Searching for files and apps in Windows can be frustrating. But did you know there is a better and much faster way to find any file and launch any app? In this video, Scott Friesen shows you how to quickly find files and launch any program with Flow Launcher.
If you're a Windows user, you're probably familiar with Windows search, where you can type in a few keywords and get a few different suggestions, including web results here on the right hand side, but also some things that may be specific to your machine, including apps, documents, or photos. But in my experience I just haven't found this quite as helpful as I would like. Therefore, I don't use it as often. So, recently I've started to use a free launcher called Flow Launcher, where I can easily type in a few characters, including getting access to system settings and other things on my device, but also on the web as well. So, let me show you how to use it and how to install it on your machine. Hello everyone, Scott Friesen here at Simpletivity, helping you to get more done and enjoy less stress. And first things first, why might you want to install a launcher or use such a tool? Well, recently I found myself wanting or needing to go into my settings, specifically my Bluetooth settings, in order to make sure that a specific device was connected, and I'd either have to come down here to my system tray and then come here and find what I'm looking for. It's going to take me at least two or three clicks in order for me to do so, but after discovering Flow Launcher, all I need to do is hit a few quick keys on my keyboard, and even if I just type in BLU and then enter it's going to bring me directly to that screen. It's bringing me directly to what I need. If I hit those quick keys again on my keyboard, here, you can see, I can even dive down deeper into specific areas of my machine. How about my network settings? Yeah, I just typed in network and immediately I'm brought to my network settings. How about if I want to maybe search for something online, such as a free CRM? No problem. It's going to bring me right to my search results right here within the browser. You can even do some other cool things such as equations. So, for example, if I go eight times three, yeah, that's 24. And then what else might I want to do with that? I could copy it to the clipboard. I can do a variety of different things. How about file folders? So, if I'm looking for something on my machine here, yeah, and then I can use my keys, my arrow keys to go down and find the file and yeah, that's the, yeah, this is the video file I'm looking for. So, let's open that up. So, as a result, I can spend a lot less time with my mouse and keep my fingers on my keyboard, so I can pull up the launcher at any point in time and find almost anything that I'm looking for. So, let's open up the Flow Launcher interface and see how you can change a variety of different settings, so that you can get the most out of this tool. Now, here within general, a lot of these initial settings have to do with do you want to hide it within your system tray? Do you want to start it up automatically? For example, auto update, a lot of things that you can change and decide what's best for you. But what I like here are some of these customized features, such as the maximum results shown. So, for example, if I bring up the launcher here, and again, let's just type in something like CRM, right now I've got it set to five. It's going to give me five suggestions, but if I want more or less, I can do so I can choose and change that right here. The other thing here is you can change things, such as, which is the default file manager. If you're managing files in a variety of different places or if you just want to search a particular file folder, you can do the same thing with your web browser. If you want to just follow the default for your system or use something in particular, but perhaps what shows off Flow Launcher's capabilities the best is by looking at the plugin section. So, for example, these plugins are really referring to the types of search queries that you can make within your system, and yes, there's quite a lot to choose from. So, for example, at the top, we have browser bookmarks, and you'll notice the different icons here. So, for example, if I come down here and expand this the action keyword is the letter B, B as in bookmarks, and all of these are editable, but I think B makes the most sense. So, if I open up the launcher here and I start with the letter B, already it's given me some suggested bookmarks for my browser. And if I continue to type in CRM that's the first one on the list. I can see that all of these are bookmarks that I can go directly to, but you want to be familiar, or you'll want to get familiar with some of the other options here as well. The other thing that you'll want to notice here is priority. Now, by default, all the priorities are set to zero. If you want your files to search higher up in your launcher rankings, all you need to do is select on priority, and in this case, the higher the number the better the result will be ranked. So, for example, we could change this to five and then that's going to be much higher in the results than the other options listed here. And that's of course, very helpful, if some things share the same names, but as you go down here, we can do everything from process killing, in terms of killing certain apps, we can do things such as shut down commands, or restart commands, as you can see down below, type in certain URLs. There's really such a wide range of possibilities. Now, if you'd like to customize your launcher experience even further, you can click on the plugin store, and here you can see there is a wide selection of things that are very specific. So, if there's a particular service, maybe a particular website or social media site that you'd like to integrate with, you can do so here. For example, here's a flow YouTube plugin that I may want to explore, if I'm using it quite often to manage and to search for certain videos, there's also a Spotify plugin, which can make it really easy for you to access your playlist, rather than always having to come up to another tab or switching back and forth. Below that we have the theme, which allows you to really customize your experience here as well, including the size of the launcher itself, and of course a variety of different color schemes as well. So, depending on your needs depending if you want, for example, a sound effect or something else to play when you're using it, you can do so as well. Now, if you'd like to try Flow Launcher for yourself all you need to do is go to flowlauncher.com, and when you get to this screen, we're going to select GitHub, so we can access the latest version. Now, you might be a little intimidated, especially if you're not familiar with the GitHub website because you're going to have a lot of information staring back at you. Don't worry. You can ignore a lot of this. Where I want you to go is down over here to releases and we can select that most recent release here and then scroll just a little way down and here you can see all of the assets. Now, it's really up to you. If you'd rather download the zip file, you can choose this first one here, or if you'd just like to download the executable file, you can choose the one down below and that will get you started with using Flow Launcher within your machine. So, if you'd like a faster and easier way to access your files, access your web and customize certain procedures right within your Windows machine, be sure to check out Flow Launcher, and if you have any questions about how to use Flow Launcher, be sure to let me know in the comments down below. 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