Sorry I’m falling a little behind on Tips of the Day, it’s a busy week. To make up for it, this next tip will be a two-parter.

One of the most powerful tools for increasing your productivity on OS X is Quicksilver. ?On the surface Quicksilver appears to be a quick application launcher. ?Sure you can keep all your most-used applications and folders on your Dock, but that can lead to a very cluttered dock and otherwise you have to dig into your applications folder to launch an application. ?With Quicksilver, all of your applications are just a few keystrokes away. ?However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. ?With Quicksilver you can basically do any task on your Mac. ?This first part of our Quicksilver How-to guide will introduce you to the basics using Quicksilver.

Let’s start by downloading Quicksilver here: Just click on the Quicksilver tab. ?If you are running Leopard (OS X 10.5) or earlier, you should download the B54 version. ?If you are running Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6) then you should get the latest B56a7 version.

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Double click on the .tar file to uncompress it to your Downloads folder.

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If this is your first time installing Quicksilver, a setup window should appear. ?Just click continue to and follow the instructions.

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You will be presented with the option of installing plugins for different programs. ?This basically allows you to control other programs with Quicksilver. ?They won’t be covered in this guide, but I will discuss some of them in Part 2 of using Quicksilver. ?For now I recommend just installing the plugins for any programs you use frequently.

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Now you get the option of selecting a hot key for activating Quicksilver. ?By default it is ctrl-space. ?I use command-space (the default hotkey for spotlight) because it basically renders spotlight searching obsolete and it is easier to activate one-handed.

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Now Quicksilver is installed! ?Let’s get started. ?Press your hotkey (cmd-space for me) to activate summon the Quicksilver window. ?You will see two text boxes. ?The first is where you type in the program you want (The subject) and the second is where you type in the action (the default action is Open).

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I dont know about you, but it looks a little bland to me. ?Most people like to use the Bezel Theme as it is more aesthetically pleasing. ?I will be using it for the remainder of this tutorial. ?Just open the preferences window and under the Appearance tab on the left, change the “Command Interface” to Bezel.

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Now press your hotkey again to bring up Quicksilver. ?You will still have two boxes, but it is more aesthetically pleasing (In my opinion). ?It should look like this:

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Now start typing the name of any application you want to launch. ?I’m going to try and launch Firefox. ?Notice that I have only typed the first three letters, “Fir” and Firefox immediately pops up. ?This works automatically and will automatically guess what application you want to launch. ?Notice there are a list of other options that appear below.

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The box on the right will default to the “Open” action. ?So once your desired application appears, all you have to do is press enter to launch it.

You can also search for documents or folders and open them right away (basically making spotlight redundant).

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Now this is just the tip of the iceberg but it can shave a few seconds of digging through folders off each time you want to open a folder or application. ?And all of those seconds really add up once you get the hang of things.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2 of How to Use Quicksilver where I will be discussing plugins and perform various tasks using Quicksilver.