I Love Quicksilver’s quick file path retrieval

Why would I need this?

How many times do you need a file path? Formatted a specific way? POSIX for Terminal, Mac for AppleScript, and URLs for the internet.

Enter Quicksilver‘s realm, where one application gets you your file path in whatever format you like. (It’s nirvana.)

How do I …

Get An Absolute POSIX Path

Quicksilver‘s default is an absolute POSIX path. In fact you don’t even have to explicitly request it. For example, below, we’ve chosen a file. (If your Quicksilver looks different, I’m using the default interface, but I’ve changed the colors in Preferences > Appearance.)


Next, we tab over to the second pane and type paste until the Paste action appers. (We only had to type p in this case.) Then we’ll press enter and Quicksilver will paste our file path into the current application. If it can’t, Quicksilver will bonk at us.


We started Quicksilver while in TextEdit, and that’s where Quicksilver has put our path.

If we were pasting this into Terminal, we would definitely want to type a quote before activating Quicksilver, then type a closing quote after pasting because there are spaces in our file path.


Get A File URL

Starting from a TextEdit document, we activated Quicksilver, selected a file in our first pane, pressed tab to go to our second pane, then typed furl to select the Get File URL action.


When we press enter, Quicksilver looks like it’s done absolutely nothing at all with our command:


It has performed our command, but we have to do something with it to see it. (Bad UI!) We could copy it to the clipboard by pressing tab to go to the second pane, typing copytoclipboard or some part thereof (below, we used clip), and then pressing enter.


That’s one option you probably won’t need often, as the Paste action takes care of most scenarios where you would need to copy and paste.

Instead, we’re just going to paste it into our waiting TextEdit document. To select a different action than copy, press backspace and then type paste. (Pressing backspace deletes what you’ve already typed so you can type something new.)


And there’s our encoded file URL.


Get POSIX Paths (Absolute and Relative)

Again, while in TextEdit, we activated Quicksilver, selected a file, pressed tab to go to our second pane. Even though Quicksilver’s default is an absolute POSIX path, there is a Get Absolute (POSIX) Path action, which we’ve selected by typing abs.


When we press enter, Quicksilver returns with our path as text in the first pane. In the screenshot below, we’ve already moved into the second pane and selected the Paste action.


Pressing enter gives us the absolute POSIX path.


To get a relative POSIX path, we’ve again selected a file, pressed tab to go to our second pane, and this time we’ve typed get and pressed down arrow to see the results. (Waiting a little will also display the results.)

We resized the results display to see more. There are quite a few actions related to getting file paths. (There’s even a Get Info action, which is the same as Finder > File > Get Info.) Each action has a little description below it, describing what it does. We’ve selected Get Path.


Pressing enter puts our file path as text into the first pane. Below, we’ve already moved into the second pane and begun typing paste, getting as far as p. (Gotta love an app that reads your mind.)


And when we press enter, Quicksilver adds our path to our TextEdit document. (Note that we had to add the line break ourselves. Quicksilver will not automatically do that.)


Get A Mac/HFS File Path

I find myself using this type often, mostly for AppleScript. This time, instead of activating Quicksilver while in TextEdit, we’ve done so from AppleScript Editor, after typing an opening quote (because we’ll need to enclose the file name in quotes).

Below, you can see we’ve selected a file, typed tab to go into the second pane (you can also click the pane with your mouse or trackpad), and typed gloc to select the Get File Location action.


When we press enter, our file path is entered into our waiting script. Typing another quote encloses it; we’ll assign it to a variable later.


Quicksilver. What can’t it do?

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 plugins needed.)

You may need to enable certain actions via Preferences > Actions. Below, we’ve chosen to view actions by Type, and further filtered for Files & Folders actions. We also searched this filter for actions containing the word get.

Quicksilver may not have all of these actions enabled by default. You will want to enable the actions you plan to use.


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.

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

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