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Using Quicksilver

written by: coreymol•edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 6/13/2011

Here are some skill building exercises to get you used to using Quicksilver and to see what it can really do.

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    Using Quicksilver

    I have spent some time explaining to you how to install and set up Quicksilver (QS), and you may have started to play with it. You may be launching programs with it, but what else can you do with it? Why is this program so good? Why have I spent so much time going into detail and bragging about this program? Well first let me say that I am in no way affiliated with Blacktree or Quicksilver. I have only been using it for a few weeks, but have become very devoted and passionate about it. I feel that strongly about this little program.

    So to answer the other questions let's do a few exercises and play around with QS.

    Invoke QS. Type a few letters of a bookmark you visit a lot. Watch as you see an icon for it and its name appear. Hit return.

    Your browser opens up and takes you there. If you didn't see it come up to the top, and something else came up, wait a second or two, and a menu of search results will come up. Arrow down, page down, use your scroll wheel, or just type the proper name to find the one you want.

    Next, pick an application you're running. Invoke QS and type the first few letters of its name until it is selected. Press Tab, and start to type in an action such as, move to, mail, or open, or you can hit the down arrow, See the actions. Pick one.

    You will see a lot of different options that QS can do. Pretty neat huh? This is the basic functionality of QuickSilver - actions are available for everything that's been scanned.

    Now you should have an understanding of the two main functions of QS, the search and the action. All plugins will allow you to search a new data type (bookmarks, address books, iTunes music, etc) or add new actions (the compression plugin for example lets you zip nearly anything).

    A real cool feature is in the address book when you are in searching the entries - what can we do with them? There's a lot of similar data for some entries...

    Invoke QS and pick someone in your address book with a lot of data entered for them (address, phone, email, etc.). Select them. Now press the Right Arrow and you will then see a list of items that are listed for that contact.

    Now make sure iTunes is running. Invoke QS, and start to type "Browse" - an item called Browse Albums should come up. If you wait, more Browse options appear. Press right arrow. Now you can explore for an album, artist or what ever.

    Invoke QS, and hold forward slash (/) for about one second. You'll see your HD. A menu will pop open, if you keep holding the forward slash it will go to your application folder, again press your arrow keys and explore. For example if you arrow over into your application folder then down to address book, arrow again will start you down your list of contacts. Choose one and hit enter and it will open that contact in address book, if the selected contact has an email and you scroll to email and hit enter it will open up a new mail message. But you can also invoke QS and start to type in a contact's name, it will bring up the contact, arrow over and select the email. This method is faster then the one just described.

    It's kind of like Column View, but faster and easier. Hitting slash or right arrow will move you forward, left arrow or question mark will move you back. Hitting return opens the item selected, or apply any action you have chosen. If you don't want to go to the root of your hard drive, you can hold ~ or the ampersand after you invoke Quicksilver to jump to your home directory. Arrow over and you can explore again.

    So there are a few things QS can do, what do you think of it so far?