Blog Post

Quicksilver Screencast: In-n-Out

Got another screencast for ya’all this week. I wanted to take a step back from some of the more advanced features and tricks. Today I focus on something that doesn’t require special settings, plugins, or any interaction with the preferences screen whatsoever.


Loading items into Quicksilver focus is relatively trivial. Basically, select an item in the finder, invoke Quicksilver, and hit CMD-g to load it into Quicksilver focus. Now you can perform actions with that selected item. I’m gonna take this feature a bit further and show you some things that are so simple that they may not have been obvious before.

Go have yourself a watch and see what you think.
The screencast is 31mb:

EDIT: OK, here’s the quick and dirty for setting up the CMD-g trigger I mentioned in the screencast:

Basically, create a trigger (I use cmd-esc) that uses the Current Selection Proxy Object. (if you followed the setup video last week, you saw where I enabled the Proxy Objects in the Catalog, under Quicksilver). It doesn’t matter when the 2nd pane is set to in the trigger, because most likely you’ll choose something different when you use it.

You’ll need to make sure that in the Catalogs section of the Quicksilver Preferences, your QuicksilverProxy Objects is checked so that the “Current Selection” item is available:
proxy objects

Then go to the Triggers section and set up the trigger like this:

33 Responses to “Quicksilver Screencast: In-n-Out”

  1. I’m must be stupid but I can’t get triggers to work. I have a script I want to trigger with a shortcut. How do I assign the shortcut with a key combination? I can’t type anything in the Slide-out pane for the scripts trigger combination. I want Ctrl + Cmd + C but the only thing showing up in the Hot Key input field is Ctrl+Cmd whatever combination I try to type.
    Is there an option somewhere else in QS I have to check? Anybody knows?

  2. Thank you for the illustrative screencast. I am curious to know how you interacted with the files and folders using the mouse in Quicksilver. For me, when I try to move files into folders the way you demonstrated, they simply snap back into their original place on the screen. Forgive me if you’ve answered this elsewhere. Thanks for the help.

  3. Interesting… I went to set up the trigger (never having set one up before), and there were already two in the “Quicksilver” list, with their boxes unchecked. One was called “Command Window with Selection” and had the little blue box icon next to it that I’d just seen when I enabled Proxy Objects in the Catalog.

    I checked the box, opened the drawer, and set the hot key. Done. It works just like your Command-G trigger.

  4. One of the frustrating aspects of QuickSilver is that file actions barely work or don’t work at all in your home folder if FileVault is enabled.

    So, for example, I can do a command-g to select a file in my shared user folder and have it ready to be manipulated (copied, moved, etc.) but if I try and do the same thing on a file in my home folder (where all my important docs are (hence why they are encrypted!)) I get nada.

    For new users this can be quite perplexing and for older users it is quite frustrating to be tantalized by the possibilities but denied by the realities.

    I think a Screencast about the limitations and, possibly some workarounds, for we mobile warriors would be greatly appreciated.

  5. Howard Melman

    Jeff – yeah unfortunately the trick I described only works in Cocoa text widgets. Fortunately that’s many many apps, but unfortunately it’s not Firefox (or MS Office). It does work in Camino, as an example of Firefox with better Mac integration. It might well work in Firefox 3 but I’m not sure.

  6. i knew i wasn’t crazy! thanks.

    on the quicksilver topic, i’ve got a task that quicksilver seems perfectly suited for but i haven’t been able to figure out a way to do it:

    i’m listening to my iTunes library on shuffle and i hear a song that would be perfect for some playlist i’m slowly building. i don’t want to switch to iTunes to deal with it. i’d like to be able to invoke QS, get the current song, tab to next pane, select “add to playlist…”, tab to third pane and select my playlist.

    any ideas?

  7. aaron – Josh talked about the sweet wood grain icons here actually.

    ptc – I’m sure people are getting sick of hearing me talk about it, but I AM actually working on the metadata/tagging/Quicksilver posts here on TAB. It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve got a mini series that I’m putting together on the subject – amongst the write-ups is going to be a screencast that demos everything. So keep your eyes peeled, because believe it or not it’ll be here in the COMING WEEKS.

    Glad this has been helpful for everyone. Look for another Screencast later this week.

  8. I have been a _huge_ fan of quicksilver ever since ‘discovering’ it… I am amazed at how often quicksilver already does stuff that I had no idea it could do.

    I had been trying to make a trigger that would move any selected object to the applications folder. (for the same .dmg issue) I couldn’t ever get it to work – it turns out my ‘proxy’ objects were not turned on. Thanks to your posting I’ve now got a trigger (ctrl-cmd-A) that does a “Current Selection (Move To…) Applications” for me.

    Finally learning about the ‘proxy’ object option was just the info I had been needing!

    Thanks for the info! :)


  9. Hi,

    I’d love a movie about creating smart folders and filling them with tagged items. If you already covered this somewhere, could you please direct me to it? I read your coverage at Lifehacker “Metadata as a ‘filing system'” but still can’t figure it out. I’m looking for something more step-by-step.

    I’m very interested in smart folders for organization. I’ve attempted tagging with the app that begins with Q, but can’t make them appear in the folder.

    Any help?


  10. another aesthetic questions: where did you get the woodgrain harddisk icon? i think i saw it featured on a blog a while back but haven’t had any luck digging it up.

  11. Sorry, I was too busy gushing that I forgot to ask my question. I’m playing with the trick Howard mentioned where you can bring selected text into the command window and noticed it doesn’t seem to work in Firefox. Is this to be expected or am I missing something? (I got it to work in Mail)

  12. Niccce. It really burns me too when there is no alias to /Apps in those .dmg’s!! I just happened to have a .dmg on my desktop to try this out with. Worked perfect! Thanks for the tip. Me thinks I need to read through Howard’s manual some more too.

  13. Howard Melman

    Selecting text and using a trigger with the current selection proxy object and a Search For… action with a web search site (google, wikipedia, imdb, etc.) may be a good topic for a later screencast. It’s probably the most common thing I do with quicksilver.

  14. Howard Melman

    I like quicksilver because I don’t like using the mouse. For your last bit I use the opt-cmd-g trick. Select the demo folder; activate qs; bring up Applications; type opt-cmd-g; the command window changes to demo, move to…, Applications; just hit return. The cool thing is, if instead of a folder (Applications) you bring up an application (e.g, Safari or TextEdit), opt-cmd-g still works but instead of a move, it does an Open With…

    Also your cmd-esc trigger works not just on file selections in the finder (there’s actually a Finder Selection proxy object if you specifically want that regardless of what application is frontmost) but also on text selected in applications. It’s VERY useful.

  15. Ben –, free wallpapers, but you’ll have to sign up for a free account I believe.

    Grant – setting up the trigger should be in the post above now.
    To unmap the front row key combo (if you want to use the same cmd-esc that I use) then:
    system preferencesKeyboard & MouseKeyboard Shortcuts TAB
    At the bottom of the list of system wide keyboard short cuts, is the Front Row listing, just uncheck it there.

  16. Grant (divigation)

    Thanks for the screencast, insightful as always. How do you have the grab selection trigger mapped to Cmd-Esc, or I should ask how did you remove the Front Row trigger from Cmd-Esc?