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Make Alfred Spotlight-esque


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Hi,

 

With the new Mac OS High Sierra, spotlight has drastically improved.

 

The search function on spotlight is simply better than Alfred's. I was always a big proponent of Alfred to my business partner and now he's rubbing it in my face.

 

What I like about spotlight is the file previews on the side but more importantly it just finds more stuff. It will find files based on tags, show you website suggestions,  apple music and whole bunch of other things.

 

Can one configure Alfred to do the same both in terms of the file previews and to make the search more extensive?

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8 hours ago, az566 said:

I was always a big proponent of Alfred to my business partner and now he's rubbing it in my face.

 

Show him Workflows. Spotlight can’t compete with that. With just a couple of Workflows you’ll prove just how limited Spotlight is. Spotlight can’t add reminders in Apple’s own Reminders.app or control iTunes. Alfred beats Apple in automating their own apps. It can do it in Apple’s own apps and in others.

 

8 hours ago, az566 said:

but more importantly it just finds more stuff. It will find files based on tags, show you website suggestions,  apple music and whole bunch of other things.

 

Can one configure Alfred to do the same both in terms of the file previews and to make the search more extensive?

 

Again, Workflows. Every generic search Spotlight can do, Alfred can do as well. In addition, Alfred can do specific searches tailored to you. Alfred can search your Pinboard bookmarks, or your Zotero library, or interact with your Slack channels, or, or, or…


With Alfred you can also search by tags and do better than website search. Not sure about Apple Music, but you can search Spotify and you’re not limited to one method.


As for file previews, When searching a file press ⇧ or ⌘Y and Alfred will open Quicklook with that file. Immediate file previews can be achieved when navigating a directory.


Both Alfred and Spotlight are limited by what the OS can do and third-parties (when relevant) allow. But beyond that Alfred is limited only by your imagination, while Spotlight is limited by Apple’s whims. And in some tasks they are just different and use different models, but for most things…

Edited by vitor
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8 hours ago, az566 said:

Can one configure Alfred to do the same both in terms of the file previews and to make the search more extensive?

 

Short answer: no.

 

Long answer: not exactly (see Vítor's post), and yes, but that's not how Alfred works.

 

In several key ways, Alfred is an "anti-Spotlight", and by trying to make it more like Spotlight, you'll just end up with a crappier version thereof.

 

The Spotlight Way is to chuck everything in one bucket and leave it up to the user to sift through it. The Alfred Way is multiple user-configured and highly-targeted searches.

 

And Alfred learns from you, whereas with Spotlight, it's up to you to learn what you need to input to get the results you want.

 

If you use "Page Layers" a lot, Alfred will very quickly learn this is what you want when you start typing "page". Spotlight will always and forever show "Pages.app".

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I tried using Alfred as a Spotlight substitute for the first year or so I owned it.  Then (I forget why - maybe when v2 came out) I reset to the default search targets & went all in with workflows and custom searches.  I've gone back to using Spotlight for files, and disabled most of the distractions that Appeal has been throwing in....I don't need random Apple Music cluttering up my search for files are work - if I wanted to look for music I'd open iTunes (or more often these days, Music on IOS).  But for serious file search I use HoudahSpot (which, like Alfred relies on Spotlight indexing below the surface).

Edited by dfay
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