Raycast is an awesome app. Out of the box, it comes with a huge number of features such as window management, clipboard manager, app uninstaller, emoji picker, and snippets to name a few. But the real beauty of Raycast is that it is designed to be extensible.
When Raycast made its API available, it opened the floodgates and within a short time, developers created over a thousand extensions.
I have tried several of these extensions and some have become so integral to my workflow that it is difficult to work without them. I don’t do anything particularly niche, so I believe the following extensions will be useful for even a casual user.
The first extension on this list is ScreenOCR, which can copy uncopiable text on your screen. It does the same thing as the app TextSniper, just for free.
I have tested it with various items— YouTube videos, newspaper cuttings, old scanned books, and online courses— works like a charm.
The extension is fast, robust, and pretty agile. It grabs the text even if it’s at an angle. It even managed to capture a piece of text from an old scanned book that was literally upside down.
Cherry on the top— it supports 16 languages including English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese.
Todoist is a popular to-do list manager. Whenever I think of a task to do, the usual workflow is to open a browser tab, go to todoist.com, and then add a task. These are way too many steps to add a task as simple as bring milk.
The todoist extension for Raycast cuts down on these steps and allows me to create tasks without leaving what I am doing. No context switching, no lost focus.
3. Create Mem
I use Mem.ai. It’s my go-to app for dumping anything that I have on my mind. It’s the fastest way of capturing information. There’s no organizational structure, no folders to select, and no place to choose where should the note go. Just go to Mem.ai, click the new note, and start typing.
The Create Mem Raycast extension makes this process even more smoother. I can now capture the fleeting sparks of ideas without opening any browser tabs.
Just open Raycast, type Create mem, and dump your note. The extension makes all the communication with your Mem account using a secret API key that you can obtain by going to Mem.ai → Add sources → API keys → Create new API Key.
4. Change Case
I write. A lot.
Sometimes it is the tweets, other times, it’s the articles, either for this blog or for wolfmagnet.com, my other blog. When I am not writing online, I am typing in my day job.
It happens frequently that I write a headline in Sentence case whereas it should have been in Title Case. Or when writing an address, I wrote it in lowercase, but it was meant to be written in BLOCK LETTERS.
One way of correcting these mishaps is to rewrite them from scratch, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, what I do is select the text → open Raycast → type Change case → select the output format. The beauty of this process is that at the end of a (very) few keystrokes, the faulty text is replaced by properly formatted text.
Check out this demo here —
I don’t know if you paid attention or not, but there are 20 (twenty) such cases you can format your text into. I haven’t even heard of half of them, like SpoNGe CaSe, Train-Case, MACRO_CASE, param-case…
Check out the Change case extension here.
5. Word Count
As I already said, I write a lot. On some places, like Twitter and blog posts, I need to know how many characters and words I have written. The usual workflow, before I got a Mac was to copy everything and go to charactercounteronline.com and paste my text there.
Context switching is always counterproductive, so I didn’t like the workflow. With the Word Count Raycast extension, I simply select the text and activate the extension from Raycast. Everything I need to know comes right before me, without me having to leave my place.
Isn’t this awesome or what?
6. YouTube Downloader
Sometimes, I need to download YouTube videos, especially poems for my kid.
Up until I discovered Raycast, I used to try various online services and websites but the experience was terrible. With the bombardment of ads and artificial limits being imposed on the resolution of videos, it was not ideal.
The YouTube downloader extension for Raycast changed all that. Now, to download a YouTube video (or its audio), I just need its URL. Nothing more, seriously!
The interface couldn’t be simpler. There’s a textbox to put in the URL of the video and a dropdown to select the required resolution and format (video/audio).
After filling in the details, you just need to press
Command + Enter and your video is downloaded.
This tip brings me to my next point.
7. Downloads Manager
I download lots of things for my content creation needs: YouTube videos, images, graphics, PDFs. It is no surprise therefore that I open my downloads folder dozens of times a day, sometimes to open the recently downloaded file, other times to copy it.
It is for this reason that I installed the Downloads Manager extension for Raycast. It puts some of my most frequently performed actions at my fingertips.
I can quickly open the latest download, reveal it in Finder, or copy it for use in other apps without opening the download folder at all.
8. Quit Applications
One of my gripes with MacOS is that it’s not as easy to kill applications as it is in Windows. Clicking the red cross symbol (❌) closes only the active window of the app, not the app itself. It means that the app keeps on running in the background sapping valuable CPU power and battery.
One of the methods to close apps for good in MacOS is to focus on the app window and then press the keyboard shortcut
Command + Q. Another is to open the activity monitor and manually close them one by one using the trackpad. Both methods are inefficient.
With the Quit Applications extension, this task is made just a little easier. You pull up Raycast, type in QA (short for Quit Applications), and select the app you want to quit.
Could it get any simpler?
9. List Installed Extensions
I am an insatiably curious guy, especially when it comes to tech stuff. I try lots of apps, extensions, and websites, just for the fun of it.
Therefore, I always need an extension to keep track of all the extensions that I have installed on my device.
The List Installed Extensions makes this process just a little easier. I can not only glance at all the available extensions but can also access their URLs to share them with others.
To give you a taste of what it can do, I generated the following list of all the installed extensions in my Raycast setup using this extension:—
- Brew (https://raycast.com/nhojb/brew)
- Change Case (https://raycast.com/erics118/change-case)
- Coffee (https://raycast.com/mooxl/coffee)
- Downloads Manager (https://raycast.com/thomas/downloads-manager)
- Google Search (https://raycast.com/mblode/google-search)
- List Installed Extensions (https://raycast.com/pernielsentikaer/installed-extensions)
- Kill Process (https://raycast.com/rolandleth/kill-process)
- Mem (https://raycast.com/brianfakhoury/mem)
- Quit Applications (https://raycast.com/mackopes/quit-applications)
- ScreenOCR (https://raycast.com/huzef44/screenocr)
- System Monitor (https://raycast.com/hossammourad/raycast-system-monitor)
- Todoist (https://raycast.com/doist/todoist)
- Visual Studio Code (https://raycast.com/thomas/visual-studio-code)
- Word Count (https://raycast.com/itsmingjie/word-count)
- YouTube Downloader (https://raycast.com/vimtor/youtube-downloader)
I saved this extension for the last because some people may consider it to be a little advanced.
Homebrew is an awesome way to install apps on your Mac. With Homebrew, you don’t need to scour the internet for the app you need nor do you need to download its
.dmg file. You just need a homebrew command which, when run in your terminal, downloads and installs the package, all by itself.
Suppose, I want to install the VLC media player on my Mac, I could look for its homebrew command using the Brew extension for Raycast. This is what it looks like:
/opt/homebrew/bin/brew install --cask vlc
Running this command in the terminal installs VLC. The only condition is that your system should remain connected to an internet connection for it to download the required files.
Raycast has such a wonderful community of developers that I believe this list will only grow. Extensions are a big reason why people are recommending Raycast over Alfred.
There are even some Raycast extensions that can replace stand-alone apps. I have compiled a list of such extensions here if you are interested.
Nowadays, If I need a functionality, I don’t look for an app. I first scour the Raycast store to look for an extension. I search the internet for apps only if I don’t find them in the Raycast store.
Thanks for reading. Bye 👋.
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