Web Search with Quicksilver: how-to

I’m always on the hunt for quick way to go from here to there. One thing I especially dislike is redundancy, repetition, extraneous steps, movements and keystrokes. That’s why I love Quicksilver. Every day I am able to tap the wonder app for more and more time saving tricks.

One aspect of my job in web design and theme design is having to look up web sites and online resources constantly. So here are a three tricks I’ve dug up, which was not easy since Quicksilver documentation is few and far between.

1. Select, Grab and Search

  • For this one you need to set a few obscure and not so well documented features.
    • First of you’ll need to activate the “Services Menu Module” in Quicksilver > Plug-ins > All Plug-ins > System. This allows for the “Search With Google – A service of Safari.app” action,
    • Next you need to add some extra function to Quicksilver by “Enabling advanced features”,
    • Another useful setting will be “Pull selection from front application instead of Finder” from Quicksilver > Preferences > Extras,
    • For Path Finder users, you’ll also need to enable the Path Finder module (Quicksilver > Plug-ins > All Plug-ins > Applications) and then make Path Finder you default file browser (Quicksilver > Preferences > Handlers > File System Browser > Path Finder).
    • relaunch Quicksilver.
  • Once you’ve managed this much, you only need to:
    • select any text from anywhere text is selectable,
    • invoke Quicksilver (^space for most),
    • press “⌘g”,
    • tab to the action panel,
    • type “sw” (which should result in “Search With Google” or will after one or two uses) and hit return.
  • You’re selected text now turns up as a google query in Safari.

Select and search

2. Select and search

  • To take the above idea one step farther (and this comes courtesy of one commenter on my last Quicksilver post), we can make a trigger that invokes Quicksilver, grabs the selection in the command window and tabs over to the action window all in one hot-key:
    • first you need to enable the “Command With Selection” trigger in Quicksilver > Triggers > Quicksilver,
    • select the trigger and tap the “i” button and the bottom of the window
    • edit the hot key and enter “⌘esc” (or a hot-key of your choice)
  • Now you can selecting anything selectable, tap “⌘esc” and immediately type “sw” to bring up “Search With Google” and press return and… well you know what happens.
  • Incidentally, this hot-key can be used to grab a selection to be modified in any manner; select an image, “⌘esc”, type “ow” (Open With), tab, type “pr” (Preview.app). Or select a URL, “⌘esc”, hit return to open that URL, and so on… here are some other examples.

3. Type and search

  • What if you could just type from anywhere and have Google look it up for you? Well here is a cool trigger for doing just that. If you haven’t done so already:
    • activate the Web Search Module (Quicksilver > Plug-ins > All Plug-ins > Web)
    • activate the “Web Searches (from docs.blacktree.com)” catalog (Quicksilver > Catalog > Modules)
    • Hit the refresh button at the bottom of that window
  • Create a web search trigger:
    • invoke Quicksilver and type “ws”, it should yield “Web Search” (if not, arrow over and down until you see it). The default service is “http://www.google.com/search?q=***” and this is the one you want,
    • tab to the action panel, it should default to “Search For…” but if not type “sf”,
    • tab to the target or 3rd panel and enter some text,
    • now tap “⌘'” to bring up Quicksilver > Triggers
    • click the “+” button at the bottom of the window
    • your command, action and target should already be propagated but there will be text in the target panel. Get rid of that text by selecting it and typing “⌘x”
    • click “save”
    • then select the “i” button near the bottom and edit the hot-key by entering “⌘2” (my personal preference because of the relationship to the @ symbol).
  • To use this trigger, simply tap “⌘2” from anywhere, in any app and Quicksilver will prompt you with a text field. Type your query in and press return. Safari will pop up and serve the google results for the term you just typed into Quicksilver.

type and search

I hope this little how-to was useful to you. Bookmark it, Digg it or do whatever it takes to keep track of this permalink because you never know when you’ll need it.

[tags]Quicksilver, mac, app, how-to, Quicksilver web search[/tags]