Table Flip Everything: A simple workflow to turn the world upside down

Happy Friday! ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ

When working remotely, we often rely on the written medium to communicate with teammates. This is where emoticons come in to convey our feelings about the current project better than just writing them out. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Inspired by a fantastic tweet by Jan-Hendrik Kuperus, who created his own Table Flip workflow, we created a workflow that lets you use the noble Table Flip emoticons to flip your world upside down.

Download the "Flip Everything" workflow and use "flip", on its own or followed by some text to use it.

Use the Command, Alt, Control, and Shift hotkey modifiers for different table flippers.

Alfred window showing the Table Flip in action

Curious how the workflow works? You'll notice it only uses a handful of workflow objects;

Have a great weekend...

┻━┻ ︵ \(°□°)/ ︵ ┻━┻

...and why not tweet your friends a table flip to end the week?

Speeding up Workflow Hotkeys

Did you know that Alfred has different Hotkey Trigger modes, and selecting the correct mode could significantly improve performance?

Spotify Workflow in Alfred Workflow editor

The modes, which can be access by clicking the turquoise symbols to the right of the Hotkey Trigger field, are:

  • Simulate modifier keys released
  • Wait until modifier keys are released
  • Pass through modifier keys

By default, Alfred will simulate the release of the hotkey combo. This, along with the option to wait until modifier keys are released, is the most compatible with any action connected to the hotkey, but inherently introduces a small delay before the connected action is run.

If the action following the hotkey is unaffected by modifier keys being held, then you can make your hotkey much more responsive by selecting the mode to pass through modifier keys. Alfred can then run the connected action the instant you press your hotkey combo.

A Practical Example

The following little workflow toggles play and pause in Spotify, regardless of the media context in macOS. I use this workflow to quickly pause Spotify if I want to watch a YouTube video, and YouTube has already assumed the Mac keyboard media keys.

By selecting the "Pass through modifier keys" mode, there is no latency when using this hotkey to pause and un-pause Spotify.

Download Spotify Play Pause Workflow

Has this helped speed up your hotkeys? Let us know on Twitter @alfredapp :)

Don't Get Lost in Translation: Using Google Translate in Alfred

Alfred includes a range of useful web searches, from Google Maps and Apple Maps to IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes. These can be triggered with a keyword followed by your search term.

Web search for Spiderman on IMDB

It's likely that you also have your own favourite websites you use frequently, which is where custom searches come in handy.

You can create your custom searches by taking a look at the URL at the top of your search bar; The objective is to replace the search term with {query}, so that Alfred knows where to slip your search term into the URL.

I frequently use Google Translate to translate from and to many different languages, and using the keyword "translate" in Alfred is the quickest way to get a translation. However, Google has to make its best guess at which language I'm pasting in, and which language I want it to translate to.

Instead of letting Google play Russian roulette, I've created a few custom searches that specify which languages I want Google to use. This particular custom search ensures that Google predictably knows I'm entering a French sentence and I want the outcome to be in English.

Launch Alfred's preferences to Features > Web Search, where you'll be able to create your own custom search.

Copy the URL format below to create a French to English custom search:

Translate "{query}" from French to English
https://translate.google.com/#fr/en/{query}

Translating the word escalier from French to English

And here is the English to French translation URL:

Translate "{query}" from English to French
https://translate.google.com/#en/fr/{query}

Translating the word staggering from English to French

You can adjust the "fr" and "en" to any language you'd like to use, and tweak some of the custom search preferences. For example, certain sites encode spaces differently, so you'll need to experiment a little.

Filling in a Custom Search

Create a few of these and you'll be a polyglot in no time! (And don't forget you can use Alfred's "define" keyword if you need to check the meaning of "polyglot"...)

Alfred's Best Features for the Independent Business Owner

Running a business, whether on your own or with a small but (im)perfectly formed team, involves so many different responsibilities; sales and support, business management, blogging and social media, and the dreaded accounting tasks.

While Alfred can't do bookkeeping for you (shucks!), he can help simplify many of your repetitive tasks.

Most of these features require the Powerpack; You can purchase a Powerpack license here or upgrade your license from a previous version here.

Snippets and Text Expansion

One of the most common repetitive tasks is in typing the same text or looking up the same links over and over again.

By creating snippets, you can carefully craft your response to a frequently asked question, and paste it with a few characters next time.

Example Snippet with Dynamic Placeholder

Examples of useful snippets could include:

  • Your business postal and email address
  • FAQs about your products
  • Commonly used website and social media links
  • Today's date, using a dynamic placeholder
  • Pre-defined text followed by your clipboard's current content, using the {clipboard} placeholder

We all have individual routines; This week, pay attention to anything you're writing more than once and turn it into a snippet!

Clipboard History

The Clipboard goes hand in hand with snippets; It's another brilliant way to save time and quickly find text, images and files you've copied within recently.

Clipboard Viewer example

You'll first need to enable the Clipboard History feature, as Alfred doesn't automatically begin saving your clipboard content.

When you copy some text using + C, Alfred will add it to the clipboard. Later on, you can pop up the Clipboard Viewer to grab an item you copied earlier.

Pro tip: You can use + S to turn a text item in your Clipboard Viewer into a new snippet for safekeeping!

Calculator, Dictionary & Contacts

These three features barely need an introduction, as they're so simple to use, but it bears repeating as they're very handy and quick to adopt.

Start typing a calculation into Alfred; Press equal to complete your equation, and Return to copy the result to your clipboard.

Calculator example

Need help finding the right words? The macOS Dictionary app is right there at your fingertips. Use the keyword "define" to check the definition of a word, or "spell" for the spelling of words.

And finally, your Contacts can be accessed by typing the name of your contact and pressing Return, which will show you all the essential details in the Contacts Viewer. You can then quickly choose their email address to start writing an email, copy their phone number to your clipboard, or open their address in the Maps app.

Custom searches

Are there sites you search frequently, such as supplier websites, your own website's documentation, or shared wikis?

With a custom search, you can type the keyword for the site followed by your search term, and press Return to launch the results page.

Search Alfred's Forum

Take a look at our Guide for creating your own custom searches or pop by Alfred's preferences under Features > Web Search to get started.

You can easily share your custom searches to help your colleagues and friends save time too!

Workflows: The Ultimate Productivity Boosters

Workflows give you supreme control over your Mac; You can import workflows created by community members, or create your own to suit your needs specifically.

One of the easiest workflows to adopt is the File Filter, which allows you to filter the file search on your Mac to only include certain file types or locations.

Take a look at the examples built into Alfred or join the Alfred community forum for help in creating your own dream workflows.

There's so much more to discover!

There are many more features that can help boost your productivity, like the File Buffer, many more workflow types, System commands and so much more.

When you browse the Powerpack preferences, click the question mark icon in the top right corner of the preference pane, which will take you to the relevant help page for that particular feature. It's a great way to discover and try out new features!

Once you've discovered your favourite features, share them with your colleagues for a more efficient super-powered team.

Alfred 4.0.5 Released: Improved Support for macOS 10.15 Catalina

Since Apple first announced macOS 10.15 Catalina this summer, we've been preparing Alfred for support with releases following changes in the beta.

On 7th October, Apple officially released Catalina to the general public, and we followed shortly thereafter with updated to both Alfred 4 and Alfred 3.

We recommend updating to Alfred 4.0.5 if you're using Alfred 4 to get the best Catalina support. If you're still using Alfred 3, be sure to update to 3.8.4.

Generally, macOS Catalina has been a fairly smooth release for Alfred. In this post, we're covering a few pointers for features where changes to macOS mean that you may need to make some little tweaks to your workflows or preferences.

Grant Alfred the Necessary Permissions

Ensure that you've granted Alfred sufficient permissions by following the "Request Permissions..." button in the General tab.

This includes Accessibility permissions (required for Snippets, Clipboard, workflows and more), as well as Full Disk Access to find files and browser bookmarks. This is also where you can access permissions if you previously denied Alfred access to your contacts or automation (which macOS will request automatically if and when it is required).

Apps Have Moved to a New Location

Apple have moved apps from /Applications/ to /System/Volumes/Data/Applications/ in macOS Catalina. As a result, you may see duplicated apps in Alfred when you first launch it. To resolve this, update to 4.0.5+ or type "reload" in Alfred to clear the old cached location.

If you use workflows or Remote actions which launch apps and these don't appear to launch anything any longer, check the location of the app you're launching. You may need to edit the workflow object and go select the app in its new location.

The New Music app and Remote Music

The new Music app replaces iTunes, as Apple has now retired the latter. If you're a keen Music user with remotely stored music (e.g. albums you've purchased on iTunes/Music that you stream instead of download), we recommend updating to the Alfred 4.0.6 pre-release.

To update to an Alfred pre-release, go to the Update tab, choose "pre-releases" from the dropdown menu, and update. You can then revert to general updates if you don't want to receive the more frequent pre-releases in the future.

As Apple has retired iTunes in Catalina, the Mini Player is no longer available in Alfred 3 if you upgrade to Catalina.

The Best Community We Could Wish For!

Finally, we want to say thank you to everyone who's shared with us how they're using Alfred 4 since its release. It's been a thrill to see how you've integrated Alfred into your day to boost your own productivity.

There have been loads of improvements and additions to Alfred 4 so far (Take a look at the change log for the full details), and we have great plans for the future of Alfred 4. :)

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Table Flip Everything: A simple workflow to turn the world upside down

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