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If you’re an OS X user you’ll have most probably used Quicksilver or at least heard of it. Well a few months ago I kind of got sick of Quicksilver and wanted to try something new. I eventually stumbled upon Butler.

Butler is a really easy to use and powerful search tool for OS X. But the thing I really love about Butler is that it can do a lot more besides just searching. To find out what other features Butler has to offer, continue reading….

Using Butler

When you first load Butler the items in the menu bar are a monitor, a globe and a search bar.

Under the monitor are :

    Switch users – this will allow you to switch between other users on the Mac.
    Volumes – volumes displays all the hard drives and disk images open.
    Applications – applications shows all the current applications that are running as well as a sub menu to all the other applications on the Mac. It also has a sub menu to a list of Applescripts.
    System Preferences – this is a shortcut to your system preferences and saves you time by not having to open the actual system preferences windows.
    Documents – Documents shows you all the files under your Documents folder.
    Music – Music will give you a list of all your music and playlists (including smart playlists) that are in iTunes. It also shows the currently playing song and lets you rate it as well as pausing and skipping to the previous and next song.
    Pasteboard – this can come in extremely useful if you copy a lot of stuff. Pasteboard will keep the last 5 items that you copied such as images and text.
    Keystrokes sample – this is a sample of how to use keystrokes and will enter the text “Butler is crap Oops great”
    Butler – under Butler there are actions such as searching your computer, customizing Butler, searching the configuration, link to a help file, preferences, check for updates and quitting Butler.

Configuring Butler

Under the configure window in Butler you are able to configure the kinds of items that are in the menu bar as well as assigning hot keys, abbreviations, hot corners and events.

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Adding your own items is extremely easy and takes about 2 clicks.

First of all click the ‘+’ in the bottom left hand corner then choose from the type of item you want to add from : a container, file, site, separator, comment, smart item and a control.

For this example I’m going to create a smart item for iTunes so that when I type the abbreviation ‘songinfo’ or hit the hot key Option-Command-I then information for the currently song playing will appear.

To do this press ‘+’ -> iTunes -> iTunes:Information

Then enter the following text shown below.

Add A New Search Engine

To add a new search engine to Butler is also very easy. First press Engines then ‘+’ and then Search Engine (Command-N).

For this example of adding a search engine we’re going to be adding the Twitter search URL. Set the Prefix to ‘http://twitter.com/tw/search/users?q=’. Now you should be able to search Twitter from your menu bar.

Butler Preferences

Under preferences you can change a lot of settings to do with the Butler application. The categories are general, docklet, menus, abbreviations, pasteboard, editing, looks miscellany and updates.

Within the preferences you can choose if Butler launches when your computer starts, if Butler should display a splash screen, what folders should be included in search results, how often to update the cache, whether to display icons for containers, websites, Butler controls and smart controls as well as a lot more preferences to do with how many pasteboards to keep.

Overall I think Butler is very good and useful. It has replaced Quicksilver on my Mac but will it replace Quicksilver on your Mac? Let us know in the comments!

  1. Vectorpedia
    July 22, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    I've been a Mac user for 10 years and am going to use Butler application........it looks very interesting

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