I am a Mac person. I used to work on PC’s but (to show my age) the first computers I became familiar with in the 1980’s were Apple computers. I worked at the on-campus ad agency on my college campus and loved the user interface and just ha“jived” with it. In the 1990’s my workplaces were PC-focused, so I became familiar and comfortable with the PC, but never loved it. When buying my first home computers, I chose PCs because they were compatible with what I had at work and also with my budget.
Once I started designing and developing websites, and switched to a Mac, I had a lot of catching up to do to learn all the tricks and apps and shortcuts available to speed up my workflow and make life easier.
Some of these apps may not be specific to Mac, or there may be a PC counterpart.
I installed this app a while ago and use it effectively and simply as a replacement for the Mac Spotlight. But when I read over more documentation in preparing this post, I discovered a whole new set of awesome tools that Alfred offers. Alfred boosts your efficiency with hotkeys and keywords. I set up workflows which allows me to quickly launch applications and urls that I use often. Alfred also learns how you use your Mac and prioritises results when you type. Alfred can save countless hours by using hotkeys, keywords and customising how you want to search your Mac and activity history. Here is a great, in-depth guide to using Alfred.
Path Finder is also a replacement for a default Mac tool, The Finder. It is much more customizable than the Finder and makes scanning, moving, copying and deleting files super easy. It has previews of files and allows you to work with your files side-by-side in a customizable Dual Pane View instead of having to open a new Finder window. PathFinder also makes it easy to view hidden files and has Dropbox integration. Just link your account and you’re all set up.
Text Expander is one of those tools that, once you take the time to set it up, you won’t remember what it was like before you used it. What this tool does is create shortcuts for commonly used text that you type. For example, instead of typing my email address in forms and documents, I have a shortcut, emx; which automatically fills in my full email address. For webs development, code phrases such as !important, <div class=” and <a href=” can be a two character shortcut that can actually save a lot of time.
Hazel watches whatever folders you tell it to, automatically organizing your files according to the rules you create. I love using this to organize my Downloads folder, which can become unmanageable, by automatically moving downloaded files to subfolders based on their file type/extension. You can also have Hazel move files around based on name, date, type, what site/email address it came from (Safari and Mail only) and much more. Automatically put your music in your Music folder, movies in Movies. Another great features is using Hazel to manage your Trash.
I have mentioned before that I keep ALL my files in Dropbox. I sync my Dropbox folders and files to my desktop and laptop, allowing me seamless file sharing among devices ad with clients and collaborators. I don’t know what I would do without this app! I also have the Dropbox app on my phone, allowing me to add/link files in an email.