Workflows
Find out more about the Alfred App Powerpack features

Workflows are one of the key features in Alfred v2; They provide a way for you to extend Alfred to perform the tasks you need more efficiently.

For example, with a workflow, you can launch a group of applications from a hotkey, create custom search filters for frequent searches or run scripts from a keyword.

This section of the site will help you understand how to create a workflow and what each object does. You'll also find example workflows you can download and either use as-is, or use as a starting point for your own workflows.

Whether you're just looking to add a few hotkeys or you're an advanced coder, workflows can be moulded to your needs to be as simple or complex as you want.

Skipping ahead?

Introductory topics:

Advanced topics:


Overview

Workflows are part of the Powerpack features available in Alfred.

You'll find the Workflows section in Alfred's preferences under the "Workflows" header. When you first navigate to this section, there are no active workflows in the left sidebar.

The left sidebar will contain a list of workflows you create or import, and the section on the right will contain the objects that form your workflow.

Adding your first workflow

You can get started by adding an example workflow. Click on the + at the bottom of the sidebar to reveal a menu with four options; Workflow defaults, examples, templates and blank workflow.

A great example to start with is the "Should I watch this movie" workflow.

Workflow example, Should I watch this movie

This workflow contains a keyword, which is connected to two default web searches and an "Open URL" action.

Each of the blocks is an object with its own settings. Double-clicking on each one will reveal the settings for it.

In this workflow, the keyword "movie" (on the left) followed by your search term will launch the three actions (on the right):

  • YouTube will launch in a Google Chrome window
  • IMDB will launch in your default browser
  • Rotten Tomatoes will also launch in your default browser

In a few seconds, you've launched the sites you need to find out if the movie you want to watch is a winner or a flop.

Tip: Need help understanding what a workflow object does? Click the question mark icon to be taken to the relevant support page.

Creating your own workflows

In Alfred's Workflows preferences, you'll see a + button at the bottom of the left sidebar. This is your starting point when creating a new workflow.

The fully functional Examples show you how different types of workflows work, from simple ones like "Should I watch this movie?" to advanced script-based workflows like the Amazon and Google Suggest which present you with in-line results.

The Templates provide you with a starting point on the workflow canvas. Templates pre-populate your workflow canvas, so that you can just fill in the gaps.

If you prefer starting with a Blank workflow, click on the + button in the top right of the workflow canvas to start choosing objects to add to your workflow.

Dictionary of workflow objects

In this section, you'll find a list of all workflow objects. Take a look at each object's page for further details on integrating them into your workflows.

Triggers

Triggers are used to activate Alfred from a hotkey, another Alfred feature or an external source.

The Hotkey is the most commonly used trigger. A combination of keypresses tells Alfred you want to perform an action.

The External Trigger makes it possible for Alfred to be triggered by another application or script using AppleScript.

The File Action allows you to add a custom action to Alfred's File Actions list, like uploading a file to a folder in Dropbox.

The Contact Action allows you to add a custom action which will be performed on a particular field in the Contacts Viewer, such as using a dialer app when you select a phone number.

The Fallback Search object allows you to replace the default fallback search options when Alfred can't find results to your Mac with your own actions.

Inputs

Inputs are keyword-based objects. A keyword will be used to perform an action, on its own or followed by a query. It's the easiest, most memorable way to control your workflow actions.

A Keyword is the most commonly used input type. It can be used alone or followed by a query, telling Alfred to perform an action or search for the query.

The File Filter object is immensely useful for searching for specific file types or in specific locations on your Mac.

The Script Filter allows you to populate Alfred with your own script results.

Actions

Actions are the objects that do most of the work in your workflows, from opening or revealing files and web searches to running scripts and performing commands.

Open File simply opens the file passed into it, either in the default application or the one you specify.

Use Reveal file in Finder in tandem with a File Filter object to reveal the selected file in Finder.

The Browse in Alfred object launches the selected file directory in Alfred's file navigation system

Launch Apps & Files allows you to quickly launch one or more apps at once (e.g. with a hotkey or keyword).

With a Default Web Search, launch Alfred's built-in web searches in your default browser or a specified one.

The Open URL object can be used to launch a URL, with or without a query, or one of your custom searches.

Select a System Command from Alfred's built-in commands (sleep, shutdown, restart, etc), with or without a confirm button to quickly control your Mac from a hotkey or keyword.

Use an iTunes Command to play/pause iTunes, change tracks, control the volume or rate songs.

The Run Script object runs a script in your preferred interpreter.

The Run NSAppleScript object is used to run AppleScript from Alfred.

The Terminal Command object takes the command you've inserted and runs it in Terminal.

Outputs

The outputs collect the information from the earlier objects in your workflow. These can pop up a Notification Centre message, show it in Large Type on your screen, copy the query to clipboard or run a script containing the result of your workflow.

Post Notification uses Notification Centre or Growl to post a message relating to the workflow you've run. For example, it can show a message to say that your workflow's task has completed successfully.

Large Type shows the result of your search in large characters in the middle of your screen. Handy to see a phone number from across the room.

Copy to Clipboard will copy the result of your workflow to the clipboard and, optionally, paste it to the front most app.

Use the Run Script object to run a script in the interpreter of your choice based on the results gathered by your workflow.

Downloading and discovering workflows

We regularly share workflows we love on the Alfred blog, and you can discover workflows on Packal, a fantastic site for workflows and themes created by Alfred fan Shawn Rice.

You can also discover workflows created by fellow Alfred users on the Alfred Forum, where you can also get help with creating your own workflows. Please fill in your registered Powerpack address in your forum profile to get support with Powerpack features.

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