Use LaunchBar To Browse And Open iCloud Documents

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One of iCloud’s biggest problems comes from its iOS origins: There’s no easy way to open, say, a TextEdit document in another app for viewing and editing. To do this, you need to either open the source app (TextEdit, in this case), use the iCloud document picker and then drag the file to the target app, or you need to go digging around inside your (hidden) Library folder to find the local copies of your iCloud documents.

The first is a real pain. The second is — as anyone who has ever dug around inside an iPhoto bundle will tell you — a really, really bad idea. Luckily, for LaunchBar users, the answer is (literally) a few taps away.

If you use the OG of keyboard launchers, LaunchBar, then there’s a third way. LB (and likely Alfred and Quicksilver) allows you to “arrow into” an document-based application and see a list of recent items. This is the exact same list as you’ll see in the File>Open Recent menu item, and its length is governed by the Recent Items preference in the System Preferences>General prefpane.

To do this, just type your usual shortcut for TextEdit, then tap the right-arrow. You’ll see a list of the last x items you opened, where x equals the number set in the preferencers noted above. These will include any iCloud items. To open one in another app, arrow down until you reach it in the list, then press “tab,” then type a shortcut for the target app.

The iCloud file launches in this app, and can be edited and resaved. This, for many people, will suddenly make iCloud useful, and it has the advantage of not breaking things ion the file system.

There’s even a bonus tip: LaunchBar’s list of files contains the file path after the name. If it’s in iCloud, the path is simply “iCloud.”

About the author

Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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