How QuicKeys is Better Than Launchbar and Quicksilver

Recently someone tweeted that “QuicKeys is not really a launcher, more a scripting/automation app,” than say Launchbar and Quicksilver. I’m not sure if the developers of QuicKeys responded to that tweet, but it is simply not true. In fact, I think QuicKeys is a better launcher than Lanchbar and Quicksilver and here’s why:

Launching Applications with Hot Keys
1. You mainly use Launchbar and Quicksilver as you would the Spotlight feature in Mac OS X, which means first activating the search field of one of the aforementioned applications, and then typing a few letters of the name of the application or a file you want to launch. With these launchers, you can also assign a hot key to an application to launch it.

While QuicKeys does not have a search field for launching applications, you can assign hot keys to applications like you can with other launchers. In QuicKeyss you can assign a hot key to any application, file, folder, or web page, just as you can do with the other launchers.


Hot keys are great for launching items, but QuicKeys goes further by automating the process which makes it faster and more efficient.

Automatic Launching
2. QuicKeys goes beyond the other launchers in that incorporates automation triggers that enable you to assign applications, files, folder, and web pages to be launched based on an assigned trigger. Here are a few examples:

Date & Time Launch
You can have QuicKeys launch and quit apps, files, folder, and web pages according to a specified days and time. So if there’s a few applications or web pages you work with every morning, you can have QuicKeys launch those items and automatically hide all the other open windows on your desktop so that you can get to work.

Similarly, you can have QuicKeys bring a specified application, Mail, to the front every two hours (or other repeated specified time), from say 8-6 p.m..


Application Triggers
You can also set up QuicKeys to launch a group of apps, files and folders using one hot key. Or better yet, you can use QuicKeys to launch a group of items (a file, website, folder) when a specified application is launched. You don’t need a hot key for this trigger.

The screen shot below shows a QuicKeys set up that does several things. Three seconds after the application MarsEdit is launched, it does the following: hides all other open windows on my desktop, switches to Safari and merges all open tabs into one Safari window, switches back to MarsEdit and creates a new document file so that I can get started working. All this is done in less than 10 seconds. See this short screencast for how it works:


Similarly, you can set up triggers in QuicKeys that when a specified application is closed or not the forefront app, it triggers the opening of another application, folder, file, or website.

These type of automations in QuicKeys make it far better than what Launchbar or Quicksilver can do. It may take a little time to set up triggers and automations in QuicKeys, but once you do so, your triggers become great time savers, relieving you of the hassle of doing repeated or redundant tasks on your computer.


3 comments on “How QuicKeys is Better Than Launchbar and Quicksilver

  1. I think its a question of personal taste (… and what you are willing to pay).
    The concept of LaunchBar fits me better, even though it doesn’t even support triggers. (Quicksilver does, LaunchBar not). I wouldn’t like to setup an action every time I do stuff a bit different.
    If I need automation I use Applescript or Automator. It integrates perfect with LaunchBar.

    • Oh I agree, it is a question of personal taste. But I’m not quite sure what you mean by setting up an action every time you want to do something a bit different.

      Also, I agree that AppleScript and Automator are similar to QuicKeys, but QuicKeys can do a lot more a lot more than the former two programs. Plus, QuicKeys can run AppleScript and Automator scripts and workflows.

      Anyway, thanks for your feedback.

  2. You can mix Launchbar with Quickeys as well to run Quickey shortcuts via Launchbar. The advantage to Launchbar is simply typing part of a name rather than remembering a shortcut key or having to go to a menu.

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