It's easy to search the web using Alfred, with web searches, custom searches, workflows and more. In this post, you'll find 5 ways to the information you want even more efficiently!
Open a URL
To open a URL in your browser, you can paste or type it into Alfred and press return. Alfred will recognise that it's a URL even if you forget to start with http://, and he'll launch the URL in your default browser.
Powerpack users can also choose to store their URL history, so that Alfred suggests possible URLs next time you start typing a previously used URL.
Take a look at your own URL history in the Features > Web Search > URL History preferences or take a look at the URL History feature page.
Create great custom searches
We've included a range of helpful web searches to Alfred, and you've no doubt created a few of your own custom searches. Why not take a look at your most-used ones and see how you can improve them?
For example, I use Google Translate to translate from and to many different languages, so using the keyword "translate" in Alfred results in Google taking its best guess at which language I'm pasting in, and which one I want it to translate to.
Instead of letting Google play Russian roulette, I've added a few custom searches that specify which languages I want Google to use. This particular custom search ensures that Google knows I'm entering a French word and I want the outcome to be in English. Predictable and simple!
Pick your own fallback searches
If you prefer using an alternative search engine to Google for fallback searches, you can modify your fallback search engines with the Powerpack. For example, many users like to use DuckDuckGo as their top fallback search.
You can set this up in Alfred's Default Results under the "Setup fallback results" button. Find out more about creating your own Fallback searches.
Skip local results, search online
Let's say you want to search for information about the 1Password app on the web, but it's installed on your Mac so when you type "1password" in Alfred, you're presented with the app as a local result. What's the quickest way to search the web instead?
Hold the Ctrl key and press return, which will search using your default web search. The subtext will change to let you know what the action modifier does; you can customise these action modifiers in Alfred's Advanced preferences.
Try out the Google Suggest workflow
Did you know that we include a few example workflows in Alfred to get you started? To add these, launch Alfred's Workflows preferences and click on the + button in the bottom left. You'll see a list that includes "Examples"; Choose any of these to add them to your list of workflows.
These examples also show you how you can create your own workflows, from simple keyword-based searches and file filters to advanced workflows with in-line results like Google Suggest.
You can also take a look at our favourite workflows for more ideas of what you can achieve with workflows.
Every day, members of the Alfred community create and share great workflows. Once in a while, a workflow will appear that's so perfect for my own daily habits that I jump with joy!
The TinyPNG workflow, created by prolific creator CarlosNZ has changed the way I prepare images for blog posts. Every post I write is accompanied by images, which are compressed via TinyPNG to be as lightweight as possible so that they load quickly, no matter the speed of your internet connection.
Instead of laboriously processing each image - which involves a lot of dragging and clicking - the workflow allows you to compress .png and .jpg images via the TinyPNG API with lightning quick efficiency and without lifting a finger off the keyboard.
The workflow simply adds a File Action to Alfred's File Navigation.
Find your image in Alfred, tap the right arrow and choose "Compress with TinyPNG" as a file action. The workflow does the rest like magic; It uses the API to compress the image and drops the finished version in a folder on your Desktop, ready to use!
Process multiple images at once
Using Alfred's File Buffer feature, you can process multiple images at once. Add them to your buffer using Alt + up arrow, then press Alt + right arrow to take action on all of them at once.
Download the workflow and get your own API key
After you download the workflow from Packal, we highly recommend getting your own API key from TinyPNG, as the API has a limit of 500 files per month.
Type "tinypng_getkey" to request your own API key. Once you get your key, type "tinypng_config" followed by your unique API key to save it into your workflow configuration.
A minute or two to set up, tons of hassle saved when working with images later!
Yesterday, Apple officially released El Capitan, the latest version of OS X. Before upgrading to a new OS, it's wise to back up as much of your data as possible, in case the unthinkable happens and you lose any data during the upgrade.
Powerpack users can use Alfred's syncing feature to back up their settings to Dropbox, or to any similar syncing service where your files are stored locally.
Syncing your settings keeps your carefully created preferences safe. Most importantly, it also allows you to stay in sync on more than one Mac; No need to re-download workflows, themes or re-write snippets, they're all conveniently synced between your Macs.
Setting up your first (or only) Mac
If you have more than one Mac, pick the Mac that has the most complete Alfred preferences you'd like to use.
You'll find the syncing settings in Alfred's Advanced preferences tab, in the bottom right.
Choose a folder in Dropbox and Alfred will copy your Alfred.alfredpreferences package to it.
Let Dropbox sync Alfred's settings online fully, then proceed with your OS X upgrade with the confidence that your Alfred preferences are safe.
Locating your preferences (after upgrade or on your second Mac)
Once you've installed the latest OS X upgrade to your Mac, re-install Dropbox and let it sync fully from online.
Once Dropbox is up to date, launch Alfred's preferences to the Advanced tab and select the same folder location you set on your first Mac, which lets Alfred know these are the settings you want to use. From this point onwards, changes to your preferences will be shared between your two Macs.
Customising the preferences that are not synced
A few settings deliberately aren't synced, allowing you to customise them on each Mac. This means you'll need to set up a few preferences, including:
- Your main Alfred hotkey and default search scope
- Currently selected theme
- Clipboard History enabled checkbox
- Custom home folder location for File System navigation
- 1Password enabled checkbox and keychain location
Don't forget to take a look at our support site for help setting your Alfred hotkey to Cmd + Space or for a more detailed guide to syncing your Alfred preferences.
If you've used Alfred's Clipboard History feature, you'll no doubt agree that this Powerpack feature quickly becomes an integral part of working efficiently at your Mac. (If you haven't used it yet, what are you waiting for?)
With Clipboard History, you can copy text to the clipboard, cut a few sentences while writing, and never worry that they've disappeared completely! In this post, we've got a few tips to help you use clipboard history to its fullest.
1. Search the Clipboard History
When you pop up the Clipboard History viewer, you can browse the latest 50 entries by using the arrow keys to navigate through the list.
Alternatively, you can search through all stored history. Alfred stores entries for as long as you've specified in the Clipboard preferences, next to "Persist for"; You can choose from 24 hours, 7 days, 1 month or 3 months from the last time the clip was used.
To search, type part of the text you copied to narrow down the search to only relevant ones.
2. Paste as plain text
One of the advantages of Alfred's clipboard is that the content you've copied is stored as plain text, so when pasting from Alfred's Clipboard History, it will always match the style and format in the location you're pasting to.
You can speed up pasting your latest entry as plain text even further by skipping the step where you pop up Alfred's Clipboard History viewer and using a hotkey instead.
To achieve this, launch Alfred's Workflows preferences and click the bottom left + button and choose Templates > Clipboard > "Paste as plain text from hotkey".
Set a hotkey you like - I find Cmd + Shift + V is a memorable one - and leave the argument to "OS X Clipboard contents".
You'll then have a superbly simple way to paste the current clipboard content as plain text with a hotkey, without showing Alfred's Clipboard History viewer!
3. Clear your history
You can clear your clipboard history by typing "clear" in Alfred's main search box and choosing whether you want to erase the last 5 minutes, 15 minutes or all of Alfred's history.
Alternatively, to clear a single clip manually, find it in the Clipboard viewer and press Function + Backspace to remove the item from your list.
4. Tell Alfred which apps to ignore
If you're using apps in which you copy sensitive information, such as passwords, you can tell Alfred to ignore any text copied in these applications. Open your Alfred preferences to Features > Clipboard and drag the apps into the "Ignore Apps" box.
By default, we include the built-in and most popular password applications.
If you need help getting started with Alfred's Clipboard History, as well as the Snippets feature which allows you to save text clips in a more permanent way, take a look at the Clipboard Feature support page.
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.