Different Ways To Launch Apps On Your Mac

Learn many different ways you can launch apps on your Mac. You can use LaunchPad or access the apps right from the Applications folder. You can use the Dock, and create custom Stacks of apps in the Dock for access to even more apps. You can also use the Spotlight Menu or open documents to run apps. Some more obscure ways to launch apps include the Terminal window and using Speakable Items.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Different Ways To Launch Apps On Your Mac.

Hi this is Gary with MacMost.com. Let me show you different ways that you can launch apps on your Mac.

I'm using Mac OS 10.9. Let's look at different ways that you can launch apps. There are so many different ways.

One of the most common ways, of course, is to use Launch Pad which is exactly what Launch Pad is for. You can click on Launch Pad down here or use your keyboard shortcut. You can find that in System Preferences/Keyboard/Keyboard Shortcuts and see what you've got it set for.

Once you are inside of Launch Pad the easiest thing to do, besides just clicking on the app when you see it, is to search for it by starting to type. Once you see it in the search results you click on it and then it will launch the app.

All the apps found in Launch Pad are in your Applications folder. The quick way to get to your Applications folder is to go into the Finder and use Command/Shift/A. It will open right up. You can run an app by simply double clicking it in the Applications folder.

Of course you can also select the app in the Finder go to File and Open. That will do it as well.

Another way to run apps, of course, is to use the Dock down here. That is probably the most common way to do it. You can click on any app you want and it will run. If you want to add an app to the Dock all you need to do is drag and drop it from the Applications folder into the Dock. Let's close reminders there and I can add calculator just by doing that. Once it is in there I can click it to run it. I can also drag it out to remove it from the Dock.

It is also very useful to have the Applications folder on the right side of your Dock. I already have it here but I could easily add it by just going to the top level, drag the Applications folder into the Dock like that. So once you have it in there you can click it and you will see a list of all your different apps and you can find the app that you want to run and select it from this list.

You can also create aliases for applications. So for instance I can take the calculator app and instead of dragging it to the desktop, I don't want to drag it out of Applications, I can drag it and you can see it automatically creates an alias there. You can see the curved arrow. So I can do that also by holding down Command and Option for any file. I'm going to create an alias to it. You can see it has the little curved arrow there telling me that calculator is still where it is but now I have an alias to it on my desktop and I can double click that to run the app.

I could, in fact, create another folder. Let's create a folder in Documents here, in my Documents folder. I'll call that Apps. In Apps I'll move this calculator alias and I can also put other aliases to other apps that I use. So I will put a calendar alias there and also put an alias to Font Book. Now I have this handy set of app aliases that I can go into my Documents folder here, find that Apps folder, and put that on the right side of the Dock. Now I can use that to access some of my favorite apps without actually having to add them here into the Dock. I can change this here with Control click and set it to say come as a list and perhaps show as a folder here. Now I can access it this way.

My personal favorite way to choose apps is to use the Spotlight menu. It is the magnifying glass right up here. You can type whatever it is you want and it will find the app. I can start typing calculator and then I can click it and it will launch calculator.

But it is actually much easier to use the keyboard to do this and never have to touch the mouse or trackpad. I use Command and Space and it automatically launches the Spotlight menu. I just start typing the first few letters and when I see it appear as the top hit, I hit return and the app launches. So I launch any app from the keyboard with just a few key strokes.

You of course don't have to access the apps at all to run them. You can run them by opening up Documents. So, for instance, if I go into the Documents folder here and I select a file, say this is a Numbers file here. I double click on it and it will launch Numbers. I can also select File and Open and it will open Numbers. I can select Open With and it will find other apps that can possibly open to that file.

The same thing with holding the Control key or using your secondary click. You can do Open or Open With. If you hold down the Option key the Open With changes to Always Open With and the next selection you make will then become the default selection for that file.

Now you can actually add quick ways to launch apps in the Finder window. So here I am in the Applications folder and I can take calculator and I can drag it by holding the Command key down. I can actually insert it into the left sidebar. Now I have a way to launch calculator here from the left sidebar. I can simply remove it by dragging it out. I can also add it to the top toolbar by dragging it, holding the Command key down, and waiting. It takes a few seconds for it to appear and you will be able to then add it to the top toolbar in here. There we go and now I have an alias for doing that in there. If this was say TextEdit I could actually drag and drop files onto it to launch TextEdit with that file.

Here might be the most obscure way to launch apps. You can launch the Terminal app and type with your keyboard to launch something. So the command you want to use is Open and you want to open something from the Applications folder and you want to type the name. It will work to launch the app. An alternative way to do it is to do Open and then dash A and then the name of the app. That will work as well.

You can even speak to launch apps. So go into System Preferences under Accessibility. Turn on Speakable Items and check all the other settings as well. Then you can talk to your Mac. Launch Calculator.

Comments: 4 Responses to “Different Ways To Launch Apps On Your Mac”

    5 years ago

    I must not have my finder set up like you. I could not pull my applications folder to the dock. any suggestions.

      5 years ago

      Make sure you put it on the right side of the Dock.

    Ray Alston
    5 years ago

    Amazing… I never thought there could be so many. By the way, is there any way to put my previous version of Pages in the launchpad ?

      5 years ago

      Doesn’t look like the two can co-exist in LaunchPad for some reason. Good thing there are many ways to launch apps.

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