At the end of the day/week I often find myself printing off many different files from many different applications, typically Microsoft Word and OmniOutliner documents, RTFs and PDFs. Previously this meant navigating through the Finder and opening up all the various files in their various associated applications and printing off each file individually.
Merely opening three different files in three different applications and printing would look something like this:
double click … double click … double click … Wait for applications to open … ⌘-P … ENTER … ⌘–W … ⌘–TAB … ⌘–P … ENTER … ⌘–W … ⌘–TAB … ⌘–P … ENTER … ⌘–W …
You get the idea…
I have discovered two Quicksilver (hereafter ‘QS’) actions that can speed up the process. Using QS I can quickly and easily select a whole bunch of files and print them en mass without having to open their default applications to do so.
Before you start clogging your print spooler you need to perform some tweaking in QS’s preferences. Don’t worry there is nothing difficult here.
1 – Set Up Advanced Features
- Invoke Quicksilver (by default, ⌘–SPACE)
- Press ⌘–, (i.e. Hold the Command key and press the comma key) to open QS’s preferences.
- Click the “Preferences” icon at the top of preferences box.
- Tick the “Advanced Features” check box.
2 – Add Your Printer(s) to the QS Catalogue
- While still in QS’s preferences click the “Catalogue” icon in the top right hand corner of the dialog box.
- Click the “+” button (at the bottom of the dialog box) and select “File and Folder Scanner.”
- Navigate to ~user/Library/Printers (where user is the name of your user account on your Mac). You should see the name(s) of your printer(s) in that folder. Click “Open”.
- The “Printers” folder should appear in the “Sources” list and its check box should be ticked.
3 – Install the Current Selection Proxy Object (re Method A below)
- Again, while still in QS’s preferences click the “Catalogue” icon.
- Click the “Quicksilver” icon on the left hand side of the preference box.
- Tick the “Proxy Objects” check box.
Once you have completed the above steps quit and restart QS.
Now lets get down to business…
Method A: Using the “Current Selection” Proxy Object
Quicksilver screenshot of print method A
Use this method when you want to print files that are on the Desktop or are all in the same folder.
1. Select the files that you wish to print by Command clicking them.
2. Invoke Quicksilver (by default, ⌘–SPACE)
3. Type the name of your printer until QS displays its name e.g. “Lexmark”
4. Hit the TAB key to select the next pane.
5. Type “open” and select “Open File”.
* I recommend making “Open File” the default action for when you type “open”. You can do this by Ctrl clicking “Open File” and selecting ‘Set as Default for “OPEN”.’
6. Hit TAB to select the next pane.
7. Type “current” until QS displays ‘Current Selection’.
8. Hit ENTER.
9. Your files should start printing.
Method B: Using “The Comma Trick”
Screenshot of Quicksilver print method B
Use this method when printing files that are scattered in different locations on your hard disk.
1. Invoke Quicksilver
2. Type the name of your printer.
3. Hit the TAB key to select the next pane.
4. Type “open” and select “Open File”
5. Hit TAB again.
6. Use Quicksilver to navigate to a folder where the file you wish to print is located. (e.g. type “desktop” to navigate to the Desktop).
7. Select the file (by using your arrow keys or your mouse).
8. Hit the comma key (”,”).
* You should see a little icon of the file appear below the file’s name.
9. Select another file and again, hit the comma key.
* Another little icon of the newly selected file should appear next to the first selected file’s icon.
10. Repeat steps 7 to 8 for any other files that you wish to print.
11. Hit ENTER.
I have tested the following file types: plain text, RTF, Excel, PDF, JPG and OmniOutliner – and found that they all print without any problems. When you print OmniOutliner documents QS opens up OmniOutliner but prints the file without you having to do anything. Excel documents are also opened by QS, the print dialog box appears automatically but you need to click the “Print” button to send the Excel document to the spool. The other file types (i.e. the native Mac OS X file types – plain text, RTF, PDF and jpg) print ‘magically’ in the background without any applications opening.
Granted these QS ‘cheats’ are nothing mind-blowing. However, they negate all the ‘click-ity click click’ through the Finder and associated Command–Tab-ing between different applications.
If you are new to QS I recommend the following links: