Alfred is a tool that allows easily and quickly launching of applications typing only the first letter or two as well as quick access functionality like a calculator, search files, or reveal a folder in the finder. Yosemite was released with similar functionality in its improved Spotlight UI. I tried to use Spotlight for a week (my standard testing duration) and found that there were small aspects that didn’t fit into my workflow and I wasn’t willing to see if there were any workarounds or hacks.
Quick calculation is something I use surprisingly often whether for programming, game development, or figuring out how much I’ll pay in a year for Netflix. I used to open a new tab (a browser is open 99% of the time) and type in the math to use Google’s search calc, but it’s one less step with Alfred.
⌘+SPACE type in “=sqrt(33+44)” and hit [ENTER] and “5” is copied into the clipboard ready to paste wherever I please, even back into Alfred.
Spotlight has improved a lot with the latest upgrade, but Alfred makes many actions I want to make with less hassle, even if just slightly. It thinks more like I do and that’s why I continue to install and use it. I’ve recently bought the power pack and am looking into further expanding the level of automation by combining both the new capabilities it offers along with integrating it with scripts I have written.
There are other similar utilities, and they may be more powerful, but for the main essential functions Alfred is my launcher de jour.
Alternatives I’ve used