I’ve found that most Mac users I talk with find the Spotlight search to be sufficient when it comes to launching apps from the keyboard, but there are also some power users that yearn for a little more. Alfred is a powerhouse for keyboard junkies, but if all you want to do is launch some apps the free Chuck (that’s a Mac App Store link) might be exactly what you need.
Chuck really distinguishes itself because it’s good at one thing and one thing only… launching apps. As you can see in the screenshot above it doesn’t even provide a menu of possible matches when you’re typing. Instead it only shows you the closest match, and all you have to do is press the return key on the keyboard to have it instantly open up the program.
While Chuck seems fairly basic it does have some options you can configure to tailor it a bit more to your needs. In the Advanced section of the settings, for example, you can specify an alias that can be tied to a specific application. Assigning the letter “c” to the calculator app will ensure that all you ever have to do to launch the calculator is open up Chuck with your user-defined keyboard shortcut, type “c” and press the return key.
There aren’t really a lot of bells and whistles to Chuck, and if that’s what you’re looking for I’m guessing you probably be disappointed. If you like to have apps that serve a single purpose and serve that purpose well then it will be right up your alley.