I’ve been using, recommending, and writing about LaunchBar for over a decade now (see “Tools We Use: LaunchBar,” 17 March 2003) so I’m delighted to share the news about our latest ebook, Kirk McElhearn’s “Take Control of LaunchBar.” Written with input from LaunchBar developers at Objective Development, “Take Control of LaunchBar” will help both LaunchBar newbies and those who have years of experience with the utility.
Just how much more LaunchBar enables me — or any Mac user — to accomplish became clear while working on the book with Kirk. Most LaunchBar users love how it streamlines launching and switching between apps: invoke LaunchBar, type a few characters, and your app opens — and LaunchBar learns from what you do so you don’t have to memorize convoluted abbreviations or keystrokes. That core feature explains why LaunchBar is a favorite of so many Mac experts. But if that’s all you do with LaunchBar, you’re missing out.
The key is understanding LaunchBar’s five superpowers: abbreviation search, browsing, sub-search, Send To, and Instant Send. Learn them and you can take control of nearly any activity on your Mac, all from the keyboard so you don’t have to break your train of thought or move your fingers off the keys.
What can you do with LaunchBar? The sky’s the limit. You can open documents from obscure locations or into non-default apps. Move, copy, or alias files and folders. Control iTunes. Pipe text around rapidly, from a document to a Web search, from a Web page to the clipboard, from your clipboard history to an email message, and more. Put your Mac to sleep, attach files to email messages, send tweets, find phone numbers, start iMessage conversations, send a selected address to Google Maps, look up words in Dictionary, invoke Terminal commands, insert text snippets into documents, connect with Automator, and far, far more.
Don’t feel bad if you didn’t realize all those things were possible — I, too, was shocked to discover how little I knew about the program as I started editing Kirk’s chapters. LaunchBar is deep and subtle, and because it gets out of your way so quickly, it’s easy to overlook all it can do. That’s where “Take Control of LaunchBar” is essential — it’s the first comprehensive coverage of LaunchBar’s extensive feature set, complete with oodles of examples to get you thinking about how LaunchBar can help with your specific tasks.
Finally, we’ve once again developed a comic with Snaggy and Nitrozac at Joy of Tech, who turned LaunchBar into an iconic superhero. With Kirk as the author instead of Joe Kissell, this comic couldn’t be a “Joe of Tech,” so we’re instead calling it “Joy of Take.”