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07 Apr

Have the cake and eat it too

Date: 2010-04-07 10:24 Comments: 0 st

I do not want these structural tips to be about specific software, but about smart working methods and attitudes regardless of which software you like to work with.

But, today I would like to make an exception and tell you about a little program that I enjoy immensely every day.

Everything at hand, but invisible

When I work at my computer, I want to have access to what I need as quickly as possible, preferably without having to find a particular program via the Windows Start-menu or find a document from my folder structure on the computer. At the same time I prefer that my computer desktop is virtually empty, so I don’t have to be distracted by extraneous information when I least need it.

So, I want to have both; access to everything all the time and yet everything out of sight.

Launchy” is a tiny little program that does the job for me (available for PC, the equivalent for Mac is called “Quicksilver”). It is a so-called open source software and thereby free of charge and also free from viruses, Trojans and other bad stuff.

When I work, it’s placed invisibly on the desktop backdrop, and if I for example would like to open a document in which I’ve made notes on a particular project, I push down the Alt-key and press the space bar. Then a simple, narrow, rectangular window pops up at the top of the screen, and in this window I’ll start to write down roughly what I think the document is called.

As soon as I’ve typed the first letter, Launchy begins to suggest different documents for me. The more I write, the more correct guesses the program will make, until it suggests just the document I am looking for. Then I press the Enter-key and the document is opened.

I must say I am amazed and impressed by how many times Launchy makes the right guess.

Point out what you want Launchy to monitor

Launchy has an index of what programs I have installed as well as the files I keep in the folders that I have asked it to keep track of. It may sound similar to the regular search function in Windows, but Launchy works a whole lot faster.

In no time

So, in most cases I’ll find and open the right documents in no time with the minimal amount of keystrokes.

The point of this is on the one hand that I gain time, but most important for me is the feeling of getting what I want really quickly, without having to click around from folder to folder, browse all programs on the Start-menu, or find the right shortcut amongst all those icons which would easily fill the computer desktop otherwise. Work on the computer runs much more smoothly compared to what it did before, when I had to click, scroll, scroll and click again through my entire computer.

Try it yourself

If you want to, download Launchy or Quicksilver and try it for yourself.

Launchy (PC) can be found at:
and Quicksilver (Mac) at:

What’s your trick?

How do you do to easily and quickly be able to open the documents and programs you want access to?

Leave a comment below.

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