The personal blog of Sven Seebeck

Building an App-Specifc Search-box: An Alfred Workflow

For last couple of months I have happily used Ulysses exclusively for all my writing, both on the iPad and on iOS. It has become my-go-to-app and had some significant influence on the way I work and do stuff on my computer.

One thing that I really like about Ulysses and also OmniFocus is the way how the act of opening files on OSX is handled: CMD+O pops-up a nice search-bar and everything is just there. I like the feature so much that I want that now in other apps as well.

Despite having consolidated almost all of my writing and texts in Ulysses over the last few months, I still like to use WriterPro for some things. Accessing a document on OSX via a Finder-window feels old-fashioned, cumbersome and last but not least: too slow.

And this all brings me to today’s post.

Building A Search Box for WriterPro with Alfred

I already said that I want this search-box now everywhere and a few days ago I (finally) installed this Alfred workflow which is doing just that to my Evernote database. The workflow works excellent and has saved me a lot of time already, hence I decided to built my own workflow to do the same for me in Writer Pro[^-361149606].

Usually I’m not very successful at building workflows or better put, lack patience and knowledge to do so, but in this case it turned out to be shockingly simple.

It involves only a few steps.

Step 1:

Set up the workflow using these instructions but then drag a markdown file and the other three available file types Note, Edit and Read into the File Types box instead to ensure they are getting indexed.

Step 2:

Now drop your WriterPro folder (located in the iCloud Drive) onto the Search Scope box to specify this folder.

Step 3:

Go to Advanced and add kMDItemTextContent via the + button to search also the file contents.


And that is all. Now after invoking my specified shortcut I can search and open any of the documents in that folder. Just the way I want it to be.

Naturally this workflow will/should work for other file-types and applications as well. Something that I most likely will take advantage of.

I continue to tinker with my workflows and hope that with every little, or not so little, adjustment I get closer to the the setup I’m most comfortable with. This is yet another step into that direction.

  1. A similar way of opening a files is already part of the iOS version. And yes, ironically I write this post in Ulysses of course.