Raycast for macOS

A versatile tool to control a huge set of common tasks

Tom • Tools & Development •

A command palette for macOS

Raycast is a free tool that allows you to execute a large variety of tasks from everywhere in macOS. It’s opened via a keyboard shortcut and provides a text-input, similar to the Github Command Palette or the one in DevTools. Raycast is implemented with the AppKit-SDK, which means it’s a truly native application only available for macOS.

Using Raycast allows you to call repetitive tasks in a matter of seconds. And best of all, the tool provides an API for extensions, so you can code yourself whatever you need in case it’s not yet available as an extension in the marketplace.

Searching for stuff

The most basic feature of Raycast is its search engine, which works similar to Apple’s built-in search. As everything is implemented as an extension (in this case one that’s installed by default), searching for files therefore uses the “search”-extension.

Built-in extensions

Apart from search, there are also a bunch of other existing extensions, such as displaying the currently playing song (or controlling the music player), system commands (such as volume control, shutdown, restart, etc) as well as weather information - just to name a few.

Window control in macOS

Raycast also delivers a free manager for your windows on macOS. This allows you to align windows according to certain presets. For example, you can tell Raycast to move the currently focused window to the left of your screen and another window to right.

A marketplace of extensions

To make full use of Raycast, I highly recommend checking out the store to download third party extensions for your workflows. For example, I’m using the docker extension to quickly see what images are currently mounted as well as unmount them.

To keep an overview of my Jira-tickets, I also downloaded the Jira-extension so that I can quickly check the ticket-ID when working on the related PR, just to name another example.

Summary and verdict

Raycast is a very versatile tool that allows you to become a real power-user without setting up everything manually, as the tool’s focus on extensions gives you a lot of features right out of the box.

It’s quickly downloaded, so I highly recommend you try it out and see for yourself if it fits your workflow. Once you adapt to the usage of a command palette, it becomes second nature to use.

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