To always be ready Alfred can be launched at startup to be ready whenever the owner presses his/her chosen hotkey combination to show the Alfred search window.
Depending on the user and his/her choice of configuration Alfred can then do alot of things like :
Search your emails, bookmarks, urls and more.
Search your files for any file including music, photos, pdf documents or whatever.
Send a search to Google or many other search engines like Yahoo, Bing, eBay, Youtube, Flickr, Duck, Weather, IMDB and lots of others.
Do basic math like 2^8
Do a word lookup to check spelling or get word definition
Do various system commands like shutdown, restart or show trashcan etc.
Many of these features is free, some require purchase of the “powerpack” to enable them. Most important features is however free.
Once Alfred is installed and configured the rest is pretty simple.
When pressing the chosen hotkey combination (mine is ctrl space) Alfreds dialogue window will open.
In the dialogue window the user can write anything, if the first word is a known “command word” it will have a special meaning to Alfred and the result is accordingly. If its not a command word the text written will be analyzed and Alfred will attempt to solve it intelligently.
When writing the command word “find” Alfred knows the rest will be a filename, and start searching for it while we type.
Word WIKI will tell Alfred to search Wikipedia for whatever else we enter.
If we dont use a keyword Alfred will as we type try to narrow down the results by displaying applications and files matching what we write, and if we written a word like photoshop one of the first results will be the photoshop application, then any other document having that word within its document name.
Examples on usage :
To launch calculator quickly I press ctrl-space then enter cal which will return calculator and calendar in the list, if I add C to get calc it will only list calculator. If I then press enter calculator is launched (or I can press command 1)
The results Alfred lists will have hotkeys linked to them so its possible to press command 1 for first result on the list or command 5 for the fifth result in the list. How many results Alfred should return can be configured. One can also use arrow keys to navigate down the list then press enter to open the result, or just use the mouse if thats prefered.