Take Control of LaunchBar
Take Control of LaunchBar


This book is no longer available for sale.

Take Control of LaunchBar

This book is 100% complete

Completed on 2014-09-24

About the Book

Learn how to use LaunchBar, from Objective Development, to carry out nearly any Mac task more efficiently. To help you develop a mental map of all that LaunchBar can do, author Kirk McElhearn explains LaunchBar in the context of its six superpowers — key LaunchBar techniques that no Mac user should be without. (Don’t miss how LaunchBar comes to the rescue of ordinary citizens in our “Joy of Take” comic!).

  • Abbreviation search. The primary way you select things in LaunchBar is by typing a few letters associated with the item you want to find. LaunchBar is smart (so the abbreviation doesn’t have to be obvious) and learns from what you type (in case it guessed wrong the first time).

  • Browsing. Sometimes you don’t know what you want until you see it. Abbreviation search won’t help there, but you can browse folders, recent documents for an app, clipboard history, snippets, tags, and more.

  • Sub-search. Too many results in a list to browse? Try a sub-search, which is an abbreviation search limited to a list of search results.

  • Send To. Want to open a PDF in PDFpen rather than Preview? Attach a document to a new email message? Tag a file? Skype a contact? You can send anything on LaunchBar’s bar to another application, folder, action, or service.

  • Instant Send. For those who want to save the most time, Instant Send is the fastest way to put a selected file or bit of text on the bar, ready to open in another app, move to a folder, send to a Google search, calculate a result, look up in Dictionary, and more.

  • Staging. New in LaunchBar 6.1, staging lets you select and work on multiple items at once in LaunchBar, even if they are not located in the same LaunchBar results list. Once selected, you could select a group of files and then move them all to a different folder, tag each one, or send them as email attachments.

Don’t worry about remembering all this — a one-page cheat sheet in the book will jog your memory until LaunchBar has worked its way into your fingertips.

Consider two examples:

Example 1: The most beloved LaunchBar function is to access apps quickly — especially apps that you don’t keep in the Dock. Just invoke LaunchBar (with a keyboard shortcut of your choosing), type a quick abbreviation — whatever seems natural to you — and press Return. (Or, take the express route with LaunchBar’s handy Instant Open.) For instance, LaunchBar finds iBooks in response to seeing the letters IB, and pressing Return opens iBooks. (LaunchBar doesn’t require predefined abbreviations; instead, it adapts to you!) This method of accessing an app uses the Abbreviation Search, superpower #1.

Example 2: Once you’ve become accustomed to the ease of accessing any app, you can start applying abbreviation search to other tasks and begin to unleash LaunchBar’s other superpowers. One example is to employ superpower #5, Instant Send, to add a book to iBooks: select an EPUB file (like Take Control of LaunchBar!) in the Finder, hold down the key you use to invoke LaunchBar for an extra second to select the file on the bar, type IB to select iBooks, and press Return to send the EPUB file to iBooks.

We could go on forever with our favorite examples: pasting the third item back from the clipboard history, moving a file into a deeply nested folder, creating calendar events and reminders, skipping to the next track in iTunes, running Terminal commands, looking up terms in Wikipedia, counting the characters in selected text, typing emoji, tweeting a quote from an article, finding your uncle’s phone number, and so on.

To learn how do all this, and more, read the ebook!

This ebook was created in collaboration with Objective Development, the company that makes LaunchBar. Deep thanks goes to Christian, Johannes, Manfred, and Norbert, who went the extra mile and helped us learn that LaunchBar does more than we’d imagined, despite years of daily use.

Some of our moments of LaunchBar zen:

“Now that I understand sub-searching, I can open ancient items from my Web history with just a few keystrokes!” –Tonya Engst

“It’s impossible to limit myself to a single moment of LaunchBar zen, but I’m now searching via custom TidBITS and Google Browse by Name search templates, opening specific Take Control ebooks from my Take Control Library folder with sub-searches, and using Instant Send to open plain text URLs from Google Docs in my Web browser.” –Adam Engst

“I periodically have to share screens with my old Snow Leopard iMac (to access my PowerPC copy of FileMaker). Today, instead of clicking the Snow Leopard iMac in a Finder window sidebar and clicking the Share Screen button, I invoked LaunchBar, typed SCRE, and saw the Screen Sharing app from the System’s CoreServices folder; hitting Return opened the app and connected me. Very convenient!” –Michael E. Cohen

“My favorite aspect of LaunchBar is anything related to Contacts. I like being able to find someone in LaunchBar and immediately start an email or send an iMessage.” –Lauri Reinhardt

About the Author

Kirk McElhearn
Kirk McElhearn

Kirk McElhearn is a freelance writer, specializing in Macs, iPods, iTunes, digital music, and more. In addition to having written or co-written a dozen books, he is a Senior Contributor to Macworld magazine and he contributes to several other Web sites and magazines. He reviews classical CDs for MusicWeb and audiobooks for Audiofile, and he is a translator from French to English.

Table of Contents

  • Read Me First
    • Updates and More
    • Basics
    • What’s New in Version 1.1
  • Introduction
  • LaunchBar Quick Start
  • What’s New in LaunchBar 6
  • Meet LaunchBar
    • Install LaunchBar
    • Launch LaunchBar
    • Invoke LaunchBar
    • Two Menus
    • Six Superpowers
    • 1,000 Things to Do
    • How Do You Use LaunchBar?
    • Tweak the Interface
    • Launch at Login
  • Work with Applications
    • Abbreviation Search
    • Browsing
    • Sub-search
    • Send To
    • Instant Send
    • Staging
    • Switching Applications
  • Browse and Search the Web
    • Open Web Sites
    • Access Bookmarks, History, and More
    • Search the Internet
  • Work with Text
    • Access Emoji
    • Browse and Search Text Files
    • Type Less with Snippets
    • Transform Text
  • Save Time with Clipboard History
    • Power Up Your Clipboard
    • Access Clipboard History
    • Append a Clipboard Item with ClipMerge
  • Work with Contacts, Calendars, and Reminders
    • Work with Contacts
    • Create Calendar Events
    • Work with Reminders
  • Calculate Quickly
    • Invoke the Calculator
    • Perform Calculations
    • Access Calculator History
  • Control iTunes
    • Browse Your iTunes Library
    • Control iTunes Playback
    • Quickly Search the iTunes Store
  • Do Amazing Things with Files and Folders
    • Select Files and Folders
    • Work with Files and Folders
    • Work with Tags
    • Use Terminal with LaunchBar
  • Master Actions, Services, and Workflows
    • First, Some Terminology
    • Use Actions
    • Use Services
    • Use LaunchBar-Automator Workflows
  • Customize LaunchBar
    • Set LaunchBar Preferences
    • Control the Index
    • Copy LaunchBar Settings to Another Mac
  • Cheat Sheet
  • About This Book
    • Ebook Extras
    • About the Author
    • About the Publisher
  • Copyright and Fine Print

About the Publisher

This book is published on Leanpub by Take Control Books

With its Take Control series of ebooks, alt concepts inc. covers a wide range of technology topics, with a special emphasis on Apple products and services. Our catalog comprises over 100 titles, and we’ve sold hundreds of thousands of ebooks in the process of providing expert advice and technical know-how to tens of thousands of readers around the world. Join us today!

The Leanpub 45-day 100% Happiness Guarantee

Within 45 days of purchase you can get a 100% refund on any Leanpub purchase, in two clicks.

See full terms...

Write and Publish on Leanpub

Authors, publishers and universities use Leanpub to publish amazing in-progress and completed books and courses, just like this one. You can use Leanpub to write, publish and sell your book or course as well! Leanpub is a powerful platform for serious authors, combining a simple, elegant writing and publishing workflow with a store focused on selling in-progress ebooks. Leanpub is a magical typewriter for authors: just write in plain text, and to publish your ebook, just click a button. It really is that easy.

Learn more about writing on Leanpub