Giveaway: Share your Alfred tips [updated with winners]

As you might know, about 3 months ago I started Alfred Tips tumblr which now houses over 50 tips and tricks, helping you make the most of the many, both free and Powerpack features that Alfred offers.

There are tips for beginners as well as advanced users, ranging from descriptions of how to launch multiple apps and files at the same time, tips showing the possibilities of custom search uses or even mini-tutorials explaining how to teach Alfred to behave just as you want him to.

Now it’s your turn!

What is your tip or trick for how to make the most of Alfred? Is there one thing that makes you incredibly productive? Is there a feature you can’t imagine not having anymore? Have you found a neat little way to do something that used to take you lots of time?

Share your own Alfred tip in the comments below for a chance to be one of the 5 randomly selected entries that will receive a gift pack of the lovely and gorgeous Field Notes notebooks. Or do it just for the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes once you’ve realised that your tip may be helping thousands of Alfred users.

Submission time has ended, thank you all for participating!

For a taste of what some of the best tips were, we particularly liked the following one by Molo One:

Turn Aiport on or off in four keystrokes (or less) using the new “silent” terminal mode [PP]:
1| Create two shortcuts : aion & aiof
2| Define aion as : networksetup -setairportpower on (for Leopard) / networksetup -setairportpower AirPort on (for Snow Leopard)
3| Define aiof as : networksetup -setairportpower off (for Leopard) / networksetup -setairportpower AirPort off (for Snow Leopard)
4| Check the “Silent” checkbox.

The 5 random winners of a Field Notes pack or beautiful Alfred schwag are:

Congratulations! We’ll be emailing you shortly with more information.

We’ll close the comments in 24 hours, so be quick! You have until 4pm UK time (11am EST/8am PST) on Tuesday 10th May to submit your tip. We’ll then post the names of the randomly selected winners as an update to this blog post.

I’ll be looking forward to reading your tips!

Anna (@annamanasova)

96 thoughts on “Giveaway: Share your Alfred tips [updated with winners]

  1. In the iTunes Mini Player, when a random album doesn’t suit, just keep hitting Command-7 until you get an album you really want to listen too!
    [Maybe I should have fewer albums in iTunes ;)]

  2. Make sure when using the Itunes player in the Power Pack, to reindex your library frequently by clicking the lightning bolt in the query bar. It only takes a second, and none of your podcast or music will get left out! :D

  3. I found one that I used a lot this past weekend.

    Quick Calculator: Launch Alfred > type numbers > type math operator > type more numbers > answer amazingly appears in the list.

    Alfred is my most used app by far. Thanks

  4. My favorite part of Alfred (other than the standard app launching) is the iTunes mini player…it allows me to quickly change my music without leaving the app I’m currently working in.

  5. Set the preference to launch at startup and hide the menubar icon. So minimal you’ll think it’s native.

  6. Turn Aiport on or off in four keystrokes (or less) using the new “silent” terminal mode [PP]:
    1| Create two shortcuts : aion & aiof
    2| Define aion as : networksetup -setairportpower on
    3| Define aiof as : networksetup -setairportpower off
    4| Check the “Silent” checkbox.

    Voilà !

    • Great tip but I think they should read:

      networksetup -setairportpower AirPort on
      networksetup -setairportpower AirPort off

      • My version is for Leopard. Maybe you’re running Snow Leopard ?

    • You could even make this one simple shortcut that takes a query. This would the be ‘networksetup -setairportpower {query}’ or ‘networksetup -setairportpower AirPort {query}’ with the keyword set to ‘ai’.

      You would then initiate by typing ‘ai on’ or ‘ai off’.

      • Sounds like “ai on” = turn artificial intelligence on. Imagine, your Mac suddenly becoming sentient… Scary thought ;)

        My twisted mind aside, this is a great tip!

  7. I absolutely love the new global hotkeys feature!
    I’ve written some AppleScript that allows me to press function keys to bring up a new terminal or new Chrome window, regardless of whether or not there’s already windows open. I have some more plans for taking advantage of window resizing to make my life even easier!
    Good stuff.

  8. The One in Which You Use Notational Velocity from Alfred

    If you use Notational Velocity (which you should, it’s an incredibly lightweight and fast note taker application that syncs online via Simplenote), then you can use custom searches to integrate Alfred with NV.

    To create a note: nv://make/?txt={query}
    To search your notes: nv://find/{query}

    Just choose your keywords (I use “nv” to search and “nnv” to create a new note), and notate with abandon.

  9. There is a couple of great features I use in Alfred a fair bit, along with the standard app and file search.

    Custom searches!
    They are amazing, you can use the query parameter for anything that takes a query. It doesn’t have to be a search for instance;

    Search URL: facetime://{query}
    Keyword: ft

    This will call the user following your keyword, so ‘ft‘ would call that user.

    There is also terminal commands.
    Great for setting up your terminal window from scratch. Make a nice alias to ssh into your server and call it from alfred to open a new window with your ssh command running.

    Hope these are good enough :)



  10. Searchable Clipboard history awesomeness, all from the keyboard.

    Set your Clipboard history settings to Persist for one month and set Max clip size to 5m characters (you do have the PowerPack, right? If not, you should get the powerpack just for this).

    Hit Option + Command + C to pull up the history, start typing letters to narrow down what you are looking for, and Enter to Paste. Woot!

  11. With the new preview, syncing ALfred between computers RULES. But to get it (right now) you have to live dangerously and be a beta tester!

    Big tip: If you’re going to use Alfred (and why would you not??), the Power Pack is totally worth the price of admission.

  12. Using Global Hotkeys to Show/Hide Application Windows.

    Create AppleScript:
    set front_app to (path to frontmost application as Unicode text)

    if front_app is not “Macintosh” then
    do shell script “open -a \”” & “” & “\””
    tell application “System Events”
    set visible of process “Mail” to false
    end tell
    end if

    Change the Application information to Application of your choosing.

    Bind AppleSript to Global Hotkey in Alfred Preferences.

    Global Hotkey for Applications that don’t natively support them :D :D

  13. Just accidentally discovered this morning through a happy accident that Alfred > bitly + URL launches bitly’s website with the shortened URL there for you to copy.

    Thanks Alfred!

  14. Moving around a lot in the office while your desktop is open to colleagues who want to change your desktop into Lolcats? Just type Lock and hit enter before you leave. :-)

  15. Use Alfred as a quick launcher for your favorite web sites:

    Create a custom search, but don’t include a {query}. Now you can easily access that web site by just typing that “search” keyword.

  16. Alfred’s Terminal shortcuts feature is fantastic. Power users who occasionally run killall commands (SystemUIServer, anyone?) may find it convenient to set up a shortcut with the keyword “killall” for the command “killall {query}” and set it to run silently.

    One of my favourite things about Terminal shortcuts is that they accept input just like normal Terminal commands. For example, “killall {Safari,iChat,Mail}” will kill Safari, iChat, and Mail.

  17. If your company uses Atlassian Jira for issue tracking and project management, you may find the following custom search useful. Choose your own keyword, I use ‘jira’.


    Recent versions of Jira use more “AJAX”-style searchString parameter, making searches relatively transparent to the user, so digging it out of the guts took some small effort (quite small, yet more than looking at an address bar). I am happy to share this and more with the Alfred community!

  18. You don’t have to include a query, so Alfred can just be used as a shortcut. When I want to see the weather map, I use the keyword wmap, which is defined as

  19. If you work at a firm or agency, you are probably working in a server environment. Going to certain locations on a server, or telling someone where files are located is a daily task – something I do over 50x a day.

    With Alfredapp, combined with another tool, going to recently used folders is a lot easier. First I copy the path to the folder using:, and anytime after that the path that I used is on Alfred app’s clipboard history. All i have to do is reselect the path I need from the history and paste into Alfred’s main window and i’m there!

  20. You can search the iTunes store with a custom search.

    Enter this in the URL field: itunes://{query}

    If you’re like me and you only use the iTunes store for apps, you can use this URL: itunes://{query}

  21. Clipboard Madness! The one I use the most is the Clipboard function to Copy multiple things in a row in one document and Paste them into another Application without switching back and forth.
    Setup a Viewer Hot Key in the Clipboard settings of Alfred. Then just go to a Document and Copy (using the regular Copy command – Command-C), now move to a different Document and recall your Viewer Hot Key! You will now see a list of the items you copied previously and can put them in the new Document.
    I also recommend Clipboard Snippets to easily recall and paste email addresses or frequently used phrases and signatures.

  22. If your using Spotify, you can search directly from Alfred.

    Search: spotify:search:{query}
    Search for title: spotify:search:title%3a{query}
    Search for artist: spotify:search:artist%3a{query}
    Search for album: spotify:search:album%3a{query}

  23. Here’s how to get any text automatically sent to your iPhone or iPad using Prowl:

    curl -s -k -F apikey=YOURAPIKEY -F application=Alfred -F description=”{query}”

    (make sure to put the command on ‘silent’ to make it even more seamless)

  24. Creat a script to delete everything on the downloads folder, soy you can call it with alfred and then empty trash with alfred also.

    This is the script:

    tell application “Finder”
    set allDownloads to every item of folder (path to downloads folder as text)
    move allDownloads to trash
    end tell

  25. As I am currently living away from home I use Skype a lot, and one of the features I use most is a combination of Address Book [Powerpack feature] and special query trickery.

    First, check off “Open Contacts in Alfred” in the “Address Book” section.

    I have setup the following Skype-queries in Custom Searches.
    call: skype:{query}?call
    chat: skype:{query}?chat
    sms: skype:{query}?sms

    Using Alfred I now search for the person I want to call/sms. By hitting Enter the contact info will open directly in Afred and I navigate to the phone number with the arrow keys. Hitting Enter one more time copies the phone number to my clipboard.
    I then open Alfred again, type in the appropriate keyword (“call”) and hit cmd+v to copy in the phone number. Hitting Enter brings up Skype and starts the call.

    This could be streamlined even more if Alfred allowed layering of commands. Say I had the phone number assigned as a snippet (lets use “tlf” for examples sake) the following command could do all of the above:

    call snip tlf

  26. Might be a bit dull compared to some, as it is only a custom search, but if you’re a student or academic, it’ll save you loads of time:

    Resolve DOI
    keyword: doi

    Select a DOI in a PDF or web page, cmd+c, launch Alfred, doi cmd+v, enter, bam – you’ve got the paper. Awesome!

  27. I’ve set up a dict://{query} custom search to look up *any* string in :)

    Alfred’s default “define” keyword won’t look up a word/phrase he doesn’t understand, but this will look up anything you ask it to.

    You can also search the Mac App Store with a macappstore://{query} custom shortcut.

    I’ve uploaded these shortcut URLs as plain text here:

  28. Hey guys

    (0.9 only!) I’ve written some scripts which will make your life easier:
    1. make a note in Evernote: “note This is an example; Title of the note”
    2. search Evernote: “evernote Search query”
    3. Call someone on skype: “skype +44127943545″ or “skype echo123″
    4. Connect to a configured VPN: “vpn configurationname”
    2 file actions:
    5. Copy a file into the Dropbox Public folder and make a new note in Evernote with the download link
    6. Attach the file to an Evernote note

    To get all these cool features download the zip file ( and copy the extension folder into your Alfred preferences and copy the Apple Script folder into your Documents folder.


    • keen to try these but unsure about destinations – have downloaded – now where to put?

      thanks heaps

  29. First of, great initiative, have already learned few new things by reading the comments here. Then two tips.

    The first tip a quite obvious but it is what I use Alfred second most for after launching applications. Opening those pesky folders that are hidden in /Documents/Work/Projects/Someproj which takes “ages” using the Finder. Now I just write “Somepr” and can instantly open it.

    The second tip is only possible with the pre-release, if you often connect to ssh servers it is quite usefull to use the new “Terminal / Shell” to create a command like “ssh” and assign it to some smart command keyword. That way you can have a instant shortcut to your most used server. And if you want the window to close automatically after the task is done add “&& exit” after the command.

    • Well, `$ssh` works for me by default, no need for a special command.

  30. So many favorite things about Alfred, here’s one of ’em:

    Create a silent Terminal command with this:
    touch /Users/YOURHOME/Desktop/unnamed.txt

    Name it ‘new’ or ‘newfile’ (or whatever you’d like). Run that from terminal and create new files with ease.

    I have a second command that uses a query so I can specify a file name:
    touch /Users/YOURHOME/Desktop/{query}

  31. Copy/Copy/Copy.

    Many times I receive an email or web page that has a bunch of interesting info I want to share with folks. Or…Someone emails me their contact info and I want to copy “portions” to paste into address book.

    I simply walk through the email and highlight a portion then COPY (via cmd-c), highlight address then COPY etc…

    In other words, I select/COPY little bits of info …

    Now all of these are “SEPARATE” entries in the Clipboard history. So I can paste the info individually anywhere I need to.

    I love ALFRED!

  32. I think my favourite new feature is probably the ability to run AppleScripts from a custom key press. Here are some that I have set up for my system:

    alt-shift-S – Show/Hide Skype
    tell application “System Events”
    if visible of process “Skype” is true then
    tell application “System Events”
    set visible of process “Skype” to false
    end tell
    tell application “System Events”
    set visible of process “Skype” to true
    end tell
    end if
    end tell

    alt-shit-H – Opens finder at my home folder:
    tell application “Finder”
    make new Finder window to home
    end tell

    They are very simple AppleScripts but infinitely useful for me everyday (Especially when Skype is running on all screens and I need to concentrate :P)

  33. My tip is about setting up the Alfred hotkey. Instead of having the standard command key and spacebar I use command double tap so that I just tap both command keys on both sides of the spacebar. This way I can use the Alfred hotkey with my hands ready to type instead of using the hotkey and moving my hands to type.

  34. I use alfred to replace almost everything…like the navigation bar in my browsers…as alfred has google as a fallback search (or some other custom web stuff) its quite easy to just use alfred and the browser tabs for navigation (saves space in the browser window ;-p)

    what i would like is alfred showing the adress when i select a certain tab in a browser and the standard last searched item when i got no browser selected ;-p

  35. This one is a little intense looking. Use alfred to search google for a specific filetype, sort, and restrict to find all sorts of things — music, in this example.

    alfredapp://customsearch/Search Google (music only) for/gm/ascii/url={query}%22+-htm+-html+-php+-asp&btnG=Search

    Remember to use your awesome powers for good. Don’t steal.

  36. I use Google Chrome as default browser. Alfred would use Safari shortcuts as default.
    I imported all my Google Chrome shortcuts into Safari. When typing a shortcut now, Alfred uses the shortcuts existing in Safari but IN Google Chrome. Now I can type Facebook (my safari shortcut) and it opens the Facebook page in Google Chrome.

    Very simple, yet it changed my life.

  37. Using Terminal shortcuts, you can instant message specific individuals through iChat from within Alfred. Create a shell script like this:

    #! /bin/sh

    exec osascript <<EOF
    tell application "iChat"
    set theMessage to "$*"
    tell service 1 to send theMessage to buddy "{INSERT SCREENNAME HERE}"
    end tell

    and save it somewhere safe—for example, ~/Documents/Scripts. (You may need to change the number of the service to match the account you're sending from—that is, if you're sending to an AIM contact and your AIM account is second in your iChat preferences, use 'service 2' instead of 'service 1'.) Then mark the script as executable and create an Alfred Terminal shortcut with the command '~/location/of/script {query}' and set it to run silently.

    For example, I could enter the screenname 'stevejobs' in the above script, save it as ~/Documents/Scripts/sj, and create a Terminal shortcut with the keyword 'sj' and the command '~/Documents/Scripts/sj {query}'. Then I could open Alfred and type 'sj "This is a test message."' to send a message to Steve Jobs. (The double quotes are important—without them, certain messages will never be sent.)

    You can set up a different copy of the script and Terminal shortcut for each person you regularly talk to; alternatively, if you don't mind a bit of extra typing every time and you have your buddies' screennames memorised, you can change the Applescript to:

    tell application "iChat"
    set theBuddy to "$1"
    set theMessage to "$2"
    tell service 1 to send theMessage to buddy theBuddy
    end tell

    and save it as 'im', then do 'im stevejobs "This is just a test message."'.

  38. You can use {query} in more than one place in a Terminal shortcut. One of the neat results of this is that you can create and open a new file in one fell swoop by creating a silent Terminal shortcut with the command:

    touch {query} && open {query}

    If you set the keyword to ‘new’, you can then do ‘new ~/Desktop/example.txt’ to create that file and open it in the default app for that kind of file. Be aware that most apps take offense when they try to open a totally empty file; you’ll get best results using only .txt and other plaintext extensions (like .md, .sh, and .css).

    • (Notably, you can use commands other than ‘open'; if you’re a big TextMate fan, you may want to go with ‘touch {query} && mate {query}’ instead.)

  39. I love the new terminal shortcuts in Alfred.

    I use Alfred for file navigation, but sometimes I want to start the navigation from a folder deep in the directory hierarchy : “/Library/Webserver/Documents/” (the location of my local development webserver).

    I created a terminal shortcut to make this easier.
    the keyword for the shortcut is “webserver” and the command is :

    printf “%s” “/Library/Webserver/Documents/” | pbcopy && open -a Alfred

    This will copy the path to the directory in the clipboard and open up the Alfred window again. I only have to use COMMAND-V to paste the path back in Alfred and i can start the file navigation.

  40. I made a .webloc file for a favorite website, hid it (by adding a dot in Terminal), and added it to the Global Hotkeys list. Now whenever I press the key combination, the site opens.

  41. for TM-users with CLI-tool installed (and Powerpack pre-release)

    >mate newfile.txt

    • Love it! By putting a terminal command with keyword “mate” and command :-

      mate {query}

      you can then just invoke Alfred and type

      mate myfile.txt

      to create a new text file in textmate, or use a file/directory path to open an existing file or directory

  42. Just don’t include {query} to keep something as bookmark.

    Also for our Steam gamers (so, Team Fortress 2, Left 4 Dead, Garry’s Mod, etc. -ers attention!):
    alfredapp://customsearch/Connect to Game Server/GameIP/ascii/url=steam://connect/
    You can replace Game Server with the server’s name, replace GameIP with a nice shortcut, and replace with the IP with a port (a common TF2 port is 27015).

  43. One of my favourite features is one of the simplest, using “eject” to eject removable drives and trashing disk images. I was actually searching for some kind of a solution when I found out that Alfred already did this and I hadn’t realized. Simple but I use it all the time.

  44. For Aquamacs users:

    keyword: em
    Command: emacsclient -n {query}

    Now, how do I get this to work as a file action??

    • Duh…
      Tick the box that says action…
      Also tick the silent box…
      Also when creating the shortcut tick the box that will escape the query.

  45. Alfred works even better if you assign the CAPS-LOCK-KEY to it. And there is a better way then described in the tumblr-Blog. The magic happens with PCKeyboardHack ( , with which you can assign the CapLock-Key to any other key’s keycode; e.g. keycode 111 (F12), which works great on my MacBookAir, since it’s not used anywhere else. You can find a keys keycode with many programmes, e.g. with “Key Codes” ( Then use your “new” key to invoke Alfred.

    The result: A own, independent key for Alfred which is not your normal control- or any other key. :)

  46. I use leave ( as a terminal/shell shortcut. So now, to set an alarm, all I have to do is press Caps Lock (my shortcut for Alfred) and then type “leave in 10″.

    To use Caps Lock as Alfred’s shortcut, I use KeyRemap4Macbook and PCKeyboardHack.

  47. Evernote integeration would be wonderful. (And I know new and great file handling is on the way)!

    • Scroll further up I posted a trick how you can it already

  48. If you want to create a file in the frontmost Finder window, read on!

    Make a new Terminal/Shell shortcut called ‘Touch’ with the keyword ‘touch’, then use this as the command:

    touch `osascript -e ‘tell application “Finder” to set theWindowPath to POSIX path of (target of window 1 as alias)’`{query}

    Then to use it:

    touch wood.txt


    • Oh! Remember to set it to silent so that the file is created automagically.

  49. Oh. This was supposed to be tips! – Sorry.

    Make a script to restart your computer into Windows. I need Bootcamp and sometimes forget to hold alt after restart. (still needs to enter admin rights – could anyone solve this?)

    do shell script “bless -mount /Volumes/BOOTCAMP/ -legacy -setBoot -nextonly” with administrator privileges
    do shell script “shutdown -r now” with administrator privileges

  50. Here’s a quick Terminal/Shell shortcut for opening a Terminal in your frontmost Finder window:

    The command:
    cd `osascript -e ‘tell application “Finder” to set theWindowPath to POSIX path of (target of window 1 as alias)’`

    I’ve called it ‘Open Terminal here’ and I used the shortcut ‘.’. It’s as quick as it is handy!

  51. If you set your top fallback search to DuckDuckGo (, you can use its ‘!Bang’ syntax directly in Alfred. Here are some examples:

    !rt wayne’s world (searches RottenTomatoes)
    !scholar foucault (searches Google Scholar)
    !vimeo alfredapp (searches Vimeo)

    See this page for a complete list: DuckDuckGo is great for all kinds of other information, too. Try some of these out:

    nutrition apple
    square root of 47484944494847
    population of India

  52. Need to visit a website that doesn’t work with your browser of choice? Or are you a web developer needing to see how Site X looks renders in one of testing browsers? Use this shell script so “Firefox” will launch in Firefox. Need a different browser? Just tweak the code!

  53. The file system is really great!
    Just simply type a “/” you can see the whole file system!!!

  54. 1. Add spotlight comment to any file (I use @ as prifix)
    2. Use ‘@ to open any file with just couple of keystrokes.

    Example: add @dld to ~/Downloads folder.
    Open it quickly with ‘@dld

  55. I personally use Alfred for displaying text about something I’m doing in a screen cast. I’ll turn of all the fallback searches before I record, that way I can explain what I’m doing easily.

    It’s not the main thing I use Alfred for, but it does come in handy and I doubt many other people use it this way.

  56. Do you want to control the volume via Alfred? This a way to do it via the new the new “silent” terminal mode:

    Add these shortcuts:
    1) mute -> osascript -e ‘set Volume 0′
    2) volume -> osascript -e ‘set Volume {query}’

    The volume does not need to be integers (for instance volume 3.5)

  57. What I did a long time ago and suggest to all users is to change the Alfred hotkey!
    First disable the Spotlight hotkey in your system preferences and then change Alfred’s hotkey to ⌘ Space !
    Best thing you could do, it’s more intuitive, you’re faster, feels more Mac like and should be that way!

  58. I use with quick cal cal “..” and entry… Very fast, very simple, without touchpad…

  59. If there was a scroll bar within the music play to scroll through playlists, that would be sooooo useful, songs too!…

    I’m not saying that you should get rid of the shortcuts for example Apple+2
    I’m saying that if you scroll, they have no shortcut but they can be clicked. That would make it so I never have to open iTunes to play music!

  60. With Alfred you can define your own custom searches, e.g. to have the data of your CMS right at your fingertips!

  61. Use commonly used text/code snippets via Alfred (PowerPack):

    Go to Alfred Preferences > Features > Clipboard. Then, go to Snippets, and add your snippet giving it a name, keyword, and enter the snippet. Make sure you have “Auto Paste on return” selected in the Advanced tab.

    Then, all you have to do is press your clipboard shortcut and type the name of the snippet.

  62. I’ve found the ability to do calculations in alfred, rather than dashboard a real time saver.

    I don’t use terminal a whole lot …but after reading this, I think I should investigate all of it’s uses!


  63. If you want to open, move or delete multiple files while browsing in Alfred, go to the first file and press comma, then move to the the next file … oh, wait, that doesn’t work yet.

  64. I agree with all the comments that Alfred works amazingly with Caps Lock. Rather than install another program, I just changed Caps Lock (under System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Keyboard -> Modifier Keys…) to be another Control button. Then I just set up Alfred to work with the Control key. I haven’t missed my “real” Caps Lock in months.

  65. My favorite, using the get lucky feature in tandem with searching in a domain on google to search the Adobe Flash Player API while doing flash development. Searching in the domain narrows the results, and more likely than not, if searching a particular term, the top page resulting will be exactly the document you want:{query}

    And some others:

    – For UI developers — create a hotkey for /Applications/Utilities/DigitalColor, which allows for color sampling on screen
    – For Evernote fans — create one for launching Evernote

    Other Custom Searches:
    – To search Diigo bookmarks:{query}
    – To search Pinboard bookmarks:{query}
    – To run a Yubnub command:{query}
    – Search your gmail:{query}

    I could go all day ;-)

  66. Thanks to everyone for posting their tips!

    We’ll now close the comments and announce the winners soon.

Comments are closed.