Start Apps Without the Mouse – Mac Kung Fu, 2nd Edition

Tip 98Start Apps Without the Mouse

A quick way to start an app that you don’t have in the Dock is to hit Command+Space and begin typing its name. Command+Space activates the Spotlight search tool, and this will autocomplete the program name after just a few letters, selecting it automatically. All you need to do is hit Return to run the app. I often use this to start programs I already have in the Dock if I don’t want to take my hands off the keyboard.

You can open Launchpad instead of Spotlight and do the same thing—as soon as you open Launchpad, the cursor is placed in its search field where you can start to type the name of an app, before hitting Return to open it. However, Launchpad isn’t assigned a keyboard shortcut by default, unlike Spotlight.

If the app’s name consists of several words, such as QuickTime Player, in either Spotlight or Launchpad you simply type the initials: for QuickTime Player you could simply type qt, for example, while for Photo Booth you could type pb. This works because Spotlight spots that you’re typing the capital letters in the app name (qt for QuickTime, for example). Because of this, this trick won’t work for an app like Dropbox,[11] where the b for “box” is lowercase.