MacMost Now 758: Quickly Launch Apps With LaunchPad

In Mountain Lion you can now quickly search for apps by name in LaunchPad. This, in conjunction with the keyboard shortcut for LaunchPad, can make it quick and easy to launch apps. Organizing your apps in LaunchPad is limited, but the search function makes it irrelevant as you no longer have to look for apps by icon.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 758: Quickly Launch Apps With LaunchPad.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's look at using Launchpad to quickly launch apps in Mountain Lion.

So my preferred way to launch apps is to use the Spotlight menu which is this up here, which helps you search for things and you can just type the first few letters of an app and it will appear at the top hit which is selected, hit return and you've got the app running. A quick way to do that is to use the keyboard shortcut, Commmand space, then type a couple characters, hit return, and you can launch apps very quickly.

But you can do something very similar to this now in Mountain Lion using Launchpad. Let's quit all these apps and let me show you.

So with Launchpad you would click here and you would have page after page of yellow dots here representing each page. I can gesture through them all and see all the different apps that I've got. Now can you can organize things into folders for instance, and the folders allow you to create some organization. You can move things around as well. You can click and hold and you can drag here. Creating folders is as simply as just dragging one onto the other like that. So you've got a lot of options there with Launchpad. But it is very difficult to find what you want and get it going.

What's cool now is you've got a search field on top here and since it's the only way to enter text in Launchpad it is automatically selected. So you just need to type what it is you want and you see it very quickly narrows down the results and you even see the result selected so if I hit return it launches that app. So I can quickly launch different apps by typing the name. Even if I get more than one result I can use tab to exit the text field and use the arrow keys to go back and forth there and select the one I want and hit return.

So let's take this a step closer to the Spotlight menu by creating a keyboard shortcut for Launchpad. Now you probably already have one but what it is probably depends on the keyboard you have. So you want to go into System Preferences, Keyboard, Keyboard Shortcuts. Go to Launchpad and Dock and you've got "Show Launchpad" here and you can check to see what your shortcut is and of course you can also change it to something else that you want.

So I see here it is F7. So I can hit F7, type a few characters and hit return and you can see I can launch just as fast as by using the Spotlight menu.

The arrow keys are also handy if you don't type something in the search field. You can just right away use the arrow keys to move around inside of Launchpad and then you can also use the option key to go into rearrange mode and Command and arrow key will go through pages. So you can quickly find things without ever having to take your hands off the keyboard if you know where they are.

So the biggest problem with Launchpad, of course, is the inability to hide something so you can organize things better. For instance, if I go forward here I can see there is the Adobe Help Viewer apps. They only launch from inside the application. I don't need them in Launchpad. There is no way to get rid of it. But using search means I don't have to go into those back pages. I can put the apps used most often here on the front page perhaps and then hide all the other apps on all the subsequent pages. I'm going to use search to find and launch apps anyway so the clutter doesn't get in the way anymore.

So if you shrugged at the addition of Launchpad in Mountain Lion, maybe now with this new search feature you will give it a second look. It is at least as good as launching things in the Spotlight menu.

Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 10 Responses to “MacMost Now 758: Quickly Launch Apps With LaunchPad”

    7 years ago

    Nice tips. I use Alfred for this, which also has other nice features. But I’m wiling to try Lauchpad after seeing this video.

    Huu-Nghi Quach
    7 years ago

    Just to let you know that your website is incredible and really appreciated.

    Philip Lewis
    7 years ago

    Gary. I have learnt more about using my Apple products from you than any other source. Your videos are real useful. In fact my wife worries that I always seem to be watching them (untrue)!

    7 years ago

    When I type letters in Launchpad, nothing happens.

    7 years ago

    Yes 10.7.4

      7 years ago

      OS X 10.7.x is Lion. That’s what you have. OS X 10.8.x is Mountain Lion. This is a new feature of Mountain Lion.

    6 years ago

    Another easy way to access launchpad is to use the grab motion if you have purchased the touchpad on the imac, mac pro or mac mini, or you have the macbook pro. Then simply type what you need.

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