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Author Topic: Top 10 Find and Run Robot Techniques Every User Should Know About  (Read 12711 times)
mouser
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« on: June 02, 2011, 06:24:14 AM »

I will update this post with my top 10 tricks and tips in the next day or so.. if you have any nominations send me a personal message on the forum.
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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2011, 06:40:15 AM »

TIP 1: Scroll Through Your Search History With Ctrl+Up and Ctrl+Down

Many FARR users don't realize that the Ctrl+Up and Ctrl+Down hotkeys can be used to scroll through their past search history.

This can be extremely useful in re-running searches that you've run recently.

And most importantly, past search history includes exactly what you typed in the search box which can be quite different from the history of previous launch applications.  As such, it's very useful for recalling previous alias invocations.

Bonus tip for pros: You can actually type: historys in the search box to see a list of your past searches and select from them directly.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2011, 06:41:51 AM by mouser » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2011, 06:04:44 AM »

TIP 2: Know How to Use Custom Hotkeys

By default, FARR is launched (toggled) with the Pause/Break key found in the upper right of all full-sized keyboards.

Of course it's possible to change this keyboard shortcut, but most people don't know that FARR has a system that allows you to configure multiple keyboard shortcuts that work in different ways.

As the screenshot below shows, you can add multiple hotkeys triggers that invoke FARR but also do additional things.  The two common things you may want to do with a custom keyboard shortcut are to start out with some text in the search box, and to copy the highlighted text under the mouse before invoking FARR.



To see how this works: Select some text with your mouse in any program and then hit Ctrl+Break to invoke the Ctrl+Break hotkey.  FARR will first copy the selected text to the clipboard by simulated a ctrl+C press, and then bring up FARR with text in the search box that says "search CLIPBOARDTEXT" (where CLIPBOARDTEXT is the highlighted text).  This can be extremely useful for conducting quick searches.

Tip: You can't delete the predefined built-in keyboard hotkeys, but if you want to change them just disable (uncheck) the built-in ones and add new ones to overide them.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2011, 06:17:20 AM by mouser » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2011, 11:43:34 AM »

TIP 3: Using the Item Context Menu

Most of the time when using FARR, all you want to do is launch the first item in the result list, which you can do by simply hitting Enter (or alt+1).

But you should familiarize yourself with the item context menu which offers you additional easy ways to work with specific results.

You can right-click on any result to show it's context menu, but you can also simply hit Ctrl+R to bring up the context menu for the first result.



Once in the item context menu you can:
  • Show the normal windows system context menu for the file (you can show this directly with Ctrl+P)
  • Add a new alias keyword to invoke this item (or a group of items) by choosing "Add to Group Alias" <-- this is the fastest and easiest way to create a new alias or add items to an existing alias!
  • Add the item to the FARR toolbar
  • Remove the item from the list of previously launched items (good for removing nuisance items you launched by mistake)
  • Change the score of this item in future searches or exclude it entirely
  • Open the folder containing the application to browse manually.
  • And many more functions..
« Last Edit: June 06, 2011, 11:48:34 AM by mouser » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2011, 10:23:57 AM »

TIP 4: Make Your Own Aliases

Many people probably happily use FARR without ever creating their own "alias group", but alias groups are actually very easy to work with and are the key to most of FARR's more interesting features.

First let's start with the basic question: "What is a FARR alias group?"

In FARR, the concept of an "alias group" is quite broad -- but in essence an alias group is a keyword or regular expression pattern that you type to show some custom results.

The very simplest example would be an alias group that is just a keyword with one result.  So for example let's say you want to be able to type "ed" to launch your favorite text editor, which is currently "C:\apps\X-Notepad++\Bin\Notepad++\unicode\notepad++.exe".  You can use an alias group for this.

The easiest way to create such a simple alias group is simply to:
  • Find the program (notepad++.exe in our example) by searching for it in the FARR window by typing its real name (notepad++)
  • Then right-clicking on the notepad++ result and saying "Adding to Group Alias" and then choosing "New Alias Group.." at bottom of menu.
  • Then in the dialog that is shown, type in "ed" for the Alias Trigger Text, and leave the rest as is, and hit OK.
  • TIP: If you want to give a custom label to the result, go down to the Result area and prefix it with "My Favorite Editor|"

You've now created a new alias group called "ed" which will show the notepad++ result; you can try it by typing "ed" in the main FARR search area.


Now you aren't limited to just one result in an alias -- that's why it's called an alias "group".  You can add multiple items to that "ed" alias group, and make it act like a menu to your favorite text editors.

There are a lot more advanced things you can do with alias group, including regular expression aliases, launching applications with arguments, performing web searches, etc.  You can find more help on the forum or in the help file.

IMPORTANT: You can browse and edit both your custom aliases and the built-in aliases, by going to the options and choosing the "Aliases/Groups" tab; aliases are organized into files that you select at the top; your custom aliases can be found in the "myaliases.alias" file there, and that is the only set of aliases that you can directly edit (though you can uncheck any alias to disable it).  This is a great way to explore the built-in alias selection that comes with farr.

Advanced users can share their alias files with others.  On the forum and in the built-in set of aliases you will find some great aliases to perform all kinds of actions, including a ton of web search functionalities, package tracking, dictionary/music searches, etc.



Thanks to ewemoa for the screenshots!
« Last Edit: June 10, 2011, 06:06:21 PM by mouser; Reason: added screenshots from ewemoa » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2011, 12:32:09 PM »

TIP 5: Watch the FARR Video Series

This is a short tip but perhaps the most useful one.  I recorded over 3 dozen video screencasts showing how to use basic and advanced features in FARR.  It's hard to think of a faster way to tour the abilities and options in the program than to watch these videos:

http://www.donationcoder.com/3ds

(Note there are two groups of videos on FARR; start at the bottom of the page and work your way up).
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mouser
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« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2011, 01:20:34 AM »

TIP 6: Use the Launch History List and Don't Worry if a Program is Slow to Find at First

FARR does not (currently) use an index to scan and catalog your disks -- it searches on the fly.  There are pros and cons of this and you can read about them here (optional indexing is coming soon).

The one thing to remember though, is that FARR keeps a list of previously launched files, and will find them instantly on subsequent searches.

So what this means is that the FIRST time you search for an application, the search may take some time -- don't panic!  After your first launch of the program it will be instantaneously found in future searches.



On a related matter: By default FARR shows the most recently launched files in the list when you first bring it up with nothing in the search edit box.  Right-click on an item and you'll be able to remove it from your launch history -- or edit the launched file list from the options, where you can also change the way previously launched files are scored, and or tell FARR not to show it on a blank search.



« Last Edit: June 20, 2011, 01:43:21 AM by mouser » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2011, 02:29:41 AM »

TIP 7: Browse Directories From FARR

Normally one uses FARR to search for applications to launch, by typing in a keyword or two.

But you can also use FARR to browse explicit directory contents.

Just start typing in a path, like "C:\Program Files\" to see the directory contents.



There are some useful keyboard shortcuts to efficient directory browsing in FARR: Tab autocompletes, Ctrl/Alt+Backspace goes up a directory.  Select an item and hit tab to enter that subdirectory.

From any directory just hit space and start typing some keywords to narrow down the file listing to matching files.

For more help on directory browsing, see the directory browsing screencast.
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mouser
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« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2011, 05:38:42 PM »

Tip 8: Customize Your Search Folder List and Order

The list of directories that FARR searches is on the "Search Folders" options tab:


You can right click to edit or add a new item, or just drag and drop a directory into that window.

The order of directories is important -- FARR searches these directories in the order specified -- so put the small folders at the front, and leave the big ones with lots of subdirectories near the bottom.

Advanced Users: Modifier Keywords with Search Directories

Advanced users can also add "modifier keywords" to a directory so that it will only be searched when you type +modifier.

So let's say you have a directory with all your mp3 music files, and you only want that searched on special occasions.  Just add a keyword modifier like "music" to it, and it will only be searched when you add +music to your search.



You can see a screencast about customizing search folders here:
http://www.donationcoder....casts/dc/3ds/fr3/fr3.html

And a screencast about keyword modifier use here:
http://www.donationcoder....sts/dc/3ds/fr21/fr21.html
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