7 Alfred Workflows For Developers, Designers, and Bloggers

Not just Batman, macOS users also need Alfred to increase efficiency

Anupam Chugh
Sep 10, 2020 · 6 min read
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Photo by Michael Marais on Unsplash

Alfred is one of the best productivity apps for macOS. It lets you reduce dependency on the trackpad thereby accelerating your speed.

By providing keywords and hotkey features for operations like file lookup, clipboard history, and web searches, Alfred surely knows how to boost user’s efficiency on a Mac.

However, Alfred is just a Spotlight on steroids unless you leverage workflows. Yes, workflows are the powerpack feature that pushes Alfred’s customizability by leaps and bounds.

At a very high level, workflows help reduce our dependency on the mouse and automate repetitive tasks. From a Spotify mini-player to Evernote and last password, workflows already find built-in integration with a range of macOS applications.

Even better, we can create our own custom workflow scripts or download them from Alfred Forums or Packal hub.

In the next few sections, we’ll walk through some of the Alfred Workflows that I’ve been using daily. You could be a developer, designer, blogger, or just a macOS power user, but the following workflows should surely find their ways into your workspaces.

1. Fast Diff

A file diff viewer is an indispensable utility for developers and writers. It helps them compare the version history of their code or drafts side-by-side. One would wish macOS introduces a built-in shortcut in Spotlight to quickly perform this someday.

Until then we have an amazing Fast Diff Alfred workflow that lets you visualize differences and optionally merge them across two files or folders in the Finder. Simply set a hotkey, select the first file, then the second, and finally press the hotkey again to open a window as shown below:

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Screengrab by author

2. Font Awesome Icons

Font Awesome is a popular open-source icon set and toolkit that lets you pick a universal icon across the web and mobile apps. It’s incredibly useful when you’d wish to dynamically change app icons from the server-side.

But looking up the exact name or fa code of each icon can be a time-consuming task.

Gladly, we have an awesome Alfred workflow. It integrates the complete font awesome icon set in your Alfred search. After adding the workflow, simply enter the keyword fa to look through the font awesome icons and copy their codes.

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Link

3. Searching Apple notes

Apple notes is a great mac application especially for those who own an iOS device. It helps you keep todo lists in sync. Writers love it for drawing their mind maps and keeping drafts.

But often, as your note-taking ability increases, it gets difficult to search through the Notes application. You’re forced to open the note application every time just to look up things as trivial as your password.

Thankfully, we have an Apple Note Alfred Workflow that lets us search note titles, body and copy them to the clipboard without the need to open the application. Typing n in the Alfred window triggers this workflow. Thereafter you can search the keyword or optionally create a new note if none exists.

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Download Link

Reminders app also comes with a similar Alfred workflow, but then Siri does the same with voice commands.

4. Find Synonyms and Antonyms

This one is for writers who’re fighting with repetition of words. Personally, I can very easily get bogged down and use the same set of phrases across articles.

Alfred again comes to our rescue with a superb workflow for looking up synonyms and antonyms. This is really handy for non-native English writers and developers looking to spice up the otherwise boring documentations.

The workflow pings an API to fetch the results. You can always create your own API key here and expand the set of results you’re looking for while setting this workflow.

There’s another workflow for finding synonyms, rhyming words, or searching for words that describe another word.

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Link

5. Search News And Developer Forums

Developers spend most of their time inside an IDE be it Xcode or Atom. Naturally, searching for solutions on Stackoverflow or GitHub hinders their speed due to the inevitable context switch.

While Stackoverflow can be quickly configured by leveraging Alfred web searches, StackExchange boasts of a bunch of sites. Surprisingly, we have a workflow to search through the different sites of StackExchange.

We can also connect workflows for looking up GitHub Repositories, HackerNews, and Reddit to stay up to speed with the latest trends. For logging into your GitHub just type gh > login in Alfred after installing the workflow and enter your credentials.

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Github HackerNews Reddit

6. Quick Time Recorder And Gif Converters

It’s very rare for a designer or blogger to not capture and share a single screenshot at work. Most of us are required to take numerous screengrabs and GIFs be it for technical articles or for sharing it with a client.

Though Quick Time Recording is smooth and macOS provides easy shortcuts for screengrabs but building GIFs out of videos always takes more than a few mouse clicks.

Once again, Alfred provides us two great workflows that can be used in combination. The first, QuickTime Recording lets you start a screen recording with three-letter keywords — qta for audio recording,qts for screen recording, and qtm for movie recording.

Once the recording is saved, you can trigger the second workflow, Giffy that generates a GIF out of the last recording and saves it into the desired output directory.

So with the help of these workflows, we can quickly take screengrab videos and convert them into GIFs without a single click.

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Link

7. Color Converters

If you’re a front-end developer, graphic designer, or an app developer by any means, I’m sure you’ve had headaches when selecting and converting colors across formats.

True, a lot of IDEs today support color pickers and converters yet when a web developer sends a CSS color, one wishes there’s a way to quickly cross-check the palette and get the converted code in your desired format.

Gladly, we have an Alfred Workflow named Colors just for that. It supports all CSS color formats such as Hex, RGB, HSL. You can also lookup colors by their name. Interestingly, for iOS developers, this workflow also lets you convert colors into NSColor and UIColor formats.

The default keywords to trigger this converter are rgb, hsl, c and #. Here’s a look at the workflow in action:

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Screengrab by author

Conclusion

If Alfred is the internet of your mac, Workflows are like websites. Without them, you can’t unleash the full potential and features of Alfred.

There are so many more workflows that you can try out such as Dash integration for documentation lookup, Figma for designers, Slack, Caffeine, etc.

I’d recommend you pick a few workflows that seem useful and get accustomed with them. Trying to include everything at once isn’t the best way to level up your productivity.

That’s it for this one. Thanks for reading.

Mac O’Clock

The best stories for Apple owners and enthusiasts

Anupam Chugh

Written by

Pouring thoughts in technology and code. Writer with over 2M views. An Android and iOS developer by the day. Sometimes funny. linktr.ee/anupamchugh

Mac O’Clock

The best stories for Apple owners and enthusiasts

Anupam Chugh

Written by

Pouring thoughts in technology and code. Writer with over 2M views. An Android and iOS developer by the day. Sometimes funny. linktr.ee/anupamchugh

Mac O’Clock

The best stories for Apple owners and enthusiasts

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