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5 ways to launch Mac apps from the keyboard

Kirk McElhearn | Aug. 18, 2016
Your hands never have to leave the keyboard when you need to open an app.

From the Dock

You can navigate the Dock using the keyboard, and therefore launch any apps that are in the Dock. To do this, press Control-fn-F3. If the Dock is hidden, it slides out onto the screen. Use the arrow keys to navigate the dock, or type the first letter of the app you want to launch. Press return to launch the selected app. If you want to dismiss the Dock, press Esc.

Use a Launcher

If you really want to use the keyboard to launch apps and do much more, you should probably look into using a launcher app. There are several of these: Alfred, Butler, LaunchBar, and Quicksilver. This article discusses the different features of these launchers.

The advantage to using one of these utilities goes far beyond simply launching apps. You can control many of your Mac’s functions, navigate the file system, open, copy, move, and delete files, and much more.

With these five methods, you may find that launching apps is quicker and more efficient. You can use your keyboard more, and spend less time with your mouse or trackpad.


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