Application launchers have been around for some time now. As the number of applications grew and we collected more and more specialized programs it became tiresome to wander through a long list to find the application we wanted. On the Mac side of the world, Quicksilver was one of the earlier and more powerful launchers.
Currently the two main Mac application launchers are Alfred and Launchbar. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. I have used both for a while and have decided I prefer Launchbar. With the release of version 6, Launchbar has gained many new features and stability. On the Windows side of the world the two most cited launchers are Launchy and Executor. I'm not sure if they can do what I am about to show you since I don't use Windows all that often anymore. If you are a Windows user and use one of these, please let us know in the comments if this is possible. Thanks!
Regular readers of Lightroom Secrets will know that I am a big advocate of using keyboard shortcuts wherever I can. It speeds up my workflow and cuts down on the tedious dance of keyboard to mouse to keyboard to mouse to… Now don't be fooled by the categorization of these utilities as Application Launchers. They do much much more.
In this example I want to show you a Launchbar feature called Instant Send. Instant send is a way to take selected items (files, folders, text, etc.) and hand them off to other applications. Lightroom is an application and Launchbar can hand files to it. Here's how…
Select the files you want to import into Lightroom.
Activate instant send with the keystrokes you've chosen in the Launchbar preferences. I use a double tap on my Control key. The Launchbar HUD (Heads Up Display) will appear and tell you how many items are ready to be sent. It will also show you a yellow icon with an arrow and vertical bar. This lets you know you are ready to choose the receiving application. To choose it press the Tab key.
Next type the abbreviation you use to launch Lightroom and it will be at the top of your list. Launchbar will learn what you use to launch Lightroom after a few times.
Once you press Enter, Lightroom will open and the Import Dialog will appear showing all of the images you selected, ready for import! If you only chose some of the images then only those will be checked. The remaining images in the folder will be unchecked. From here you make your usual Lightroom import choices and you are done!
If you have Lightroom set up to ask you which Catalog to open it will still do that and then continue on to the Import Dialog once you select a Catalog.
This is one example of using Launchbar to get images into Lightroom. I find it convenient when I have a few images files I need to throw into a Catalog and Lightroom isn't running. I could, of course, drag and drop them on the Lightroom icon in the dock but that would require me to leave the keyboard and go to my mouse and back to the keyboard and… well, you get the idea.
A single license for Launchbar costs $29.00 ($19.00 to upgrade from version 5). It is a free upgrade if you bought version 5 on or after March 24, 2014. If you think that is too expensive, don't despair. You can download and use Launchbar for FREE. After 30 days it will gently ask you to buy a license now and again but none of the features will be disabled! That's a sweet deal. But I do encourage you to buy a license since the developer needs to eat and we all would like to see version 7 and beyond.
Give this a try and see if it fits into your Lightroom workflow. It will save you time!