Being a designer and “web guy” by default means I’m a longtime Mac user, so I’m always interested in new Mac applications. Over the past year or so I’ve started to use two productivity Mac apps in particular and now they’re such a part of my workflow every day that I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to live without them. Well, I guess I could live without them but you know what I mean. These two awesome mac apps that I speak of are Alfred and Keyboard Maestro. Here’s the scoop as to why they’re so invaluable:
- Alfred. Sick of moving your mouse and clicking to find that file 42 levels deep on the server? Well Alfred is your man. With my buddy Alfred, I can find files faster than Spotlight, manage my clipboard (records what you’ve copied and cut), search the web, control iTunes and do plenty more all with my right hand never leaving the keyboard to use the mouse. If you need actual proof of just how useful this app is, here are my usage stats from Alfred himself: “Since May 4, 2011, Alfred has been used 11,753 times. Average 29.3 times per day.” Keep in mind that this is my work computer and, therefore, weekends are not included. So there you go. The proof is in the data. There’s a free and a paid version of Alfred and you can learn more on their site here.
- Keyboard Maestro. There’s no easy way to describe this app, but it’s basically like having an assistant. My love affair began with Keyboard Maestro after I needed to find an app that would aid me in typing long job codes into my timesheets that would otherwise be a pain to copy and paste so frequently. I also needed some way to automate my copy and pasting fields from said timesheet on Google docs over to our agency system that I access via RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol, slides glasses back up nose).
Enter Keyboard Maestro. This powerful macro program (a macro is a rule or pattern that specifies how a particular input sequence should be mapped out) for Mac OS X can pretty much do anything you can do on your Mac. In fact, you can create macros, or rules, by recording yourself doing complex (or simple) tasks on your Mac and then Keyboard Maestro, when prompted, will perform the actions itself. If there’s anything you type out frequently you can also use a trigger string. For example: when I type “=e=” it is immediately replaced by my email address. I depend on this application to systematize tasks that would require repetitive and tedious clicks and selections otherwise. My work, therefore, is more efficient because of it. Quite the limitless possibilities, wouldn’t you say? This is merely scratching the surface of what Keyboard Maestro can do with its macros though. Learn more at the Stairways Software website here.
Further Reading on Productivity Mac Apps
- The 35 Best Mac Apps (PCMag.com)
- Best of 2011 Nominations: Productivity Mac apps (TUAW)
- The 10 Best Productivity Mac Apps of 2011 (The Next Web)
Any Mac users out there with some favorite productivity apps of your own? Let us know by commenting below. Or give Alfred and/or Maestro a shot and report back to us.