I’ve decided that it might be a good idea to post my responses to Ask Mac Automator questions I receive. I will only choose responses that might be useful to other Mac automators and/or that might be useful for discussion from other Mac automators. Some responses might not fully answer the question, but the response might shed some light on a particular features a Mac automator program.

If you would like to ask a Mac automator question, click here to write and send the question. Try to be very explicit about what you’re asking. Please note, that I don’t answer Mac or software troubleshooting questions, and I also might not always have time create a workflow or action that you’re requesting, but I can give you a general idea of what is possible. 

So without further ado, here’s the first question and response. If you have ideas for a better solution, please share them with us in the comment section. Feel free to also correct me on my instructions.

I love automating my Mac; Hazel and Keyboard Maestro are my bread and butter. I’ve been using Butler for YEARS… but it hasn’t been updated in a long time and is showing its age, and I’m testing out Alfred as a replacement. It works well enough for my needs… so, I guess my question is: is the PowerPack worth it?

My primary use for Butler is for launching websites, opening apps and invoking custom menus with keyboard shortcuts (the latter function now usurped by SuperTab’s metafolders).

I would say the PowerPack for Alfred is worth it especially if you like to trigger actions while keeping your fingers on your keyboard, and if you’re interested in using the workflow feature in Alfred. For example, though I use a few different clipboard managers, I like that I can evoke Alfred and do a quick searches of past clippings and paste them in the document I’m working on.
I also use a few of the Alfred workflows for navigating iTunes, running quick calculations, and doing “Lucky” web searches, and sometimes quickly searching my own website.
Alfred Preferences Alfred Preferences, Today at 2.37.35 PM
I also learned today that Alfred 3 is being released in beta, so you might want to take a look at the features that are in store for it.
I haven’t used Butler in a long while, because mainly I use Alfred. I prefer the user interface design for Alfred. Design is important to me, as well functionality. Both applications have similar features, so you might only switch up if there’s a few features in Alfred that you think will increase your workflow and productivity.
Butler doesn’t offer the type of custom workflow features that Alfred offers, which means there’s a lot more potential in Alfred for triggering different types of actions.

Your Thoughts?

Do you use Butler, Alfred, or LaunchBar? Let us know your preference, and how you use your application of choice.

You have a Mac Automator question? Send one to me. If it’s general enough for other readers, I will share it in this column.

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