Launch Your Mac Apps In Three Keystrokes With Twitch

Justin Pot 14-07-2014

Launch any Mac app, website or document in just a couple of keystrokes – without waiting for search results. If you’re tired of overly complicated launching apps, free app Twitch might be what you’re looking for.


Launching things with a mouse is for suckers, just ask anyone who uses tools like Alfred, QuickSilver and LaunchBar, which Bakari recently reviewed Go Way Beyond Apple's Spotlight With LaunchBar 6 for Mac Spotlight and Alfred not cutting it? LaunchBar puts applications, web searches and a whole load of functions at your fingertips while you type. Read More . Heck, you can even ask loyal users of the Mac’s default search tool, Spotlight. Just like learning keyboard shortcuts is the only way to use your software at full speed, using keystrokes to launch apps and open files is simply faster than moving your mouse to an icon and clicking it.

Depending on your setup, apps like Alfred may take their time responding to search queries. If you wish you could launch your favourite apps in just a couple of keystrokes, check out Twitch (not related to the video game streaming service).

Launch 26 Things In Three Keystrokes

Twitch lets you assign apps, files and folders to letters of the alphabet. The downside: the app can only launch 26 things.


Twitch is brought up using a configurable keyboard shortcut, alt+spacebar by default. You’ll see a display that takes up the right portion of the screen, presenting you with letters, icons and file names. Items are launched by hitting the letter in question on your keyboard – that’s it. The results are usually instant.


You can configure which letters do what by clicking the gear at the bottom of the launcher.


Double-click any letter to add or change an assignment. To add an app, you need only browse to them with the resulting “Open” dialogue:



There are likely files you need to open constantly – for me, it’s a list of the articles I’m working on currently. Adding files to Twitch is the same as adding an app: browse and find the document you want, click Open.


The file will open using the default app assigned for the format on your Mac.

You can also launch websites with your default browser, though the Open dialogue won’t work for this. Instead, you can drag-and-drop a URL or bookmark from your browser of choice. And you can add apps, files and folders to Twitch the same way – just drag them to a letter from the finder.


A keyboard shortcut is the ideal way to launch Twitch, but there’s also a menubar icon if you prefer:


I’m not sure why you would, but hey, it’s there. There’s not a lot else to say about this app: it does what it sets out to do, and it’s completely free.

Download: Twitch (free)


How Do You Launch Apps?

Twitch, as I’ve said, is a very simple way to of launching apps. There are more complex tools out there, with a lot more flexibility. Alfred, for example, let’s you launch anything, and the many workflows you can add do just about anything 6 Amazing Alfred Workflows to Make You More Productive Now that users and developers are able to extend Alfred's capabilities by adding their own workflows, calling it an 'application launcher' seems a bit limiting. Read More . Once you get used to apps like these, it’s hard to go back to using your dock.

Still, I want to know: how do you launch apps on your Mac? Do you use an app like Twitch or Alfred? Or do you stick to the dock? Or do you open the Applications folder in your Mac and scroll to the desired program, like some kind of digital caveman? Let’s talk about this below.

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