Frequently Asked Questions



Launching Items



Butler never finishes starting up. What can I do?

Try following these steps:

  1. kill Butler (with Activity Monitor or Jaguar's Process Viewer)
  2. delete Butler's pasteboards cache (located at "/Users/your home directory/Library/Application Support/Butler/Pasteboards.plist")
  3. relaunch Butler

If that doesn't work, try this:

  1. kill Butler (with Activity Monitor or Jaguar's Process Viewer)
  2. make sure Safari is not running
  3. delete Safari's icon cache (located at "/Users/your home directory/Library/Safari/Icons")
  4. relaunch Butler

If it still doesn't work: [email protected].

I don't have access to a "Customize configuration..." control anymore. How can I open Butler's main window to customize my configuration, to access my preferences, or to quit Butler?

You can always bring Butler's main window to the front by double-clicking on Butler's application icon while Butler is already running.

Butler's main window is too small to display all of its content or doesn't appear at all. The rest of Butler seems to work fine. What can I do?

Try deleting Butler's preferences file (at "/Users/your home directory/Library/Preferences/de.petermaurer.Butler.plist") while Butler is not running. Doing so will not affect your configuration.

Is it reasonable to use Butler even though I don't need all of its features? (Is Butler bloated?)

The functionality of a typical Smart Item (such as "Recent Pasteboards" or "Simulate Keystrokes", for instance) only requires a minimal amount of code. Most of the code in a separate application for such a task would have to deal with the user interface. That's not the case with Butler, because the same interface is used for many tasks.

Combining tasks in one single application is much more efficient than having one application per task. And if you don't use a certain feature, just switch it off (e.g., set the number of recent pasteboards to zero to switch off Butler's pasteboards cache functionality).

Simply put, Butler's footprint would not differ significantly if it only had half the functionality.

Why can't I drag Butler's menu bar items around in my menu bar? (Why are these not "true" menu extras?)

Apple doesn't want third-party apps to behave like usual menus or "menu extras" (cf. Apple's menu bar clock, volume and display menus). So we're left with what apple calls "status items". These cannot be moved by dragging them while holding the [command] modifier key.

There are ways to create such "menu extras" despite Apple's recommendations; but doing so requires patching the operating system. And that's something I just don't want to do.

Why is searching for abbreviations so much slower than in earlier versions of Butler?

Butler 4.0b23 has brought the possibility to search folders for abbreviations with infinite recursion. This change might have applied automatically to some of your "Folder" items. Please try limiting the level of recursion for those "Folder" items that don't require infinite recursion.

Can I launch several items at once?

Yes. To enable this feature, select a container and check the "May be launched as a group from the menu" setting in the Inspector. You will now be able to launch all direct children of this container at once by selecting the appropriate menu item. If you have assigned a hot key to the container in question, you can also have that hot key open all (immediate) children of the container in question.

Most users use this feature for opening several bookmarks at once. Depending on your browser's settings, bookmarks will either open in separate windows or as tabs in the frontmost window. Non-bookmark items will launch by themselves (e.g. applications) or open in the application you specified in the Inspector.

With the dock, I can launch files by dropping them on an application's icon. Is there similar functionality in Butler?

Yes. You can drag files to Butler's icons in the menu bar, i.e. the ones you normally click to access Butler's menus. After dropping the dragged files there, the respective menu will pop up. While a small window reminds you of what you were dragging, the menu lets you choose between the applications that are capable of opening that file.

If you want to force a non-enabled application to open the file in question, hold [option]-[command] while dropping the file on the menu bar icon.

I'd like to undo the latest changes I applied to my configuration. Is this possible?

Certainly, as long as you have not closed the Butler window yet. Just select the "Undo" menu item from the little wheel menu at the bottom left corner of Butler's main window. Or press [command]-[z].

I used to be able to assign abbreviations by checking radio buttons in the abbreviations window. Where did those buttons go?

They have vanished during a redesign of the abbreviations window. You can now assign abbreviations by selecting the appropriate menu item from the abbreviations window's context menu. To access this context menu, hold the [control] key and click on the item you want to manipulate. You can also use the right mouse button if your mouse has more than one button.

Is there a way to automatically update dynamic contents, such as the system preferences list or external bookmarks?

As far as menus are concerned, there is no need to do so, as these are always up-to-date. There are some exceptions to this rule, however: As searching for applications is rather time-consuming, updating of the "Applications list" Smart Item depends on the "Update" control or the time interval you set in your "Update applications list" preference. The same applies to your iTunes music library.

If you did not choose "always up-to-date" for entering abbreviations, the same applies to updating your abbreviations cache.

Why are there custom icons for some bookmarked web sites, but generic icons for others?

Butler displays custom icons (so-called "favicons") when all of the following requirements are met:

There's a "Screen (n)" pop-up menu for several settings in Butler (e.g., hot corners). Why can't I choose a screen from that menu?

To ease future localization, the interface for multiple screens support has already been added to Butler. However, actual multiple screens support has not been implemented yet. Sorry.