I Love Quicksilver’s Event Triggers

Why would I need this?

There are a lot and varied uses for event triggers. You may want a notification in case your computer switches to battery power or UPS power. Or to automatically back up when a certain disk is mounted.

Maybe you want to automatically open iTunes (or Swinsian, a nice alternative) when headphones are connected. Or to reduce the volume when switching to internal speakers. Or to change settings if internet becomes avaialble, or unavailable.

How do I …

Activate Quicksilver and navigate to Preferences > Triggers.


Our custom triggers list (triggers we’ve created) is empty. We can add new triggers by clicking the Add Trigger… drop-down menu at the bottom of the window. (It’s the button with the + on it.) The drop-down menu will offer a few types; we’re going with Event.


A sheet appears, similar to Quicksilver‘s interface with three panes. This is where we’ll enter in command that we want Quicksilver to perform when an event is triggered. (Later, we’ll connect that command with a specific event.)

The panes are empty in the screenshot below, but that won’t be the case every time. You can select new items or actions for the panes the same way you would do in your Quicksilver interface. You can also press command-X to delete the contents of the active pane.


The trigger we’re creating is going to show text using the Large Text action. Firt, we specify what text we want to show. While in the first pane, type . (period) to enter text mode. Our message is shown in the screenshot below. After entering the text, press tab to go to the second pane and begin typing Large Text until the action appears. We won’t need to add anything to the third pane for this command.

There is a Command section at the bottom of our sheet, which summarizes what you’ve entered. If that doesn’t match what you want, press tab or shift-tab to navigate back thru the pane(s) and correct. Click Save to complete.


The screenshot below is what you’ll see after you’ve defined your action. Actually, you probaby won’t see the drawer on the left until you select the trigger and click in the (command) or Trigger column of the selected trigger, or click the Trigger Info button at the bottom right of the window (with the icon of an i in a circle).

The leftmost column of our selected trigger is a checkbox. There may be occasions where you want to deactivate a trigger you’ve created. Simply uncheck to do so.


In the drawer on the right, there are three radio buttons, Settings, Commands, Scope. Right now, we’re looking at Settings and here is where we define what event to link this to. Below is what we’ll see when we click on the Event pop-up menu. This is not a complete list; other plug-ins may add other events.


We’re going to choose Switch to Battery Power. We have an additional option of delaying a number of seconds (which can be a decimal number). If we add a delay, we also have the option of ignoring repeat events (which might be helpful when you’re intentionally working on battery power).

Some events — like Application Launched — have additional settings. Read more about Match & Ignore Items, and Event Trigger Objects in Event Triggers’ Plugin Documentation (Preferences > Plugins > Event Triggers, then click the ? in bottom right corner).


Commands lets you edit your command. (The way this window is designed, I wonder if it’s possible to have multiple commands for a trigger. If there is, I haven’t discovered how yet.) In the screenshot, we have our command selected. To edit, simply double-click.


Scope allows you to define where the trigger occurs. The options are Enabled in all applications, Enabled in selected applications: and Disabled in selected applications:.

Scope can be very useful when you need or want to define a keyboard shortcut for a particular application, but not for all applications.



We don’t need to specify scope for this trigger, but let’s look at how to do that anyway. In the screenshot below, we’ve chosen to disable this trigger in selected applications. To add those applications, click in the text field below the pop-up menu, type the name of an application and press enter, as done with Mail below. Then add other application names as needed and press enter after each one. Below, Safari has been typed, but enter hasn’t been pressed yet.


Why doesn’t it work on my machine?

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:

  • Event Triggers

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.

08. November 2014 by sojourner hardeman
Categories: geekery, how do i love thee quicksilver | 3 comments

Comments (3)

  1. Hi! So I’ve installed the plugin but it does not show in the Add Trigger the option Event, it only appears “Hot Key” and “Group”. I’ve relauched and unistalled and reinstalled the plugin but it still doesn’t show the option… Can you help me please? Thanks for the attention!

    • That’s weird. Which versions of OS X and Quicksilver are you using? Also, if you’re on Twitter, pls tweet a screenshot to @seesolve. If you’re not on Twitter, pls upload screenshot somewhere online and comment with link.

  2. Super interesting and helpful article, thanks!
    You’re wonderfully illustrating why Quicksilver is a must.

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