Spotlight, Automator and Siri as a replacement for Alfred

    • spotlight
    • siri
    • alfred
    • productivity
    • macos
    • automator
  • modified:
  • reading: 2 minutes

I have been using Alfred for a long time. If you have not heard about Alfred, the short description is a Spotlight on steroids. It can do a lot, but you have to write your own Workflows or find if somebody already built it to use some of the really cool features. And I wrote some a long time ago, but to be honest, lately, I noticed that I don’t use it much, except to open applications and a few workflows. And the Spotlight improved significantly with the last few versions of MacOS. So I have decided to achieve almost anything I need with the Spotlight (Siri and Automator) instead of Alfred.

Step 1. Siri for advanced workflows

Apple is really pushing us to turn on Siri after each update of MacOS. So I finally did. In the System Preferences, Siri preferences, I have enabled Ask Siri, disabled Listen for “Hey Siri”, and set a Keyboard Shortcut to ⇧⌘Space.

Enable Siri

But I don’t really want to talk to her. Instead, I want to use text input to be able to tell, “Remind me tomorrow to do a thing” or “Show me the weather in Boulder”. Open System Preferences again, Accessibility, and Select Siri under General. Check the “Enable Type to Siri”.

Siri Text

Now you can open Siri dialog with ⇧⌘Space and start typing various things like


Just that eliminated so many workflows from Alfred and added so many new.

Step 2. Automator

Some of my Alfred workflows are very specific, where Siri cannot help me. One of which I probably use most is to strip formatting from the Rich Text. This workflow basically uses the shell command pbpaste | pbcopy.

I have finally opened an Automator for the first time and created a Quick Action to do precisely the same.

Strip text

I saved this action with the name “Paste Stripped”. And configured a shortcut for it in System Preferences, Keyboard, Shortcuts ⇧⌘V.


Step 3. Spotlight

And the last step. Disable Alfred auto-launch or delete it. And put Spotlight on ⌘Space or a different combination of your choice. The only configuration I have done for Spotlight is that I turned off Siri’s suggestions, as I don’t see them useful.

See Also