Sunday 7 December 2008

Boost Productivity by opening applications faster with Launchers

 image We all know that the start menu can be used to open an application or start a process. Even fewer of us know about using the run menu to start a program. But do you know about applications like Launchy or Enso that can change your life? If you’re using Windows (especially if you’re still using XP), then one of the things that should be on your computer right now is launchy. If you’re using a mac then try quicksilver or just plain ol’ spotlight. You can take a look at this wikipedia article that mentions a whole lot of other similar programs that do the same thing.

But, I guess you’re wondering, why use a program like this at all? Isn’t it just easier to find the program in the start menu? Good question. Lets look at a couple of factors here that will help you pick launchy or other similar things over the start menu.

Find and open things faster

First off, the thing you have to do with the start menu, or even on the dock, is find your application. If its not one of the most used applications then it’s probably not even in your quick launch bar or your dock. So you’ll have to spend atleast 5 seconds of your precious time, searching for the application you want. Then, you’ll have to wait for another 10 seconds for the application to open.

But wait, you know what the application is called, right? Why not just type in the first few characters of the application and press enter, and let another application open the application for you? That’s exactly want Launchy does.

Let’s say you want to open Microsoft Word. Now, assuming that you know how to spell ‘word’, all you have to do is press Alt+Spacebar, and type in Word. Launchy will automatically detect that you want to open Microsoft word, and it’ll show the word icon. Then, you just press enter to open the application you want. This even works for bookmarks, or even documents if you tell launchy that you want to index ‘.doc’ and ‘.ppt’ files and so on.

Clearly, Launchy helps you open your document or application in 1 second instead of 5 seconds.

Remove the Middle Man (or extra unnecessary steps)

Say you want to search for ‘beyond teck’ (yes, that’s the name of this blog, by the way) on Google. What you would naturally do is, Open Firefox > Click in the Firefox Search Bar > Type in ‘beyond teck’ > Press Enter and only then you’ll be presented with a screen with all the list of search results.

Wouldn’t it just be easier for you to open launchy > type in your search query and get a list of search results in a browser?


Of course, searching through launchers does take a bit of practice (and a bit of manual reading), but its super simple, and super fast. So why use the browser method when launchy (or other such launching applications) is better?

Plug-ins and expandability

Many application launchers are not just limited to doing the tasks they were initially built to do. There are several plug-ins out there that add more functionality to the original application and make it better and much more useful.

For example, with the runny plugin for launchy, you can create your own batch files (more about that later) and run it through launchy. But that’s just one example, there are several other plugins out there for various other launchers.


Its rather clear here that using an application launcher is going to improve your productivity and save you a lot of hair pulling.

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