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kodiak

Text Expansion, Open/Save Dialogs, Smarter Search, Clipboard, and More

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Hi everyone!

 

A few Alfred starter questions. It's going to be quite a long list, as the more I use this wonderful software, the more eager I get to explore its capabilities.

 

1. Text expansion: do you folks prefer to use macOS's text replacement feature or Alfred's snippets?

Alfred's offering is superior, of course, but macOS text replacements can be synced to mobile iOS devices, which is very compelling.

 

2. We all know macOS's open and save dialogs are a nightmare, especially after you're used to efficient keyboard navigation with Alfred.

Is there ANY way whatsoever to apply Alfred's basic File Search capabilities to the open and save panels?

If not, is there any other software that can offer this? 

 

3. I would like to know if there is a way to perform a more intelligent file search (I believe this is also called "fuzzy" search, correct me if I'm wrong) in Alfred.

 

For example, let's say I have the following directory:

 

whdS9iT.png

 

I expect Alfred to find the folder "Red" only if I type a partial string like "do cha re". Similarly, if I type something such as "do cha bl en", ideally Alfed would find "Engine.jpg" inside "/Blue". Launch Bar behaves like this and it works very well! It would be amazing if Alfred would do the same.

 

4. Is a difference between pressing `+C` (copying) and hitting `` (selecting) on an item from the clipboard history?

 

5. I noticed that when interacting (whether copying or selecting) with a clipboard item, that item jumps to the top of the list. Is there any way to disable that?

 

6. Is it possible to activate Quick Look on clipboard items?

 

7. Is it possible to open the File Action menu for items in the clipboard history?

Some of the clipboard items are files for all intents and purposes, so making them compatible with File Actions is almost a no-brainer. And I can definitely imagine various File Actions for other clipboard items that are not "files" per se, such as copied images and texts (like Imgur uploading for the former, and creating a new note in Notes for the latter).

 

Thank you very much!

Edited by kodiak

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2 hours ago, kodiak said:

1. Text expansion: do you folks prefer to use macOS's text replacement feature or Alfred's snippets?

Alfred's offering is superior, of course, but macOS text replacements can be synced to mobile iOS devices, which is very compelling.

 

macOS text replacements don’t work in every app, making them immediately less useful.

 

2 hours ago, kodiak said:

Is there ANY way whatsoever to apply Alfred's basic File Search capabilities to the open and save panels?

 

You can search in Alfred and drag and drop the result directly from Alfred to the save panel.

 

2 hours ago, kodiak said:

3. I would like to know if there is a way to perform a more intelligent file search (I believe this is also called "fuzzy" search, correct me if I'm wrong) in Alfred.

 

Take a look at Fuzzy Folders.

 

2 hours ago, kodiak said:

4. Is a difference between pressing `+C` (copying) and hitting `` (selecting) on an item from the clipboard history?

 

No.

 

2 hours ago, kodiak said:

5. I noticed that when interacting (whether copying or selecting) with a clipboard item, that item jumps to the top of the list. Is there any way to disable that?

 

Alfred Preferences → Features → Clipboard → Advanced → (untick) Move items to top of clipboard history when used

 

2 hours ago, kodiak said:

6. Is it possible to activate Quick Look on clipboard items?

 

No, but you can ⌘L to see them as Large Type

 

2 hours ago, kodiak said:

7. Is it possible to open the File Action menu for items in the clipboard history?

 

 

No.

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8 hours ago, kodiak said:

If not, is there any other software that can offer this?

 

The standard Finder Go To Folder… shortcut ⇧⌘G works in Open/Save dialogs. It's not as good as Alfred's navigation, but no need for the mouse.

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Thanks a lot for the immensely helpful replies.

 

On 4/17/2018 at 3:18 PM, vitor said:

You can search in Alfred and drag and drop the result directly from Alfred to the save panel.

1

 

 

On 4/17/2018 at 9:24 PM, deanishe said:

You can search in Alfred and drag and drop the result directly from Alfred to the save panel.

 

 

Sounds like a much better alternative than dragging (the ultimate workflow killer). And I just stumbled upon this wonderful workflow, which brings as close as possible to Alfred navigation in open/save dialogs. I hope macOS will eventually get better in this regard and allow for native solutions to this.

 

On 4/17/2018 at 3:18 PM, vitor said:

No.

 

 

1. So I guess I also can't queue multiple clipboard items into some kind of a "File Buffer" (with the goal of invoking a command at multiple items at once)?

 

2. Is there any way to sync Alfred's text replacements to my iPhone?

 

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4 minutes ago, kodiak said:

So I guess I also can't queue multiple clipboard items into some kind of a "File Buffer" (with the goal of invoking a command at multiple items at once)?

 

No. File Actions are the only elements that natively handle multiple items, and they can't be used with clipboard entries.

 

If you're feeling adventurous, you could write a workflow that reads Alfred's clipboard history (it's an SQLite database), extracts the entries that are paths and presents them back to Alfred as files. Then you can add them to the Buffer, use File Actions on them etc.

 

5 minutes ago, kodiak said:

Is there any way to sync Alfred's text replacements to my iPhone?

 

No. You have to use the system text replacements for things you want to sync.

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Thanks a lot for the helpful input.

 

A few additional questions:

 

1. How can I tell for a certainty whether a workflow has automatic updates or not?

 

2. Many macOS apps are composed of different - for a lack of a better word - "elements" Two random examples are Google's Backup & Sync, which has a Finder synchronization folder, but also a menubar representation, (with vital information), and a preferences window; and KeyCue, which consists of the actual app and preferences window.

Is there any way to define that what "element" will be launched upon selecting a matching search result?

For example, I want "Backup and Sync from Google.app" to launch the software's preferences and not the relevant Finder folder. Moreover, when I select "KeyCue" in Alfred, I want to launch the actual app and not its preferences. And there are many other apps where I would much prefer to directly launch the menubar counterpart, rather than the "main" app.

 

3. Can I set custom Alfred abbreviations for system commands and applications? (e.g. "fq" for Force Quit, "ps" for Photoshop, respectively)

 

4. In Alfred's navigation mode, why is the sorting of files is as follows?

 

mLXQXpl.png

As you can see, 10, 11 and 12 come before 2. I would naturally expect that 1 would be followed by 2, 3, 4 and so on...

Is there any way to change the former behavior to the latter one? 

 

Thanks!

 

Edited by kodiak

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38 minutes ago, kodiak said:

How can I tell for a certainty whether a workflow has automatic updates or not?

 

The source code is the canonical source of such information. AFAIK, the only common auto-update mechanisms are @vitor's OneUpdater and my Python and Go libraries. You'll be able to see the OneUpdater node if you open a workflow Alfred Preferences. Workflows built on my libraries typically respond to the query workflow:update and also log their update status to Alfred's debugger.

 

44 minutes ago, kodiak said:

Is there any way to define that what "element" will be launched upon selecting a matching search result?

 

Not generically, no. How an application behaves when the system tells it to activate or open something is 100% that application's business. If you want a Google app to do something specific, that's a question for Google.

 

50 minutes ago, kodiak said:

Can I set custom Alfred abbreviations for system commands and applications?

 

Alfred also searches Spotlight keywords, so if you give Photoshop the keyword "ps" Alfred will show it for the query "ps". AFAIK, you can't do that with Alfred's built-in commands.

 

52 minutes ago, kodiak said:

In Alfred's navigation mode, why is the sorting of files is as follows?

 

The results appear to be sorted alphabetically. 1 comes before 9, so 10 also comes before 9.

 

53 minutes ago, kodiak said:

Is there any way to change the former behavior to the latter one?

 

No idea. Certainly, Finder is "smarter" about sorting names containing numbers.

 

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On 4/25/2018 at 11:49 PM, deanishe said:

 

The source code is the canonical source of such information. AFAIK, the only common auto-update mechanisms are @vitor's OneUpdater and my Python and Go libraries. You'll be able to see the OneUpdater node if you open a workflow Alfred Preferences. Workflows built on my libraries typically respond to the query workflow:update and also log their update status to Alfred's debugger.

1

 

This essentially means that even if I don't see the OneUpdater node, an auto-update functionality may still exist in the workflow?

On 4/25/2018 at 11:49 PM, deanishe said:

 

The source code is the canonical source of such information. AFAIK, the only common auto-update mechanisms are @vitor's OneUpdater and my Python and Go libraries. You'll be able to see the OneUpdater node if you open a workflow Alfred Preferences. Workflows built on my libraries typically respond to the query workflow:update and also log their update status to Alfred's debugger.

 

This is done by adding "ps" to the "Comments" box of the Info panel for the Photoshop.app?

 

Thanks!

 

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18 minutes ago, kodiak said:

This essentially means that even if I don't see the OneUpdater node, an auto-update functionality may still exist in the workflow?

 

Yes.

 

19 minutes ago, kodiak said:

This is done by adding "ps" to the "Comments" box of the Info panel for the Photoshop.app?

 

Yes.

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Thanks @deanishe. 

 

Two further questions:

 

1. Is there any control over the way Alfred opens user-typed URLs (and also through bookmarks or through Alfred's own history) in the default browser?

Examples of different ways of opening tabs include:

  • Instead of the active tab
  • If there's more than one tab open, in a new tab next (right) to the last one
  • In a new tab next (right) to the active one
  • In a new window

And more.

 

2. I have a USB disk which I occasionally plug into my Mac. When I type the drive's name it doesn't show up in Alfred's results.

Can I somehow add the drive to Alfred's results, but obviously make it appear (upon searching for it) only when it's plugged in?

 

Thanks!

Edited by kodiak

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