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07 Apr

Have the cake and eat it too

Datum: 2010-04-07 10:24

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: www​.launchy​.net
and Quick­sil­ver (Mac) at: www​.black​tree​.com

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.