Use Launchpad Search to Quickly Open Apps in OS X
Launchpad’s new search function from OS X 10.8 onward make it an extremely fast app launcher, certainly faster than navigating multiple screenfuls of apps and clicking on app icons with a cursor. For the speediest launches, just do the following:
- Hit F4 and start typing the app name, then hit return
Is that quick or what?
For optimal speed, don’t bother typing the full name of the application, just type the first few letters, like “ter” for Terminal. If you end up in a situation where more than one app have similar names, either type another character or two or use the arrow keys to navigate between the searched apps within Launchpad.
New Macs have the F4 key mapped as a shortcut to open Launchpad, but older Macs can easily reassign F4 away from Dashboard and to Launchpad with just a click or two within System Preferences.
Whether or not this is faster than using Spotlight is going to come down to personal preferences and keyboard habits, but there’s one obvious advantage to using this Launchpad method over Spotlight; you won’t accidentally open a file or anything else, since Launchpad is apps only.