I Love Quicksilver’s AppleScript access

Why would I need this?

Maybe you already use the great and almighty (and free) FastScripts from Red Sweater Software to run scripts. But unless you’ve paid to use unlimited keyboard shortcuts, you have to move your hands from the keyboard to your mouse/trackpad. And doing so introduces torque to your workflow, and torque induces drag.

Productive people don’t do drag.

Plus, FastScripts likes a certain structure when it comes to scripts. You can’t put scripts on your Desktop and expect FastScripts to work with you. But you can with Quicksilver.

Sold? But wait! There’s more! Find a script posted online, paste/pipe into Quicksilver, run it as an AppleScript without even opening AppleScript Editor…

Now you’re sold.

How do I …

Run An AppleScript file

Quicksilver makes it easy to run a script. Below, we have a script selected in Quicksilver’s first pane. We started by pressing control-space to activate Quicksilver. Then we typed des to have Quicksilver search for our Desktop folder. (Depending on how you use Quicksilver, you may need to type more or less letters for Quicksilver to find what you’re searching for. Remember that dsktp and des and dkp will all match desktop.) Next, we pressed the down arrow key to display the items in the Desktop folder.

In the first pane, we have the change case script. You can tell it’s a script because of the scpt extension. Quicksilver can tell it’s a script, too, and has pre-populated the second pane with a Run action. (There are several Run actions. This one runs AppleScripts, which is indicated by its icon.) We could press enter right now to run this script, but let’s look at the other results instead.


Pressing the down arrow key selects the second item in our Desktop folder. That item is an AppleScript application. Notice how the second pane no longer shows the Run action, switching to the default Open command for applications. We could press enter right now to open this application, but let’s explore a bit more.


Pressing the down arrow key again selects the last item, another script. Well, kind of. Notice the scptd extension? This is actually a script bundle, with resources embedded with the file. Quicksilver does not recognize it as an AppleScript, and defaults to the Open command for this file. If we were to press enter right now, this script would open in AppleScript Editor (and we could run the script from there). I think I ran across a fix for this some time ago, but I don’t remember what it was. If you know of a way to address this, please share in the comments below.

Run Text As AppleScript


Another way to run an AppleScript is to enter the script text into Quicksilver. Let’s take a look at how that’s done.

Below, we’ve activated Quicksilver and typed . (period) to enter text mode. The appearance of the first pane changes and includes a text icon in the background. We’ve typed tell in the first pane. Take note of the default action waiting in the second pane.


When we add the second word to our text, the default action in the second pane changes automatically, as Quicksilver recognizes that this is likely to be an AppleScript.


We’ll finish our simple AppleScript (which will activate hr, a time tracking app with a great interface).

We’ve typed it in, but we could have easily copied a script from the internet, activated Quicksilver, entered text mode and pasted the script. We don’t have to tab to the second pane because the action we want is already there. We can press enter now to run our script.


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:

  • (No plugin needed)

You may need to add the /Library/Scripts and ~/Library/Scripts folders to Quicksilver‘s catalog, if you want to add the scripts in those folders to Quicksilver’s catalog. Below, only one of our Scripts folders have been added (there’s a number by the checkbox, indicating the number of items in the folder).


You may also need to make sure the appropriate actions are enabled. Below, the Run actions pertaining to AppleScripts are enabled. (These are the selected actions.)


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.

19. November 2014 by sojourner hardeman
Categories: geekery, how do i love thee quicksilver | 2 comments

Comments (2)

  1. I finally discovered how to run scptd scripts with trigger – using terminal osacript.
    Create another scpt script and use
    do shell script “osascript ” & quoted form of “path to scptd script”.
    Then use trigger to scpt script
    Best regards Emil

  2. You noted that there’s a workaround for Quicksilver’s inability to recognize script bundle (.scptd) files as runnable scripts. There answer is here: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/blacktree-quicksilver/pvF6F7z4stw/qJ-M-NvRNMYJ

    Essentially you have to copy the Run script action from another script that *does* work (a .scpt based action) and paste it into the action field of the .scptd-based script. Hopefully that makes sense.

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