LaunchBar

Version: 5.4.1 || Release Date: 2013-01-16 || License: Shareware (€24) Developer: Objective Development Software GmbH | App Owner: pygmalion

open apps, files, URLs & more via abbreviation

LaunchBar is an award winning productivity utility that offers an amazingly intuitive and efficient way to search and access any kind of information stored on your computer or on the web. It provides instant access to your applications, documents, contacts and bookmarks, to your music library, to search engines and more, just by entering short abbreviations of the searched item's name.

You just hit Command-Space to bring LaunchBar's input window to front, enter an arbitrary abbreviation, and as soon as you start typing LaunchBar displays the best matching choices, ready to be opened immediately.

Start applications, open documents, invoke system services, compose emails or navigate the web - LaunchBar will be your essential servant.

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39 Opinions

I do use Launchbar since version 3. No Mac without this piece of software!
I wish it could work with menu commands of programms, too (in a way that Nisus Writer Express does: multiple character shortcuts, such as COM-SA for Save As or COM-VT for Paste Text (Only))

I'm another extremely happy LaunchBar user. This program's fast, great at predicting, and responsive. I hit control-space - I type - hit return - and I've opened a file before I'm really aware of what I'm doing.

I think; LaunchBar produces the result.

Brilliant.

I enjoy LaunchBar's features. The program controls iTunes; it lets me append text to files; perform calculations; search the Internet; slice deep into my bookmarks with a scalpel's precision. It finds files when I haven't even got any idea of their location. It learns abbreviations with startling ease. It does everything I ask it to - and most of the time, it moves so swiftly and smoothly that I don't even realize that it's there.

And of course, we have to compare LaunchBar to QuickSilver.

I don't think LaunchBar gets as much cred because it's not as cool. I see it as a quiet professional - it gets the job done efficiently, silently, and reliably.

About once every six months, I download the latest build of QuickSilver in the hopes that the latest build of QuickSilver has caught up in stability and perceived/actual performance. Then I try using QuickSilver for a while. It always ends the same way: eventually I start pounding on the desk in frustration, and then I have to go back to svelte lightning-fast LaunchBar in order to save the furniture.

What does QuickSilver give you? Modules and plugins, most of which are duplicated in LaunchBar. A choice of shiny interfaces - all of which are klunky. Spinning beachballs when you run simple searches. Crashes whenever you look at the program funny.

I timed a simple operation, moving a file from the desktop to a folder:

LaunchBar: 7 seconds

QuickSilver: 20 seconds

This is on a stripped-down QuickSilver installation, with a catalog trimmed to the point of inconvenience, using the "mini" inteface, with no visual effects.

Don't let yourself get seduced by shimmery glitz. Remember that while QuickSilver might look cool, in the end, mercury is just toxic waste.

In the end, I always come back to LaunchBar. The good things about LaunchBar aren't shiny, and they aren't obvious. This is highly-tuned code, well-tested, thoroughly debugged. It does exactly what I want, so fast that I don't have time to notice. And that's what I'm looking for in a launcher. Fast, smart, invisible.

Try out the LaunchBar demo. Spend a week with it, and let its seamless behavior slide into your way of working. Then try going without it. Totally worth the $20 for a license. It's probably the best $20 I've spent.

None of you mention Butler as an alternative, how come?

I will say one thing about Quicksilver. It's designed by a hacker who has an elegent aesthetic and knows how to write powerful apps with small footprints. It's good that's he working over Mr.LaunchBar because it's only going to get better for users of both.

Try Quicksilver and install the Mini interface plug-in and turn off "superfluos visual effects". Makes everything quicker with less large windows/bezels.

That and LaunchBar has the worst icon on Mac OS X.

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by
fte, 8 years ago (score: -1)

Can't live without LaunchBar. A Mac without LaunchBar is almost unusable for me. Really. Love it sooo much.

Launchbar is the first thing I install on any mac I am working on, and if I can't install it, I don't use that computer. For me, it simply is part of OS X, and a part I could not do without. The best shareware anything I have ever bought, hands down. Out of 5 stars, I have to give LB 6.

I could not use a Mac without Launchbar. Great program; not only is it a fantastic application launcher, but Launchbar aslo works as a drop in replacement for SpotLight, the default OS X app switcher, and most Finder functions.

I honestly tried to like QuickSilver, but I couldn't bring myself to abandon Launchbar for such a clumsy, slow, complicated behemoth. The one aspect that kept me with Launchbar above all others: speed.

I have been using LaunchBar almost since it has come out. It does exactly what I want it to do and it does it well. Like others I have evaluated Quicksilver and not found a good reason to switch. If I could only have one add on for my system, this would probably be it.

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