Tic Tech Toe

Technology tips, tricks, and tools


Launchy is a very cool Windows utility. What it does for you is elegant in its simplicity and yet powerful enough to replace many of your day-to-day actions. Once you’ve installed Launchy, you activate it by Alt-Space (assuming default “hot” key).

Lets look at some examples of its features:

  • Go to a URL

Start typing http or www and Launchy will change its icon to a world (for the Internet).


Finish typing your URL, such as http://www.fairtax.org. When you hit Enter, your browser will display the page.

Link result

  • Search Google

Start typing goo and press tab and enter your search terms, such as darfur.

Google search

When you press Enter, your search results will appear in your browser.

Google result

  • Check the weather

Start typing wea, press tab once Weather is displayed and enter a location, such as Apex NC.


When you press Enter, a weather forecast for that location will appear in your browser.

Weather result

  • Run an application on your desktop or go to a bookmark

Start typing some string, e.g. calc and pause. Launchy will present a set of possible matches to what you want to do!

Calc choices

Your results will vary of course, but on my system Launchy found the Windows calculator, the OpenOffice Calc spreadsheet application, and a couple of Firefox bookmarks that contain “calc” somewhere in them. Nice.

  • Look up a definition of a word

Start typing dict, hit tab, and enter a word, such as throes.


 Press Enter and the definition opens in your browser.

Dictionary result

  • Look up a movie on Netflix

Start typing netf, hit tab, and enter a movie title, such as Life as a House.


Hit Enter and the search results appear in your browser.

Netflix result

  • Shop on Amazon

Got a book title that was mentioned on a web page? You could use HyperWords or stick with Launchy. Start typing ama, hit tab when Amazon shows up, and enter what you’re looking for, such as fairtax boortz.


Hit Enter and the result is opened in your browser.

Amazon result

  • Look something up on Wikipedia

Start typing wik and press tab when Wikipedia shows up, then enter your search string such as fairtax.


Press Enter and your results are again presented in your browser.

Wikipedia result

To do some administrative and configuration actions, you bring up Launchy (Alt-Space) and press the right mouse button (assuming a righthanded mouse configuration). A menu will appear.

Launchy menu

The skin I use is the default – I tried some others, but I liked the default the best. One nice feature you can access through the menu is the Directories option.

Directories option

This allows you to specify what you want Launchy to find on your system. You can include music, pictures, or whatever else you typically want to access. When you use Launchy to find files and directories, you just start typing as you would on Windows: c: then hit tab and the slash appears for you. Continue typing until you see what you want, e.g. c:\mag in my case.

Directory search

When you find the directory location you want, hit Enter and an explorer window will open.

Directory search result

You can read more about Launchy in the readme PDF that’s installed with it.


That’s it for our look at Launchy. Now, it’s your turn… I know there are people out there using Launchy. What cool things have you tried that I haven’t listed? Help me out here!


April 8, 2007 Posted by | Tools | 4 Comments