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Misunderstanding how powerpack search works.


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I'm obviously being dense, so please forgive me, but I cannot fathom out how the Powerpack version is supposed to replicate the basic functionality of application search and open from the non-Power pack version, or more precisely, why Recent Files is the default action for every application, even if they don't understand the concept  of Recent Files.


That is, some applications, like Tinderbox and Scrivener work fine with Recent Files, so a default action on Enter of Recent Files is a sensible option.


But Safari, Notes, Reminders, Calendar and many other apps don't understand Recent Files, so when I press enter I'm left in an empty box saying 'No matching recent documents' and no way to proceed short of pressing Escape and starting again, this time pressing the right arrow to get to the second panel where I have to press cmd-3 to actually open the app. There's no indication in the search window what the default action on Enter will be. 


It doesn't seem likely that this is the expected behaviour, so there's obviously a setting somewhere I can alter to get a more streamlined workflow for 'no recent files' apps.


I've searched the help but can't find anything to explain how I should set things up. Or am I just supposed to get used to always using the right arrow instead of the Enter key just to open an app?


(I've been using Alfred ever since Ventura broke Spotlight, but only installed the Powerpack a few weeks ago. On the off chance that I'd changed a setting I reinstalled everything today, but still the problem persists.)


Many thanks!


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@brookter [Edit: Please ignore this response and take a look at the one below, as I've re-read your post and understood the unexpected behaviour you're getting] Alfred will provide Recent Files where possible. If you open Safari, Notes, Reminders or Calendar and look in the File menu, you'll notice there are no Recent Files and these apps don't track the last opened file.


If you're keen to search for your Safari bookmarks and history for example, this can be done via a workflow:




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@brookter Apologies, I misread your original post and can now see that something odd seems to be happening for you.


If I've understood correctly, in Alfred's default results, you choose Safari, press Enter and see the Recent Documents list? If so, that's not the expected behaviour. As you can imagine, using Enter should open the app.


Could you please provide your Diagnostics file, which you can get by typing "?diagnostics" into Alfred? You can then email it to our info@ email address so that I can take a look at your Alfred configuration.


Please also let me know if you're using any third-party apps that might be remapping keys on your Mac.


As a temporary measure, you can disable Universal Actions by unchecking all of the Show Actions checkboxes under Features > Universal Actions > Show Actions.


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Hi @Vero, thanks for the reply.



Alfred will provide Recent Files where possible. If you open Safari, Notes, Reminders or Calendar and look in the File menu, you'll notice there are no Recent Files and these apps don't track the last opened file.


But that's the problem: as I said, Safari, Notes, Reminders etc don't have recent files, but Alfred Powerpack insists on trying to show me the non-existent recent files – please see the screenshot. In other words, its definition of 'where possible' includes apps which can never show recent files.


This is so obviously not what anyone would want that I assume I haven't set it up properly. Or are you saying that this is not expected and therefore a bug?


I'm not interested in Safari bookmarks or history at this stage, I just want to be able to use the open application feature in Powerpack as easily as I could in the basic version. At the moment it's far too convoluted.


Many thanks for your help!



Screenshot 2023-09-20 at 12.45.26.png

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1 minute ago, brookter said:

I just want to be able to use the open application feature


Pressing enter on Safari.app shouldn't bring up the Universal Actions or Recent Documents, it should just open Safari.


If this is not happening, there is a misconfiguration somewhere on your Mac. If you could send your diagnostics, that'll help us work out what this could be.

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@brookter Thanks for sending this across.


The first thing to try is to uncheck all Universal Actions keys under Features > Universal Actions > Show Actions. Once you've done this, search for Safari and press Enter. Does this now launch the app as expected?


If it doesn't, please fully quit Keyboard Maestro and Key Cue and try again. It may not be that there are conflicting shortcuts, but there may be some event manipulation causing interference. What behaviour do you see now?


If you're now able to launch apps normally, re-open Alfred's preferences to Features > Universal Actions and check the right arrow to be your Actions key. Search for something in Alfred and use the right arrow; This should now show you the list of all available actions for this file type, rather than Recent Documents specifically.


Let me know how you get on and what your findings are :)

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Deleting *all* items causes both Enter and right arrow to show 'No matching actions'. Please see screenshot.





Unchecking the two actions with higher priority (Recent Files and Open Package Contents) lets Safari etc open properly with Enter . If either higher priority item is left on, then that takes the default Enter.


Closing down KM and Keycue does not affect matters one way or another. 


However, on a hunch I shut down Karabiner Elements and that does make a difference. Enter and right arrow then work as expected, even with all actions checked. Turn Karabiner back on and the problem returns.


This is very odd, because I've used Karabiner for a year or two with Alfred basic and never had this problem. Karabiner is an essential part of my set up.


Does this give you anything to go on?





Edited by brookter
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@brookter these aren't the correct things to uncheck, re-check all Default Actions in Universal Actions. Vero was referring to this configuration:




Absolutely, if quitting Karabiner fixes the issue, then you have a Karabiner configuration where pressing enter may also issuing a Tab in the events. You currently have Tab configured in Alfred to show the actions, which is why your Karabiner config is causing the issue.


Take a look at your Karabiner settings and see if you have any configuration which relates to the enter key in any way possible (I've seen this before, but I can't find the post). We have many users who happily use Alfred and Karabiner together.


If you switch Showing Actions to the arrow or fn key, this should also fix the issue, but you'd be better off working out how Karabiner is altering the enter key.


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Hi Andrew, 


Thanks for your patience!


You're right, but it's the Ctrl key causing the problem – all the others work fine in any combination, and fail to work properly if Ctrl is checked.


I suspect it's because Karabiner is set to 'double function' a couple of keys:


- Return is Control when held, Return when tapped

- Caps Lock is Control when held, Escape when tapped.


Those are such useful features that they're burned into my fingers (Emacs user…) and Karabiner is the first app I put on any new computer. Just to check, though, I turned off those mappings in Karabiner and Ctrl no longer caused a problem in Alfred. 


I'm happy to use tab (more convenient that the right arrow) for the action panel button. I don't override tab in Karabiner and it doesn't seem affected in Alfred.


Again, I am very grateful for your help and am now looking forward to explore the rest of the Powerpack…


 Best wishes, 




(FWIW, Karabiner Viewer reports the correct key codes for Enter (in its dual function role), regrdless of the state of the ctrl key in Alfred, so perhaps there's something going on later in the chain? The highlighted lines in the red box show the keycodes when I press Enter in Alfred with Ctrl ticked.)




Edited by brookter
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