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How to set up Alfred 5 for extreme productivity

·4 mins

Alfred is one of the must-have tools installed on any Mac that I use literally every few minutes. It has amazing features and functionality built in and it is extremely customizable. At first, you can use it to replace your default Spotlight (cmd + spacebar) – I’ve found its search to be really intuitive, easy, and fast. Some of the things I do with it are:

  • save and access clipboard history to easily paste things already copied
  • find and open applications
  • search for files on the laptop
    • open that file in finder
    • open the location of that file in terminal
  • Google search (which then opens a new tab in the browser)
  • quick calculations
  • tell Google Assistant to turn lights on / off
  • control playback of songs from YouTube music
  • find and directly navigate to issues / MRs in Gitlab
  • auto-complete canned text snippets (like email addresses, domain names, etc.)

The free version of Alfred is useful by itself, but its real power comes when you add custom workflows. A single license is ~$41 for life or ~$72 for lifetime upgrades – both are super reasonable.

Install and get started #

You can download it directly from the Alfred homepage or by using Homebrew: brew install --cask alfred

There is a great getting started guide already available on the Alfred website – feel free to check that out and then come back here for additional customization.

Configure it #

General #

Pre-requisite: Remove keyboard shortcut for Spotlight. If you followed my New Mac Setup post, it should already be done. If not, open System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Spotlight - UNCHECK Show Spotlight search

Starup: Launch Alfred at login - ON Alfred Hotkey: ⌘ + Space

Features #


  • Shortcuts: ALL ON

Web Search

  • For each search engine you use, change the keyword to something shorter. Here are mine:
    • google > g
    • images > gi
    • maps > gm
    • translate > gt
    • gmail (search) > gml
    • drive (search) > gd
    • wiki > w
    • amazon > a
    • linkedin > li
    • youtube > y

Clipboard History

  • History

    • Clipboard History: ALL ON
    • Viewer Keyword: cb
    • Clear Keyword: cls
  • Merging

    • Fast append selected text: ON


Automatically expand snippets by keyword: ON

Here you can add various text snippets which, when you type them, will be replaced with something else. I use these a lot to help speed up entering email addresses, or other text which I use a lot. Here are some of mine:

Name Keyword Snippet
cmd cmd
@@pwc @@pwc [email protected]
@@gcp @@gcp [email protected]
@@dude @@dude [email protected]
@@mail @@mail @@rio
[email protected] @@rim [email protected]

1Password Pre-requisites Download the 1Password CLI and link it to the 1Password app.

  • If you followed the New Mac Setup post, you should already have it.
  • If not install both 1Password and 1Password CLI with Homebrew: brew install --cask 1password 1password-cli
  • Validate install with op -v
  • Link the CLI to the app:
    • In the 1Password app (after logging in), go to All Accounts > Preferences:
      • Security > Unclock > Touch ID – TURN ON
      • Developer > Command-Line Interface (CLI) > Connect with 1Password CLI – TURN ON
    • Lock 1Password and unlock it

In Alfred

  • Add the 1Password 8 Integration Workflow.
  • Download it from github. In Alfred, open the Workflows section and drag the 1Password.alfredworkflow file into the dark purple area.
  • Click install
  • After install ⌘ + space > 1p > Sign in to update items
  • Unlock the Touch ID prompts

Now you should have two options to search 1Password entries: - ⌘ + shift + space, default 1Password quick access search - ⌘ + space > 1p > search entries

Workflows #

Search for and install workflows. There are some starter ones suggested by Alfred here. Most of the ones I have installed are from Packal.

For each: download, drag the .alfredworkflow file into the workflows section in Alfred and install it, and then configure / test it.

You can directly download all the workflows I have installed here.

Appearance #

  1. I normally use the Alfred Dark theme
  2. Options (at the bottom of the screen)
    1. How he looks:
      • Hide menu bar icon - ON
    2. Show Alfred on: active screen

Remote #

I don’t have an iOS device, so haven’t used this feature

Advanced #