fast, free, app launcher for mac...

I know Apple's new Lion operating system has several new cool features like Launchpad and Mission Control to help you work more efficiently, but I have long searched for a simple, fast way to launch apps without having my hands leave the keyboard. I have tried many over the years and I finally settled on Spotlight

I know what you are thinking, "Isn't spotlight  the search tool used to find files on your Mac?". You are correct, but here is a tip on how to easily modify it to work as an app launcher as well. Of course, it is still a very powerful search utility that can also find and launch just about anything on your Mac.The good news is that Spotlight has been included with all Mac's since 2005 and the changes you need to make this tip work are very simple.

Go to the System Preferences on your Mac and select Spotlight. Then simply drag APPLICATIONS to the top of the list so that applications will be listed first in a search. You should also check to see what the shortcut keys are set to on your mac (highlighted here in this screen shot).Now you simply type "command + space bar" and spotlight search comes up. Type the name of the app you want (in this example I want to launch the calculator without having to go find it in the Applications folder and without having to keep it in my dock all the time as I don't use it that much) and as you type the filter will make the "Top Hit" be an application and highlight it as well.

So in the end, I type "command + spacebar" … type "calc"… and as soon as "calculator" is highlighted… hit the return key.

Give it a try and see if you don't get addicted to it. And at the same time, start kicking yourself for not having used it more over all these years!