How To Set Up Super Quick Web Searches In Alfred [OS X Tip]

Setting up quick search in Alfred

The latest update to Alfred adds a selection of smart new features, one of which is a new way of grabbing selected text from any Mac app and pushing it straight into one of your other Alfred actions – such as a web search, for example.

It’s a cool little feature but a little hard to find, so here’s how to set it up. You’ll need to have paid for the Alfred Powerpack to make it work.

In Alfred’s preferences, go to Hotkeys and click the little plus symbol at the bottom-right. In the list that appears, click General, then Show Alfred (as shown above).

Now you’ll be able to configure an alternative way of invoking the Alfred command window.

Fill out the details

At the top, you can choose a keyboard combo. I usually call up Alfred with Command+Space, so for this alternative I’ve set up Shift+Command+Space.

This grabs whatever text I’ve selected and puts it into Alfred. The other options below the key combo setting allow you to add a keyword in front – in my case, I’ve used the letter ‘l’, which is already set up inside Alfred as a shortcut to Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky”.

Result? I can select text anywhere, hit four keys in rapid succession, and see the top Google result. (Which, despite Google’s flaws in other areas, is still almost always the one I want.)

Got any useful Alfred tips or shortcuts of your own? Share them in the comments.

  • richard_fish

    Very handy! Many thanks for this.

  • richard_fish

    Very handy! Many thanks for this.

  • ddevito

    Alfred is awesome, I honestly don’t use spotlight anymore

  • Jon Levine

    You might want to make it clear in your article that this functionality is only available in the *pre-release* 1.1 version.  For us, less than bold, users who don’t update to beta releases, there is no new version available. 

About the author

Giles TurnbullGiles Turnbull is a freelance writer in England. He also writes for the Press Association and The Morning News. You can find out more at his website, and follow him on Twitter @gilest.

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