Productive Macs Bundle Includes Trickster

Your Mac has a Recent Items list. You can access it through the Apple Menu (click on that Apple icon in the top left corner of your screen). Recent Items keeps track of recent applications, documents, and servers.

Trickster does that and a whole lot more. You know, I’ve had Trickster for over a year and I’ve used it less than five times. I’m so used to searching for recently opened items using Spotlight or HoudahSpot that it’s not until after I’ve found what I’m looking for that I remember “D’oh! Trickster!”


I love Trickster‘s UI. It’s well-designed, easy to use, and fairly intuitive. The main window (see below) is resizable. It sits in the menubar until you click its icon, or press a global keyboard shortcut you create. To keep Trickster open when inactive, click the anchor in the top right corner of the window. Click the red heart peeking out on the upper right to show/hide Favorites. Double-click an item in the list to open it, or click to select and then press enter. Hover the mouse over an item to display a flag and gear icon in the column on the right of the item. Clicking the flag lets you flag the item, and clicking the gear shows a pop-up menu (screenshot below).

QuickLook is highlighted in the screenshot above, but you don’t need to open the menu in order to use QuickLook. You can simply select an item in the Trickster window and press space to activate QuickLook. In fact, a number of keyboard shortcuts which work in the Finder will also work in Trickster.

Trickster uses filters to categorize your recently opened items. Trickster comes with filters already created, which you can add to, edit, move, and delete to suit your workflow. In first screenshot, the filter icons are below the grey inbox on the upper left. (The grey inbox is not a filter and cannot be edited, moved or deleted. Clicking on that icon will show all recently opened items.) The filters shown in the first screenshot are Flagged, Applications, Documents, Images, Video, Audio, Folders, Downloads. Below that are filters I created: Scripts and Templates. As you can see from the screenshot below, there’s a nice selection of icons to choose from.


Filters make it very easy to find specific files, like that torrent file you just downloaded. Or that really cute LOLcats picture. Or recently opened screen sharing .vncloc files in your ~/Library/Application Support/Screen Sharing folder, to quickly locate machines you’ve connected to recently. Drag URL’s from your browser to your desktop? I have a collection of URL’s waiting for me to read them when I have time. Creating a filter for .webloc files means I can file the URL’s elsewhere on my Mac, but find them easily in Trickster.

There are global settings which affect all of the filters. You set the File Tracking Settings using the button in the lower left corner of the main window. You can define which folders Trickster should watch, as well as whitelist text, and exclude extensions, paths and text.

The Editing Filter window is pictured below. You can fine-tune filters to search specific folders, match text in filenames, match extensions, exclude folders, and/or select specific file types (documents, apps, videos, etc.). While it’s possible to match partial text for filenames, you can only match complete extensions. For instance, asking Trickster to match extensions with loc will not result in a list including webloc files.

Also note the handy area in the lower left, with the message ‘Drop A File To Test’. Drag and drop a file here to find out if it will pass your filter test. No more guessing!

Back in the main window (shown in the first screenshot), at the bottom you can change the size of the items listed, sort by alphabetical instead of date, and search the items listed. The gear on the bottom right gives you access to the preferences (among other options), where you can define recently opened as items opened within 1, 2, or 3 days, 1 or 2 weeks, or 1 month.

Trickster is a great app and part of Productive Macs‘ bundle being offered through 18 November.

You know, now that I’ve written all of this about Trickster, maybe the next time I do that Where-Did-I-Put-That-Download search, I’ll remember to use it.

13. November 2013 by sojourner hardeman
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