Is there a way on the mac (os x 10.6) to launch multiple apps in a single command?

10 Answers 10


I think using Applescript would be the best way. First open up your AppleScript Editor.app then type in the following:

tell application "Mail" to activate
tell application "iCal" to activate

Of course that's just a show of concept, customise it as you see fit. Then save it as an application. Now you can either double click it to launch all your applications or use a launcher like Quicksilver or Launchbar.

  • I'd like a bit of software that allows you to group software and launch them all, like a launchy type thing – Mild Fuzz Nov 17 '10 at 11:36
  • Hah, that why the activate didn't work, I forgot the quotes – Raynet Nov 17 '10 at 11:56
  • Each activate command blocks the script until the application has finished opening. open -a iTunes or tell app "Finder" to open POSIX file "/Applications/iTunes.app" wouldn't. – Lri Sep 20 '12 at 7:44

In terminal you could do:

open -a TextEdit ; open -a Safari

To open both TextEdit and Safari, or same with Applescript:

do shell script "open -a TextEdit"

do shell script "open -a Safari"

You can then save the Applescript as an App you can click on.

Or you could use launcher application like Launchpad, Another Launcher or Quicksilver.

  • to make this perfect, I would need to know how to launch terminal to the focusses finder window, resize and reposition windows and hide finder dock – Mild Fuzz Nov 17 '10 at 12:22

I decided to look on how to run multiple applications and I found out that you have to split it – for example

tell application "Calculator"
tell application "Calculator"   
end tell

wouldn't work, so it took me a little bit but then it hit me so then I did this to make it work:

tell application "Calculator"
end tell

tell application "Calculator"
end tell

and it worked.

  • 1
    Or just tell app "Calculator" to run in one line. – slhck Sep 19 '12 at 19:26

I'd like a bit of software that allows you to group software and launch them all, like a launchy type thing

Quicksilver is a launchy comparable tool. I think comma separated multiple invocations/commands. (e.g. A,M,S for Adium, Mail, Safari)

  • 1
    Quicksilver is dead, try Alfred instead alfredapp.com (not that I know if it allows groupings) – o0'. Nov 17 '10 at 15:05
  • @Lo'oris thanks for the info, I've been using Launchbar for the past year or so, and only recently started to evaluate Alfred. – Daniel Beck Nov 17 '10 at 15:33
  • For current releases of quicksilver see qsapp.com – Hotschke Sep 5 '16 at 15:41

What you're looking for is Multiple Launcher.

Multiple Launcher X is an Mac OS X-native application allowing users to create a stand-alone launcher that can open multiple items, both files and folders. Multiple Launcher X also allow users to create aliases to open documents from customized applications, for example, you can ask Preview to open the Photoshop documents. The editor fully supports drag&drop feature.


Alfred Powerpack users can launch groups of apps with one command.

If you prefer a free version use jon2512chua's answer and create an Applescript.

tell application "Sparrow" to activate
tell application "Google Chrome" to activate

Then save it as an application and as run only. Then use Alfred to launch it with one command just like any other application.


Your original question and your comments to answers are not quite the same thing.

You might consider looking at ReLaunch, to launch groups of applications.


Using Alfred, you can launch multiple apps at once.

For example, if you set all your development apps with Spotlight Comments "devapps", you'd then launch Alfred, type "devapps" then use the hotkey for "Action all visible results" (set it in General > Results prefs) and all apps would open at once.


nano start.sh
open /Applications/app1.app/
open /Applications/app2.app/


then sudo chmod a+x start.sh

later on from CLI:


Since 2014 (https://blog.obdev.at/the-sixth-sense/) Launchbar supports quicksilver's comma trick which is here called staging or multiple selection or the sixth sense.

  • +Space to invoke Launchbar
  • Enter text for Textedit.app
  • Press , to add current object to the staging area
  • Enter calendar for Calendar.app
  • Press , + ↩︎ to open both apps.

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