I constantly have the problem of the Launcher opening when I want to do something in an application; I also want Launcher to appear as quickly as possible to e.g. switch or boot up new applications. How can this be solved? Do I re-size windows so that the left edge is always to right of the Launcher? Thanks!
You can press the "Windows" button on the lower left of your keyboard to bring up the Dash without complication, although it can take a couple of seconds to come up sometimes on my computer.
You can use the gear at the top right of your screen, go to settings, appearance, and then the behavior tab. From there you can turn off "Autohide". If you want to keep autohide on you can also press Alt-F1 to bring the Launcher up.
Keyboard shortcuts can be very helpful when using Unity. Please see What are Unity's keyboard and mouse shortcuts?.