Quicksilver Screencast: Abracadabra Gestures & Triggers


This week I’m covering the Abracadabra plugin for Quicksilver. It brings you the ability to create Triggers in Quicksilver, which can be activated by mouse gestures, rather than the stale, last century keystroke. Ok, so there’s nothing really wrong with Keystrokes, just sensationalizing…


So go ahead and check out the screencast. It should hold all the answers you’re in need of. If now, please leave questions in the comments below.

Quicksilver with Abracadabra Triggers Screencast
It’s about 4 minutes long and 19mb in size.

And when you’re through with the screencast, you may be interested in checking out this cool (read: nerdy) hack…which I of course have tried. Basically it details how to take a Gyro mouse and pair it with Quicksilver and Abracadabra to create a magic wand. Nerderific!



contrary to Nick’s suggestions, I have found this to be the most useful QS new plugin. By the way, you do NOT have to start on the dot to create a gesture. Just click ANYWHERE and drag, the plugin is smart enough to resize it to proper dimensions. Also, if you make something like an ‘L’ shape, the plugin is smart enough to realize that size doesn’t matter. you can gesture a tiny ‘L’ or a massive ‘L’ that spans the entire screen. It will perform the same action!

This plugin alone has speeded up my computer usage significantly. Some of my uses:
(I use Ctrl+gesture)
1. open Mail: Ctrl+drag down (everytime I hear ‘new mail’, I just drag down and see new mail)
2. open iCal: Ctrl+drag diagonally top right (quick way to check what’s on the menu)
3. Hide current app: ctrl+drag left
4. quit current app: ctrl+drag left, then down
5. some more example uses: open 3,4, as many apps/services as you want with 1 gesture: with the typical ‘comma trick’, stack many apps/files/services/whatever when making a new gesture trigger. This can be a huge time saver.
6. quick logout: Ctrl+drag diagonally bottom right

anyway, I’m obviously in love with this app and this new plugin caz my comp experience is so much richer now. Play with this plugin and know that if you are a visual learner, you can remember many more gestures than key-combos.

Hope these suggestions help some people. I can try to make a screencast of my usage just to persuade people if necessary :)


Adam Kayce : Monk at Work

Very nice; time will tell how much I remember to use it!

One easy way to remember triggers to launch apps is, like Austin was describing, to use the first letter of each app. So, my common ones:

C for Camino
T for Thunderbird
J for MacJournal
E for “empty trash”
a backslash for iTunes



Great screencast.

It is important to remember that where the big dot is in your options pane that’s where your mouse has to start and it has to go in that same direction.

For instance in Nick’s example he dragged the mouse from the upper right hand corner to the lower left. Dragging it from the lower left to the upper right will not have the same effect.

Just thought I’d point that out in case anyone was confused.


You mention in the screencast that you find it difficult to to remember and re-create the triggers with your mouse but have you tried doing this with laptop track pad?
Within the bounds of the trackpad you can quite easily do:

“a” for Adobe PS
“W” for MS Word
“X” for MS Excel
“e” for Entourage
“L” for local host

The possibilites here are endless; I may never venture into Finder again!!



is it possible to bind an action like closing a window (or command-w) to a gesture?



My Quicksilver is nice, but it is really, really buggy. More times than not, I hit the handy ctrl-space, and nothing happens because Quicksilver has quit. I know it is still in beta, but I was just wondering if it unexpectedly quits for everyone.


Ensure that ‘Enable advanced features’ is checked in the Quicksilver ‘Preferences’ panel.


It doesn’t appear in my list either, yet strangely it shows up when I search for it!



@Anil: Please check if “All Plugins” on the left is selected. Then “Abracadabra Triggers (b)” should appear on the right. Even simpler you can type “abra” in the search-field on the bottom.


It maybe a very naive silly question though…
In QuickSilver plugins window
i do not see any abracadabra option for me to check (at the same place as shown in video)

can someone tell me how to find it..
and thank you very much for the screenshot..
it is really magic!!!


I was wondering something about your desktop. How did you get you HD to look like that? also what is that robot looking icon on your top bar? Awesome vid, it helped me out a lot.


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