I Love Quicksilver and Keychains

Why would I need this?

Get usernames and passwords from your keychain on the fly. Copy them to the clipboard, paste them into the current application, display them on your screen, or save them in a file. Quicksilver handles all of this quickly and easily.

How do I …

Lock And Unlock A Keychain

There are two ways of accessing your keychains using Quicksilver. One way is to use Quicksilver to find the Keychain Access application. Below, we’ve typed keyacc to locate it. (Quicksilver allows us to skip letters as we search. Typing chainss or chaess or similar would have also matched.)


With Keychain Access in our first pane, we can press right arrow or / (slash) to list the keychains contained (screenshot below).

The second way of accessing keychains is simply to type the name of the keychain. Below, you can see we’ve got two keychains — login and System. We could type either name directly into Quicksilver.

Because our item is an unlocked keychain, Lock, our default action, is waiting for us in the second pane. If the login keychain was locked, Unlock would be in our second pane.


Press enter and our Quicksilver window fades, then reappears. Our selected keychain is still in the first pane, but a new action appears in the second. Since our selected keychain is not locked, the default action has been changed appropriately.


Get, Copy or Paste An Account

This time, we’re going to bypass Keychain Access, and type the name of login keychain. Or, in this case, ogn, which is enough for Quicksilver to match login.


We can list the items within our keychain by pressing right arrow or / (slash). Results are displayed, showing us keychain items, accounts/usernames, and icons letting us know these are internet passwords.

Because we’re now working with keychain items and not keychains, the default action in the second pane has changed. If we wanted to use Copy Account to copy the account name (mschonfinkel1889@gmail.com, not facebook) to the clipboard, we could press enter now.


Instead, let’s tab to the second pane. Typing acct lists pertinent actions. Paste Account pastes the account name into the current application. (If it can’t, Quicksilver will bonk at you.) Copy Account will copy the account name to the clipboard.

Get Account returns the account name to Quicksilver. Let’s press enter and explore how that works.


Below is a screenshot of what Quicksilver returns. Our account name is displayed in the first pane, as well as the bottom of the window.

Note the mail icon in the first pane? Quicksilver sees our account name as text and as an email address. Actions available to us will correspond. Large type is the default action in the second pane. If we wanted to, Quicksilver would also allow us to perform email actions on our first pane item.

If we wanted to display our account name while we wrote it down, Large Type would be perfect. Instead of displaying our user name, let’s look at another way we might use Quicksilver to help us.


Pressing tab takes us to the second pane, where we can look for the Type Text action. Type Text is great for those annoying websites which like to torture you by preventing you from using copy and paste to log into their site.

Pressing enter now means I don’t have to remember how to spell schonfinkel


Get, Copy or Paste A Password

When you activate Quicksilver, usually the last item you referenced will be in the first pane (as below).


From here, we can press left arrow or shift-/ to navigate up a level, from our account name to our Facebook keychain item.

With that in our first pane, we press tab to go to the second pane. Here, we’ve typed passwd to list the password actions. We’ve got the same Get, Copy and Paste, and they do the same things here as they do for account names.


Why doesn’t it work on my Mac?

Note that in order to use these actions, you need to install the following plugins and you may need to change your Quicksilver preference settings:

  • Keychain Plugin

Wow/Meh. What else ya got?

This is part of a series of some of the ways I love and use Quicksilver. If you’re new to Quicksilver, check out the Quicksilver Setup Mini Guide for tips on configuration.

17. November 2014 by sojourner hardeman
Categories: geekery, how do i love thee quicksilver | Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *