In this blog post, I have jotted down some of my methodologies, tips & tools to stay productive.
Do remember that the following took several years to become part of my daily workflow. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t follow everything. Pick things that make sense to you and improve as you go along.
Finally, if you have any questions or doubts, feel free to ping me on my twitter. I’ll be happy to answer your questions.
- You should know these quick navigation shortcuts by heart!
- This will speed up your editing considerably!
- Practice them as much as you can.
- They work almost everywhere by default!
Must know shortcuts
|Jump to the start of the line||CTRL + A|
|Jump to the end of the line||CTRL + E|
|Jump forward by one word||ALT + ➡️|
|Jump backward by one word||ALT + ⬅️|
|Extend selection towards the left by a word||ALT + SHIFT + ⬅️|
|Extend selection towards the right by a word||ALT + SHIFT + ➡️|
|Delete a word before the cursor||ALT + DEL|
|Delete (Kill) till the end of the line from the cursor||CTRL + K|
|Select text till the end of the line||CTRL + SHIFT + E|
|Select text till the start of the line||CTRL + SHIFT + A|
|Select text from the cursor to the beginning of the paragraph||ALT + ⬆️|
|Select text from the cursor to the end of the paragraph||ALT + ⬇️|
|Move to the top of the document/page||CMD + ⬆️|
|Move to the Bottom of the document/page||CMD + ⬇️|
Tools of the trade
- Simply put, it’s my go-to application for searching, recalling, automation, etc.
- If you already use spotlight, think of it as a 10x better spotlight.
How to install?
- Go to their website.
- Download the latest setup file.
- Follow the instructions here.
- I highly recommend that you replace spotlight with Alfred instead. Check out this link on how to do that.
Should I buy the powerpack?
- Short answer - Yes.
- You only have to pay for it once. And it’s totally worth it!
- While Alfred is free to use, some additional features are paid.
- I highly recommend that you buy the powerpack and install it.
First of all, get familiar with the Alfred dashboard:
<alfred hotkey> => adobe xd
- You can search for files/folders on your computer.
<alfred hotkey> => type your query
Add any folders you’d like to additionally search for in
Features > Default Results > Search Scope
If you wish to search a word within files, prefix your query with
As you can see above, I’ve added
g as the keyword to limit my search scope to Google.
g <search query>
It’ll open a new tab no matter where you are with the correct search results page in your default browser.
Similarly, I can search for anything on the web. For example, I have added a custom search query to search google images
You can even set up your own custom searches. Check out this guide for more: https://www.alfredapp.com/help/features/web-search/custom-searches/
Define: find the meaning of the word
- If you press enter, it’ll show you the detailed meaning.
- Very useful to learn words on the fly
- Spell: Suggests correct spelling.
- If you press enter, it’ll paste the correct spelling if you are in an editor
Make sure you have enabled Chrome in the "Web bookmarks” search feature.
- Note the keyword (change it if you like). I’ve kept it as
bmin short for BookMarks
bm mayank zoom
- A very useful feature to search whatever you have copied.
- Very handy to keep your clipboard history around with you.
- There are two ways to access it, via hotkey or via keyword.
- I suggest you bind a hotkey that makes it very easy to access it as you’ll be accessing this very very often!
- You can even search for images that you have copied.
- Use it to store permanent information like your email address, phone number, passport number, some code snippets, etc. Basically, any text that you copy-paste often (Except passwords, don’t store passwords here)
- My keyword to search for snippets is
- Also, note I have checked the option to auto expand if the keyword matches.
- In above you can see I have created a snippet to convert
#hsemailto my helpshift email. So wherever I’ll type that, it’ll expand into my email. You can keep whatever keyword you wish.
I recommend you prefix them with a symbol and create hierarchies like
- That way you can either search for it or type them and it’ll expand accordingly. I use it to store almost everything!
- You can also create rich text snippets. So when you paste them it’ll paste with the format you have selected:
- You can also add dynamism to your snippets. Here’s an example:
- NOTE: If you press
CMD + Swhen you select a clipboard, you can save it as an Alfred Snippet.
- Very handy if you want to quickly convert your temporary clipboard into a permanent snippet.
- For more: https://www.alfredapp.com/help/features/snippets/
You can do quick calculations using the calculator.
- Start your calculator by pressing
- Note: If you press enter, it’ll copy the final calculation, then you can paste it as usual.
- If you want to carry over the calculation, end it with
- You can also enable the advanced calculator for more complex maths in Alfred's Features > Calculator preferences.
- The advanced calculator uses GCMathParser and can be used by prefixing your calculation with the equal sign
- You can perform the following calculations with it: sin, cos, tan, log, log2, ln, exp, abs, sqrt, asin, acos, atan, sinh, cosh, tanh, asinh, acosh, atanh, ceil, floor, round, trunc, rint, near, dtor, rtod
- For more: https://www.alfredapp.com/help/features/calculator/
- Run Various System Commands from anywhere. Useful available commands:
- Check Alfred > System > Settings for more options
- Note: This is a bit advanced feature. Skip if you are new to Alfred or not a developer. Come back later when you are comfortable with other tips on this page.
- Workflows allow you to add additional functionality that is not available out of the box.
- These workflows are written by community members and published for free.
You can search for new workflows here:
- Do note that some workflows may require you to understand the code. But in most cases it just works.
Strip Clipboard Formatting (Extremely useful):
- Download Link
- Use this to copy and paste any text you have copied from somewhere on the web that has formatting that you’d like to strip away easily.
- I highly recommend that you assign it to some hotkey as you’ll use this very very often!
Case Converter (Very useful):
- Use this to convert casing of either what’s in your clipboard or as you type:
Google Chrome History (Very useful):
- Allows you to search your chrome history.
- If you use Evernote, use this to search, create etc your evernote.
- Use this to shorten a URL on the fly:
Spotify Mini Player:
- Control your spotify from alfred itself.
Show Network Info (Like IP Address etc) (Useful for Devs):
- Get network info like private ip, public IP, gateway address etc.
String Operations (Useful for Devs):
- Do complex operations like string to hex etc on strings.
- Extremely useful for Dev/QA.
Unicode Symbol Search:
Search for Unicode symbols by their name:
If you’re anything like me, you like keyboard shortcuts. I like to set up custom shortcuts and macros to automate everything I can. The problem is that the most convenient keyboard combinations are already in use by the OS or by user applications.
That’s where the Hyper Key (also sometimes called a Super Key) comes in. Basically: Get rid of the useless caps-lock key and turn it into a new modifier key that isn’t used by anything else.
Step 1: Install the software
Head on over to Karabiner-Elements home page to download and install the version for your version of macOS.
Step 2: Remap caps-lock key
- Open Karabiner-Elements.
- Switch to the Complex Modifications tab.
- In the Rules section, click the Add rule button at the bottom left of the window.
- One of the default example rules is the one we want.
- Click Enable next to the example Change caps lock to… rule.
Test it out
At this point, whenever you hold your caps lock key, it’s the same as if you were pressing CMD+CTRL+OPTION+SHIFT.
You can test this out with the EventViewer. From your Menu Bar, click the Karabiner-Elements icon and select EventViewer.
- Use this to assign keyboard shortcuts to your custom workflows or Alfred features.
- For example, you can assign
hyper + cto clipboard history searcher.
- You can assign
hyper + ato strip clipboard formatting Alfred workflow.
- Since hyper will never conflict with anything else, you can use it to come up with your own keyboard shortcuts!
Reference Article: https://www.nadeau.tv/post/configure-hyper-key-osx/
Supercharged Browser Navigation
Basic Browser Shortcuts
(Just in case you are not aware of them already)
Ctrl+Tab=> Next Tab
Ctrl+Shift+Tab=> Previous Tab
Cmd+r=> Reload page
Cmd+w=> Close tab
Cmd+t=> New Tab
Moving to frequently used tabs
CMD + 1=> First Tab
CMD + 2=> Second tab and so on… (Works until 9)
- But beyond 4-5th tab it’s hard to use it easily
- Hence, pin your most frequently used tabs and keep them as first few.
- For example, I have pinned my Gmail account as the first pinned tab.
- Now I can always navigate to it by pressing
CMD + 1
Switch to the previous tab
- Install this extension - Alt + Q Switch Recent Active Tabs
- Go to chrome://extensions/shortcuts
- Set the custom keystroke to whatever you are comfortable with
- I personally use
CMD + D
- Now whenever you press
CMD + d, it’ll switch you back and forth between last tab.
- Very handy when you are working between tabs!
Search for your tabs
- Install this extension - Quick Tabs
CMD + E
- Lists all the open tabs in Chrome across all of your open windows
- Tabs are listed in most recently used (MRU) order and it excludes the current tab
- Add a space at the start or end of your search string to search bookmarks along with tabs
- Add two spaces at the start or end of your search string to search only bookmarks
- Add three spaces at the start or end of your search string to search browser history
Example Quick Back and Forth Navigation
- Let’s say I am working in some tab and I wanted to check my email.
- I’ll switch to Gmail by pressing
CMD + 1(as I have pinned it as my first tab)
- I saw some email which has a link where I need to reply. I clicked on it
- As it opened in a new tab and it is loading, I’ll switch back to my Gmail by pressing
CMD + Dagain.
- I’ll delete that email by pressing D (as I am done).
- Now I’ll jump back again to that new tab
CMD + D
- Once I finished my work, Closed the tab
CMD + W
- Finally, I’ll switch back to where I was at the start by
CMD + D
Open Tabs next to the current one
- Install this extension - Open Tabs Next to Current
- Very handy as you want to keep your newly opened tabs close the current one.
Saving Browser State
- Install this extension - One Tab
- It allows you to store and save browser history.
- You can even name your tabs.
Use it if your browser looks like this
- With this extension, you can do something like this:
Other Useful Chrome extensions
Use it to assign mouse gestures to actions. Example:
right click + up drag=> close tab
right click + down drag=> new tab
right click + up then down drag=> reload tab
right click + left drag=> go back in tab history
right click + up drag=> go forward in tab history
- Extremely useful for spell checks etc.
- Although it is paid, the free version is also good.
- The paid version is quite useful though!
- Use it to customize your new tab experience
- Download this from mac store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/magnet/id441258766?mt=12
- Use it to quickly resize your application windows either by dragging the window by mouse to left/right (split by half) or to the top (maximize)
- Or you can do it via keyword shortcuts as well.
- Download hazel from here: https://www.noodlesoft.com/
- Use it to automatically organize your files.
- I use it to keep my downloaded files sorted into various folders automatically at the end of the day.
Here’s an example rule to move any PDFs inside the download directory to PDFs folder at the end of the day
- Install the app here: https://todoist.com/
- I use it as my personal task tracker.
- It’s also extremely useful to track one-off tasks really quickly as it understands natural language
- The default shortcut to create a task is cmd + shift + a
- It also understands recurring tasks, specific days etc
- I use it as my personal board tracker.
- I use Todoist to capture random tasks to file them somewhere
- And notion boards to track all my work-related tasks
- This is a great companion to the Alfred app.
- Try this once you are comfortable with Alfred.
Kill till the start of the line
Type whatever is in the clipboard
- Extremely useful in typing stuff where websites don’t allow you to paste!
Other Keyboard Maestro Macros:
Other Useful Apps
- Website: https://cleanshot.com/
- Awesome app to take screenshots, gifs, videos, etc
- I have replaced the default image capture tool with this one as it’s quite feature-rich and really useful!
- The best part is, it’s a one-time purchase that includes upload to the cloud.
- Website: https://setapp.com/
- A subscription-based platform to try/use any amount of apps for a fixed cost
- If you are not sure of what apps to use etc, use this for a few months, try out various apps, and then buy them if you really like them.
- That way you don’t have to pay for every app before you like them.