Perform File Actions Easily from Alfred or Finder

When you find a file in Alfred or in Finder, it's easy to take action on it; Email it, copy it, reveal it in Finder, or even create your own custom action.

List of File Actions in Alfred

You'll need a Powerpack license to take advantage of the File Actions feature. Discover all the amazing things you can do with the Powerpack.

Showing the File Actions list

Accessing File Actions couldn't be easier:

  • Found your file in Alfred? Press the right arrow to reveal the File Actions panel
  • Selected a file in Finder? Use Cmd + Alt + \ to pop up File Actions

The File Actions panel will appear, where you can quickly choose the action you'd like to perform on your file or files. Hit Return and you're done!

Alfred will show the relevant actions, ensuring you only see actions that can be used on the file type(s) you've selected. You can see the full list of default actions in the preferences under Features > File Search > Actions.

File Action Preferences

Selecting multiple files

Need to take action on multiple files at once? No problem!

In Finder, simply select the files and use the Cmd + Alt + \ hotkey to see the actions relevant to those file types.

In Alfred, use the File Buffer feature to add files to your buffer with Alt + up arrow. Once you see all the files you need nestled at the top of your Alfred window, use Alt + right arrow to see the actions available for these files.

File Buffer

Creating custom actions

You may have noticed in the screenshot at the top that there are a few actions that aren't defaults; The two Evernote actions, in this case.

These are created using Alfred's incredibly flexible workflows, which give you a way to create actions specific to your needs. Custom file actions can be as simple as moving a file to a fixed location (e.g. your Dropbox folder) or can use a script to perform an action; saving the file to Evernote, in this example.

To do this, your workflow will need to include a File Action trigger object, which lets Alfred know that you want this action to be available in the list of File Actions for relevant file types.

As with every workflow object, you can learn about File Action Triggers on our help site.

Action Modifiers: Be Clever With Quick Alternative Actions

Have you ever noticed the subtle change in the subtext of a result in Alfred when you type a search term and press the Ctrl, Alt or Cmd key?

Action modifiers are tiny superpowers hidden in plain sight, so let's take a look at how you can use them.

Imagine that I want to search online for information about the GitHub code repository; I'll type "github" into Alfred... but the GitHub Desktop app that's installed on my Mac appears as a matching result.

A normal search for Github in Alfred

How can I quickly search the web for my keyword? Should I delete all characters and re-type it as "google github"?

There's no need; Hidden under the Ctrl modifier hotkey is quick access to my default search engine!

Subtext shows the default fallback option

Holding the Ctrl key shows "Search for 'github' with default fallback" as subtext, so I can press Enter to perform this alternative action on my result.

The action modifiers are:

  • Ctrl + Return to search with the default web search (Google, or any alternative you've set as your top Fallback Search)
  • Alt + Return to search with Spotlight
  • Cmd + Return to reveal the result in Finder, if it's a local result such as a file or app

You can change these in Alfred's Advanced Preferences, where you'll find a few more possible actions in the dropdown menus.

Setting the Action Modifiers in the preferences

Next time you start searching for a keyword that happens to match local files when you need to search the web, remember to hold Ctrl and press Return. Another convenient time saver! :)

It's Alfred's 7th Birthday!

Seven years ago, we released the very first build of Alfred - version 0.4 - while watching a Canada vs USA hockey game on TV, during the Vancouver Olympics. We watched with bated breath as friends, then strangers, shared the link far and wide, excited to discover Alfred. Before we knew it, we had our first 30,000 downloads!

Since 2010, Alfred has evolved so much, reaching millions of users, but has remained true to our original goal of being a slick, efficient productivity app to help you get more done on your Mac.

To mark Alfred's 7th birthday, we've set up a shop of Alfred-themed goodies; T-shirts, stickers, notebooks, phone cases, travel mugs and more, so that you can adorn your Mac (or yourself) with our iconic bowler hat!

Alfred goodies on RedBubble

Finally, we want to say thank you, whether you've been here since the first Alfred 0.4 beta or have recently joined in.

Want to celebrate with us? Take a moment to share your favourite Alfred tricks with friends or colleagues, and encourage them to grab the Powerpack to make the most of the fantastic Alfred 3 features.

We have an exciting year ahead, filled with amazing plans for Alfred; Be sure to stay in touch on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to hear about what we're up to!

Andrew & Vero

Alfred 3.3 Released: Access to Clipboard for Workflows and Snippets Added

There are some releases that are particularly fun to test during the pre-release, and this was one of them; We've added a few brilliant features that will make fans of snippets and workflows very happy!

Accessing Clipboard History items from Workflows and Snippets

A big addition to this release is the new {clipboard:x} placeholder, which you can use to obtain items from Alfred's clipboard history. Add {clipboard:0} for the latest item, {clipboard:1} for the previous item, and so on.

There are so many practical uses for this feature;

  • Create a snippet that dynamically includes the last three items you copied (e.g. an email address, a postal address and a URL)
  • Add recently copied items as variables in your workflow
  • Create a custom clipboard merge using the last two items you copied

Take a look at the new "Clipboard" workflow under the Getting Started built-in workflows to see the feature in action. We'll also be publishing a tutorial in the next few days to share a few of the ways we've already been using this feature.

You'll also find the date and time dynamic placeholders have been added to relevant utility and output workflow objects.

Dynamic placeholders example

Better control over 1Password vaults

In November, we added access to multiple 1Password vaults, including Family and Team vaults, as well as secure notes and other non-login items.

In this release, we give you better control so that you can choose which vaults you want to see in Alfred, and whether non-login items should be included.

More ways to access Alfred's Preferences

While the quickest way to access Alfred's preferences is to pop up Alfred and use the cmd + , (cmd + comma) universal macOS shortcut for preferences, we've added another mouse-based way to get to them.

Right-clicking the bowler hat in the search bar will now show a menu with quick access to the preferences, the Update tab and a Quit option.

Access preferences by right-clicking the bowler hat

See all the ways you can access Alfred's preferences.

And much more...

In a continued effort to make Alfred as efficient and lightweight as possible, we've taken this opportunity to redraw many of the remaining bitmap icons to vector.

Not only do the icons now look much more modern in workflows, actions and the iTunes Mini Player, it's also had the effect of further reducing the download size, to around 2.8MB!

We've added a ton more optimisation, improvements and updated some web searches, so take a look at the change log to see the full list of new features, improvements and fixes included in this release.

A Final Boost to Wrap Up The Year (With a Bow On Top!)

It's already 14th December! How is this month flying by so fast?

While you look forward to a chance to put your feet up and chill out, have you taken a look at the Alfred Christmas Calendar?

In the calendar, we've shared daily tips and tricks, like setting up custom searches for your most-used sites and using file filters to make your file searches super efficient. We've also published a few festive themes, a free collection of fun sound effects for you to use on your Mac, and featured some of our favourite workflows.

And, well... We may have also photoshopped the Queen of England.

Of course, you'll need to take a look at the calendar to see for yourself. We also look forward to seeing your own creative bowler hat artistry over the next few days! ;)

Latest Blog Post:

Alfred 3.6 Released: Improvements to Bookmarks, Snippets, Clipboard and more

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