When I last wrote about Alfred (and how amazing it is)—10 Awesome Alfred Actions to Speed Up Your Day—the first item in my top 10 was:
Powerpack Alfred App – Powerpack. Yes, the free version of Alfred is great, more than half of my favorite things to do with it are core to the free version. The thing is that some of the most useful shortcuts come with the Powerpack.
Right, getting the Alfred Powerpack. Now beyond unlocking a ton of amazing new abilities (scripting, send commands to Terminal, extra actions) with the Powerpack you can install Alfred Extensions which takes all the cool things you can do with Alfred and dials it up to an 11.
Right now there are hundreds of extensions that you can get—Alfred Extensions & Scripts – Alfred Support—and more being added all the time. So with that kind of selection, where do you start?
So, here are my top 5 Alfred Extensions to start with:
- Create a Task in Things: My task manager of choice is Things, but yours might be OmniFocus or whatever. Regardless, having a action to quickly create a to do item just rocks. Oh, and if Things isn’t your thing, there are extensions for pretty much any to do manager.
- Note taking extensions (like Evernote): I’m a big Evernote fan and pretty much everything I save in Instapaper goes right into Evernote, but there are times you just need to create a note. These extensions let you add notes, search notes, and add tags to Evernote with a few keystrokes.
- Extension Updater for Alfred: This extension, well, the name says it all. Extensions in Alfred, like a lot of other plugin-type systems, get updated now and then. Maybe there was a bug, maybe a new feature is added, maybe a system update borked something. In any case this extension automatically checks for updates to your extensions and updates them.
- iTunes now playing: It might not be sexy, but it sure is useful! Yeah, yeah — you know — all the songs in your iTunes library. Well…I have so many operas, concertos, symphonies, and such that I can’t keep all the tracks straight, so I like to use to figure out what part of a longer piece is playing.
- Open AirDrop: A place I worked recently, we used AirDrop a lot to quickly move files around. Stuff like, “Hey, is that updated header ready?”. The thing was often we forgot to keep an AirDrop window open so the person could just drop the file. This fixes that. No switching to the Finder and opening…just tappity-tap and done.
Now that you’ve read my top 5 extensions, I have a confession. Most of the time—and believe me I use Alfred all the time—I don’t use the extra capabilities in the extensions. It’s like this post today—Why Complicated Productivity Tools Will Get You Stuck—don’t sweat if you’re getting everything out of an app if you’re getting what you need out of an app. So, no, I don’t use a lot of Alfred extensions and I don’t use them very often. I have them installed, I like them, but most of the time I use the tools that come with the Powerpack.
That, I think, really says the most about an app, doesn’t it? You can adapt it to what you need and only what you need and still have it be an essential part of your workflow.