5 Essential Mac apps for shortcut fans
Although Apple designed Leopard such that it makes you more productive than ever, eg. quicklook, spotlight, there are still more room for getting more out of your Mac. With the help of third party apps like the following, working on your Mac on a day to day basis becomes faster, you get more done and feel happier. Trust me, saving a bit of time here and there, will save you tons in the long run.
Also, these apps made me realize that by using the keyboard rather than the mouse, you get tasks complete faster.
1 & 2) TextExpander (Mac) & Wide Email (iPhone)
Both softwares work similarly on both platforms, saving you time typing texts both on your Mac and on the go.
They allow you to insert pre-typed long sentences or paragraphs just by typing a few letters. For eg. if you assign “cu” to “See you later!”, typing “cu” will insert “See you later!” into any text fields. With a little bit of imagination, you can use this concept and apply to all areas of your activity on your Mac (Wide Email on iPhone only allows you to expand text for Mail).
I have tried both apps and I must say they increased my productivity tenfold.
Storing snippets and assigning abbreviations
Expands few letters into chunks of texts
A few uses for TextExpander
1) Frequently visited URLs (eg if you love to visit the apple store frequently. “;a” expands to “http://www.apple.com”)
2) Commenting on blogs (eg. “;n” expands to “your full name”, “;e” expands to “email@example.com”, “;u” expands to “http://www.yourdomain.com”
3) Emails (eg. “lf” expands to “Looking forward to hearing from you. Thanks!”)
4) Providing someone with your address (eg. “addr” expands to your full address)
5) If you’re a coder, even better, typing a few letters will insert long snippets of code, speeding up your work
Wide Email on the iPhone ($0.99):
Typing faster in landscape mode
Assigning text shortcuts
All your frequently used texts and their shortcuts
With so many other landscape email typing apps on the App Store, Wide Email have an edge as it lets you type long sentences (which could be cumbersome on the iPhone) by typing a few letters, similar to TextExpander. You can also store drafts for later sending and read or reuse a draft as a template. All these should have been shipped with the iPhone in my
3 & 4) QuickSilver (Launch Apps) & MsgFiler (for Apple Mail)
Why I group both QuickSilver and MsgFiler is because both apps helps you perform daily tasks just by typing a few letters.
QuickSilver lets you launch apps quickly, eventually you’ll be able to launch any apps without thinking. That is true after prolonged usage of QuickSilver, you’ll wonder why you ever lived without it. I was skeptical about QuickSilver at first, thinking how much more faster can you launch an app when all your apps are already on the dock, isn’t it just a click and launch affair? But if you agree with me that using your keyboard is faster than using your mouse, then QuickSilver is for you.
Typing a default hot key combination on your keyboard <Ctrl + Space> you’ll launch the QuickSilver screen, for example if you want to launch Safari, quickly type “sa” which is basically the first few letters of the name of that app, when you see Safari’s icon on the screen, hit <Return> and you’ll launch the app. No more looking for that app on your overcrowded dock and attempting to point your mouse to it to launch it.
Other than launching apps, there are also other tricks you can perform with it.
MsgFiler ($8, free to use forever if you don’t mind the occasional nag screen)
If you think dragging your email messages into their respective folders in Mail is the only way to go, you’re wrong. MsgFiler gives you a much faster way to do it.
Select an email item, similar to QuickSilver, type the default hot key combination on your keyboard <Command + 9) to launch MsgFiler window, then type the first few letters of the name of the folder you want to file the email in and hit <Return>.
This saves you from scrolling through and finding the folder that you want the email to be filed, and then dragging the message in. Searching and hiting <return> is faster as with QuickSilver.
5) 1Password (Mac) 1Password (iPhone or Palm)
1Password desktop interface
1Password plugin on Safari
1Password securely remembers your personal details ($39.95 Single License for Desktop, Free for iPhone)
If you ever find yourself tired of filling out forms, entering login details, forgetting passwords, digging through your wallet to find that credit card number to make an online purchase, remembering your bank account number so that you can write it on a cheque, remembering your passport’s date of issue and expiry date when buying an air ticket, remembering FTP logins or software serial numbers etc, 1Password solves this part of your problem.
Not only that, you can also take the same data with you by syncing your iPhone or Palm with your desktop.
One great feature about 1Password is that the app installs a plugin on your web browser so that it saves your login information on any site without having you to manually recording it on the app.
Clicking on the “1P” icon on Safari for example will log you in immediately on any login page (if you have saved the login previously).
Hope you enjoy these apps if you decide to use them!