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Alfred 1.0 offers enhanced global hotkeys, URL handling, more

One of my favorite Mac utilities, Alfred, has been updated to version 1.0 with a long list of super new features. The biggies include greatly enhanced global hotkeys and my favorite, an option to remember URLs for quick use in the future. Note that the new features require the optional Powerpack. those of you who've put off buying it will like to know that it's still available at the discounted price of £12 (the 1.0 price of £15 hasn't kicked in as of this writing). Here's a look at Alfred 1.0.

Global Hotkeys

Global Hotkeys are keystrokes that can open a file, perform an action, etc. regardless of the frontmost application. They're an extremely handy way to access oft-used files or perform common functions. Alfred 1.0 offers a number of ways to use this powerful tool.

To get started, open Alfred's preferences and click the Hotkeys tab. There's a two-pane layout, with categories on the left and hotkey assignments on the right. The categories include apps and files, extensions, system commands, iTunes and finally paths and URLs. Click any category to create a new hotkey assignment.

There's really so much that can be done here that I'll explain just two common setups. First, I'll assign a hotkey to a folder. I've got a project folder buried deep in Dropbox that I dip into almost every day. So, I've used Alfred to create a hotkey combination to open it for me.

With the hotkey preference pane open, I first click the "+" symbol and select Apps and Files from the contextual menu. Then I'll simply browse to the folder and assign a keystroke. Since many are in use by the OS, I chose to double-tap the Command key. Now all I've got to do his quickly hit Command twice and my folder opens up in the Finder, no matter what else I'm doing. Awesome!

I've also assigned a hotkey to a favorite URL (see if you can guess which one). The process is the same: click the "+" symbol and then choose Paths and URLs. This time I chose a double-tap of the Shift key.

The other hotkey extension categories really open up the functionality. For instance, the extensions category will let you run a shell script, an AppleScript, a workflow or a file or group. You can also issue a number of system commands (like restart, shutdown, sleep and more) or control iTunes. It's an extremely useful feature.

URL History

Speaking of URLs, Alfred now supports URL history. This is something I loved when I used Quicksilver. Basically, you can have Alfred remember a URL by typing the whole address in Alfred's main window once and hitting Return. That's it! To view saved URLs, open the Features preference pane and then click the Features tab. Next, click URLs/History to see and edit the list. From then on, Alfred will recognize that destination and make it available in its main window with just a few keystrokes.

Those are just the main features. Other niceties include an improved payment system and an option to copy current search results with Command-C. You can get the full run-down here.

Alfred is one of the apps I immediately install on any Mac I'll use for a length of time. It's a huge time saver with a very devoted team behind it. I recommend Alfred highly. Those who have already purchased the Powerpack will receive an updated license in the mail. Otherwise, take advantage of the low price and buy it. You'll be glad you did.

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