now, and the developer has announced that version 2.0 will begin beta testing starting in January 2013. But the current version is excellent – and comes at an excellent price too (free from the Mac App Store).

So, what exactly can Alfred do? 

It’s simple. Alfred is a launcher. I’ve found myself using it more often than accessing apps and documents from Launchpad or the Finder. A quick keyboard sequence (I’ve configured mine to Alt-Enter) brings up a neat, uncluttered search bar.

Start typing and Alfred starts searching.

Using a few special commands can even get Alfred to do some neat tricks for you. Example: typing “open” followed by a file’s name can bring up a list of files pertaining to that name. You can launch movies, documents and more without even engaging the trackpad or mouse and combing through copious Finder pages.

Even more: Alfred allows you to perform simple maths without needing a calculator app. And it can search the web for you, if you like.

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Alfred has increased my productivity immensely, and it has contributed significantly to my appreciation of the Mac and the strength of the OS X platform as a stylish workhorse.

Got any Alfred tricks that you can’t live without? Or another productivity app you find indispensable? Share them in the comments below!

About the Author

I'm a young writer from South Africa, chronicling the changing tides in the ever-flowing river of technology. Focusing mainly on Apple-related technologies, I enjoy sharing my opinion and giving a few tips and tricks here and there on the latest and greatest from 1 Infinite Loop. I'm an avid blogger, and an even more avid reader.