Alfred2One of my favorite productivity Mac apps, Alfred, released its biggest update since it was first launched to the public over a year ago. One of the major features you will find is the ability to create Workflows, which are sort of like Automator scripts where you can utilize keywords, hotkeys, and other actions to perform tasks like accessing your local weather forecast, toggling Wi-Fi on/off, and connecting to your favorites on Transmit. You can find loads of workflows created by users on the Alfred forum.

Workflows is a huge game changer for Alfred. Version 1 already allowed you endless ways to customize and mod Alfred to your liking. It reminds me of how Sublime Text 2 became so popular when developers started building useful plugins to extend the capabilities of the text editor. Some prescient user has even taken the initiative to create a Package Control-like workflow that allows you to update and install workflows you install that were created by various authors.

Migrate Alfred 1 custom searches and snippets

alfred migrate

Using this workflow, you can easily import your custom searches and snippets over to Alfred. [Source]

Once you can confirm that your data has been migrated over, it should be safe to delete your previous copy of Alfred.

Alfred can’t find files?

alfred indexing
This could be related to Spotlight needing to be reindexed. First, check that the search scope is set to look at the correct folders. This can be found in the Features tab under Default Results. Make sure “Include folders in Home” is checked, which should include your User folder.

Also, if you have your Applications installed in the root Applications folder instead of your User-defined version, you will have to add it to the search scope. To add it, simply click the plus button and navigate to the folder and select it to have it added.

Another thing you might want to check is whether or not you have Alfred searching for the right type of data. I didn’t realize it at first, but under Default Results in the Features tab, you need to have Folders, Archives, Images, Text Files, and Documents checked if you want Alfred to be able to search through say, your Documents folder. Weird quirk, but I always thought something like this would be turned on by default.

If this check doesn’t resolve the issue, you should then rebuild your index. Go to the Advanced tab and under Files/Apps, click on “Rebuild OSX Metadata.” Beware that indexing could take a while depending on the number of files you have.

Syncing Alfred settings across multiple machines

syncingAnother new feature in version 2 is the ability to sync your settings across multiple Mac computers. Listed under Advanced Settings, syncing lets you define a folder (ie, Dropbox) where Alfred will save its preferences file. It does not include certain things like your specified hotkey and search scope folders since that may be different per Mac.

I attempted to save the file in the Apps folder in Dropbox that is used by other Mac apps for syncing data, but Alfred actually doesn’t let you use that folder. According to developer, he recommends that you avoid placing the file into this folder. Pending any future change, I have moved the file to a Miscellaneous folder in my Dropbox. Also, allow Dropbox to fully sync your preferences file on your primary machine before setting the sync folder on your other Macs.

Go try out Alfred 2!

If you haven’t upgraded to the newest version, it will be worth the $22.62 (listed as 15 pounds). You will have to purchase a new license though assuming you did not purchase the Mega Supported license already or did not recently purchase a license for the previous version.

For those who are completely new to Alfred, I highly recommend trying it out. At least download the free version from their website and play with it. I use it at least 15-20 times a day for quickly launching apps, finding files, and performing tasks like viewing contact info and tracking the location of packages. Alfred has already replaced Spotlight on my Mac, and I think it can for you as well.

Download Alfred

  • Evan

    I didn’t customize Alfred 1 at all – didn’t buy the Powerpack, and even switched to Launchbar for a bit – but I got the Powerpack on day 1 with this version. There are so many good pre made ones out there, that its even fun to use. Good tip on the Default Results options- I didn’t catch that.

  • queen_ir3ne

    Does the Alfred preference file include workflows created? I hope they sync as well.

    • Tony Hue

      Appears to be the case. If you select your workflow from the Alfred Preferences and click “Show in Finder”, it will display a new “workflows” folder within the Alfred.alfredpreferences file.

      • queen_ir3ne

        Thanks! Got it 😀