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5 Handy Tips to Browse Files in Alfred

I rarely use Finder anymore because all of the tasks is one query away. I save more time, I find my files faster. Here are some tips to improve the search experience in Alfred.

1. Enable Quick File Search

Alfred Quick File Search

Turning on this option lets you search files quickly by prefixing the search term with single apostrophe(') or spacebar. Since you can search all files or folders with this method, try to limit the default search results to Applications, Preferences, and Contacts. In other words, don’t clutter default search results. If you need to search for all files, use quick file search.

2. Action selected items in Finder

We select multiple files in Finder for a reason. We want to take action. You can copy, move, or delete the selected files. Perhaps you want to open the selected files with third-party apps, or maybe you want to share those files your your colleagues. All of those tasks can be done with Alfred.

Select some files and press Option-Command-Backslash (\) to show all the available actions.

Alfred Action List

I usually use it to open selected files with differet app. For example, HTML by default are opened in browser, but I can use action to open them in Sublime Text 2 without going through the secondary click routine. The ability to open selected files in Terminal or copy the file path are definitely useful for developers.

3. Browse folders within Alfred

I rarely use Finder to navigate through folders these days. Alfred has a built-in file browser which is more intuitive. Start from home folder by typing ~ or system folder by typing / in search field. Use Command-Down Arrow (↓) to navigate in, or Command-Up Arrow (↑) to navigate out. You can also type in the name of folders to filter these files and press Enter to browse the folder.

Alfred File Browser

Simplify your browsing experience by creating a Custom Searches workflow that searches only for folders. Keep the keyword short, eg. f — my keywords are usually made up of single character. Search for the folder you want to open and press Command-Down Arrow (↓) to view all the files in Alfred.

Not only you can browse files in Alfred, you can also action selected files by pressing Tab from Alfred built-in file browser.

4. Browse last browsed path

Referring to the files or folders we’ve browsed before is easy. Type previous to browse the previous path in Alfred. If you prefer shortcut like me, instead of keyword, you can access the previous path with Command-Option-Slash (/).

5. QuickLook

Not many users know about this feature. While QuickLook in Mavericks has suffered a degradation — with all the crashes whenever I quick switch between photos — it’s still useful to take a quick look inside the files. Especially with Alfred’s built-in file browser, you can easily preview the file you’re looking for without creating a new Finder window.

Alfred QuickLook

Search for the files like usual and press Shift to activate QuickLook. You can change the shortcut, but Alfred decided that Shift key is the most comfortable location for us who love to navigate with keyboards.