Today, we released Alfred 2.8, which includes improvements to a number of features, and groundwork to ensure a smooth transition to OS X 10.11 El Capitan.
You can grab the latest update from Alfred's Update preferences or by downloading it directly from alfredapp.com.
Window focus improvement and Compatibility mode added
In Alfred 2.7.2, we improved Alfred's focusing behaviour, but this caused issues for a small number of users where Alfred wouldn't appear as expected when using the set hotkey.
This release resolves this issue, and adds a further level of control over the window focusing behaviour. What does this mean? By default, Alfred will be a non-activating panel and operate much like Spotlight's window - that is, without taking focus away from the app underneath. Choosing Compatibility mode from the Appearance options makes Alfred operate like an app and take focus when shown. This is useful if you use keyboard remappers or Java apps, but otherwise shouldn't be a default option you need to change.
Preparing for El Capitan
This release also includes some more improvements ahead of OS X 10.11 El Capitan, which is expected to be released soon.
You can take a look at the change log for the full list of changes in 2.8.
In this series, we are taking a look at how some users have adopted Alfred in their workplace. They'll give us a glimpse of how they use Alfred, how they stay productive and what it's like working for some of the companies we know and love.
Today, the Director of Platform at Zendesk, Maxime Prades, shares with us how he automates everything with workflows.
Who are you? What keeps you busy with work and play?
My name is Maxime (@prades_maxime), I'm French, 27 years old and I'm the Director of Platform at Zendesk (@zendesk). I currently live in San Francisco.
How long have you been using Alfred?
I've been using Alfred for about 5 years now I believe, I use it everyday, and have been carrying over shortcuts and workflows for years.
What aspects of Alfred make your workday easier, smoother or more productive?
Alfred has become an integrated part of my daily workflow. I do basic things with Alfred like locking my screen, emptying the trash and restarting my computer. I do those things with Alfred so much that I would have to think for a second where the option natively lives in Mac OS X today.
Since workflows were added to the Alfred 2 Powerpack features about 2 years ago, I've started using it much more for more complex use cases. For instance, I built a few workflows around my job specifically, shortcuts to go directly to our CRM by typing someone's name or workflows to create tickets easily or even get the number of tickets I would have in a view or a queue.
The best thing about a tool like Alfred is the open platform, the fact that you can build your own private workflows super easily with basic coding knowledge, simple dynamic values are accessible to anyone without a CS degree and that's a game changer.
I built so many of my workflows, I asked friends to help build workflows when they got too complex and now every time something can be done with a few keystrokes, I immediately think of putting it into Alfred.
The thing that seals the deal for me to use Alfred is how easy and integrated it is, in a press of a key combination you can immediately get access to virtually unlimited amount of commands and queries, all without having to click somewhere. That saves a lot of click, which when your job is to sit in front of a screen all day is priceless.
Are there workflows you’ve created or imported that you’d suggest/recommend?
Alfred has tons of workflows public on the internet, my personal favorites are obviously the Zendesk workflow, the Audio Device by mikegrb, the GitHub Commands by Gregor Harlan and Should I watch this movie by Andrew Pepperrell.
What’s the first feature you show off when you introduce a friend or colleague to Alfred?
Typically, the Zendesk workflow if it's a colleague from Zendesk, but when it's a friend I'd go for the Google Translate, Evernote, Skype or Twitter workflows. Things that people can immediately see themselves using.
Are there other productivity tools that you find indispensable in your daily life you’d like to share?
Yes there are 2 tools that go everywhere with me on my Mac. First of all 1Password, the infamous password keeper; I have over 407 passwords and I know none of them. And secondly, CloudApp that I use more than a dozen times a day to share anything from screenshots to files.
Thank you for sharing your favourite workflows and productivity tips, Maxime!
We've popped a new pre-release out today to make a few improvements on last week's 2.7.2 release.
Improving reliability of non-activating window focus
This pre-release is primarily intended to improve reliability of the new non-activating window focus in Alfred introduced in 2.7.2, as a small number of users seemed to encounter an issue where Alfred wouldn't appear as expected when using the set hotkey.
As a side-effect of the window focus changes in 2.7.2, an even smaller number of users who use Java applications (e.g. IntelliJ) were encountering odd Java-related behaviour when trying to paste from Alfred's clipboard history - a Java caching issue which affects all OS X clipboard managers. To alleviate this, we've added a Compatibility mode, allowing Alfred to act like an app (as opposed to a non-activating panel) and take focus when in use.
This may also help if you use keyboard remapping tools, such as Karabiner. However, the Karabiner developer has already updated the latest beta to support the new activating style of Alfred 2.7.2.
You can choose Compatibility mode in Alfred's Appearance > Options preferences.
Should I update?
As most users are not affected by this, there's no need to update to the pre-release if your hotkeys are working normally.
You've probably already used Alfred to make a few quick calculations in the past, right? Alfred's calculator is conveniently easy to access; No need to rifle through drawers looking for that antique calculator!
The calculator is part of Alfred's free core features and is enabled by default, so just pop up the search box and start typing a few numbers. If you find that typing “2+2” in Alfred doesn’t give you an answer, check “Enable standard calculator” in Alfred’s Features > Calculator preferences.
Customising decimal and thousand separators
Depending on where you are in the world, you'll have a personal preference for how you like to see numbers displayed. Some countries use the dot as decimal separator, while others use the comma.
You can specify your own preference for the decimal separator, as well as the thousands separator in the preferences.
You can let OS X decide for you based on your locale (the country and language your Mac is set to use) or you can force the input and output to the specific decimal separator you want. If you find yourself copying inputs that use either comma or dot as decimal, you can even choose to accept both as inputs.
If the numbers you're copying into Alfred include currency symbols, Alfred will ignore them so you can paste directly from your spreadsheet or from the web without removing having to remove the dollar signs first!
Alfred's advanced calculator
Now, if you're the fancy type who needs to do more advanced calculations, you can enable Alfred's advanced calculator. Prefix your equation with the = sign to let Alfred know you want to use advanced functions.
You'll find a list of the functions you can use in Alfred's Calculator preferences or on the Calculator help page.
Using your answer
Once you've got the answer to your equation, you can do a few things with it:
- Press the Return key to paste the solution to the frontmost OS X window;
- Press Cmd + C to copy it to your clipboard;
- Use Cmd + L to show the solution in Large Type on your Mac's screen, making it visible from across the room;
- Use the = key to move the result up to Alfred's search box and start a new equation with it.
These simple tricks will help you solve maths problems faster than ever before!
It's a double-whammy release today; Alfred 2.7.2 and Alfred Remote 1.1 are both available for download! On your Mac, go to the Update tab in Alfred or download from alfredapp.com. For Remote, check for updates in the iTunes App Store.
What's new in Alfred?
First, in Alfred 2.7.2, we've significantly improved Alfred's focusing behaviour, where Alfred no longer takes the focus away from OS X to operate. What does this mean? It'll make Alfred feel smoother to use, especially on multi-screen setups where the focus occasionally went back to the wrong window.
We've also updated the iTerm integration and made loads of changes under the hood, which should ensure your Alfred experience continues to be pleasant as ever!
And what's new in Remote?
The confirmation for System Commands has been moved from the Mac (where previously, a box popped up for you to confirm the action) to a double-tap action on iOS. In this new version, on iOS, tapping an action that requires confirmation will show a "Tap to confirm" message under the action icon.
This release also includes iOS 9 support, fixes and improvements to the navigation experience, to give you the most straightforward setup possible.
Get more done with our new tutorials
Once you've updated, take a look at our newly revamped Guides and Tutorials section for tips on being more productive with Alfred, using Powerpack features and making the most of Remote.