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Launch Apps Like a Pro with Launchpad

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Launchpad lets you quickly see every application that is installed on your Mac. It also lets you search, organize, launch, and if downloaded from the Apple App Store, delete applications. Let's have a look at Launchpad and see how it can make managing your apps easy and fun.

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Launch Apps Like a Pro with Launchpad

Accessing and Navigating Launchpad

To open Launchpad, you can click the App icon like any other app on your Mac. You can also set up a custom Keyboard Shortcut by going to System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts, or assign a Hot Corner to launch Launchpad by going to System Preferences > Desktop and Screen Saver > Screen Saver > Hot Corners.

By pinching closed with three fingers and your thumb you will quickly be taken into Launchpad.

If you have an Apple Magic Trackpad, there is also a default swipe gesture to quickly access launchpad; by pinching closed with three fingers and your thumb you will quickly be taken into Launchpad from anywhere on your Mac. Pinching open in the same manner will take you out of Launchpad.

When you open Launchpad, the desktop will blur away, and a grid of App icons will fade into view. If you have Hiding turned on for your dock, it will also pull up, giving you a bird's eye view of all your installed Apps.

Launchpad Interface
Launchpad Interface
  • 1) Search field for quickly finding Apps inside of Launchpad.
  • 2) App icons of every App currently installed on your Mac.
  • 3) Page bullets showing you how many pages of Apps you have inside of Launchpad.
  • 4) The Dock will display inside of Launchpad to quickly add Apps to.

In the main area in the center you have a grid of icons containing all the Apps installed on your Mac. Clicking on an App icon will take you out of Launchpad and into the App you clicked.

If you have more Apps than can be shown on one screen, you will notice some bullets below the icons indicating there's more than one page. You can scroll between pages by swiping left or right with two fingers on your Apple Magic Trackpad or by clicking on the bullets below the icons.

Typing in the search field will give you live search results as Launchpad narrows the Apps down to your search criteria.

Above the icons, you will see a search field, typing in the search field will give you live search results as Launchpad narrows the Apps down to your search criteria. Hitting the "X" will clear the search field and the App icons will come back.


Organizing Your Apps

You can arrange and organize the Apps in any way you want. If you want to change the order of the App icons, you can simply click and drag them around and the surrounding App icons will re-align themselves, allowing you to quickly arrange your Apps.

If you want to move an App icon to a different page, you simply click and drag the App icon like before, but this time hold it against the side of the screen. The screen will flip over to a new page allowing you to place the App icon on a new page. This is also how you can add a new page when organizing your Apps.

The surrounding App icons will re-align themselves, allowing you to quickly arrange your Apps.

You will notice that some of the App icons are actually groups of smaller App icons, these are App folders. Clicking on an App folder icon will open the folder and display the Apps inside. If you want to create your own App folder to organize your Apps, simply click and drag an App icon and hover it over another App icon and a folder will be created and open. Releasing the icon will place that App inside.

You can change the name of a folder to whatever you like by clicking the name title area to highlight the text and typing a new name. The name will display below the folder.

Keep in mind that if the the name is too long, it will be truncated to fit under the App folder. If you ever want to get rid of an App folder, you just drag out all the icons and the folder will disappear.

Clicking An App Folder Will Display The Contained Apps
Clicking An App Folder Will Display The Contained Apps
  • 1) Click on an App folder to open the folder and show the Apps inside.
  • 2) Click and highlight the App folder name to rename the folder.
To Create An App Folder, Click And Drag An App Icon Over Another App Icon
To Create An App Folder, Click And Drag An App Icon Over Another App Icon

You can also add apps from Launchpad into the Dock by dragging the App icon and placing it where you would like it to be inside the Dock. A copy of the App icon will be added to the Dock, but the App icon will also remain in Launchpad.

Note that you can't add App folders to the Dock (You can achieve the same basic setup using a regular folder inside of the Dock however).


Deleting Apps from Launchpad

Any Apps that you have downloaded from the Mac App Store can be deleted right inside of Launchpad. Clicking and holding any App icon will make all the icons start to wiggle. You will notice that some of them have and X in the upper left corner. This means the App has been downloaded and installed from the App store.

Any Apps that you have downloaded from the Apple App Store can be deleted right inside of Launchpad.

Clicking the X will give you a warning asking if you want to delete the App. Clicking cancel will cancel the deletion, and clicking delete will delete the app from your Mac.

Click And Hold An App Until The Icons Begin To Wiggle. An X Will Indicate Which Apps Can Be Deleted
Click And Hold An App Until The Icons Begin To Wiggle. An X Will Indicate Which Apps Can Be Deleted

Conclusion

Launchpad is a simple but useful feature inside of OS X Mountain Lion. It's the simple attention to details and the end user experience that makes OS X truly the world's most advanced operating system, and just a plain fun to use.

I hope this overview of Launchpad will help you find quick and time saving ways to work it into your daily Mountain Lion use.

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