3 Apps No OS X User Should Live Without

TextExpander

TextExpander saves users hours of time over the course of a year by allowing them to turn redundant typing tasks into a few short keystrokes.

Apple has built some functions similar to TextExpander into OS X - you can set shortcuts that trigger your keyboard to print out additional words, but it's still not nearly as powerful as TextExpander. TextExpander's particularly useful for dates and other pieces of information that may change over time but are easily obtainable on the web or on your computer. It takes some thought, but I'm sure there are a dozen ways TextExpander could make your work life much easier.

Here are some of my favorite TextExpander shortcuts ("snippets"):

  • email lists
  • email subject lines that require day of the week or a date 
  • multiple email signatures
  • command line arguments (These were particularly useful while grading this previous semester) 
  • skeleton code for types of programs
  • pseudocode of common algorithms
  • common file names, particularly ones that include dates
  • websites I frequent

TextExpander can be synchronized (via Dropbox) across all of your devices. There is a growing list of iOS applications that have built in TextExpander support, and TextExpander has its own keyboard that will allow you to use your snippets anywhere you want. 

BetterTouchTool

Windows doesn't do many things better than OS X, but it still holds a huge lead when it comes to intuitive window snapping. But never fear! BetterTouchTool is here to bring you intuitive window snapping that doesn't require you to do that silly full screen thing Apple baked into OS X.

You can easily put your text editor on the right side of the screen, while safely placing your browser on the left. Then watch your productivity EXPLODE.

That barely scratches the top of what BetterTouchTool can do. It just happens to be my favorite feature and the main reason I make sure its installed on every computer I use. You can also add gestures for your various input devices - trackpad, mouse, keyboard, etc. It's free, so you should definitely download it just to take a look.

1Password - OS X ($32), Windows ($32), iOS (Free)

There is a lot of debate over exactly what makes a "great" password. Some websites prefer you have a number and a character in a password. Others won't let you use your name. Some even require you use two-factor authentication no matter what. Regardless of the rules you use to create your passwords, there's one rule you should always follow: make a different password for EVERY LOGIN. 

But how are you supposed to generate and memorize all of these passwords? That's where 1Password comes in. 1Password synchronizes across all of your devices - it puts your passwords behind a master password on OS X, and on iOS it hides it behind your fingerprint. You can enter passwords, credit card numbers and pretty much any other piece of sensitive information you can think of into 1Password and access it from all of your devices. Even better, you don't even have to see your passwords with your own eyes because you can copy and paste them from the app directly into the appropriate field. That's right. The passwords are so secret you don't even have to see them.

The app also has browser extensions available for all major browsers, which allow you to utilize your passwords quickly and easily while also working to save new passwords into your vault as they're created.

 

In addition to these three applications there are - of course - many others. If you would like to hear about more ways to streamline your OS X workflow, listen to Integrate where Mikah and I are always discussing new applications and workarounds we have discovered to make our work lives more seamless.