For those of you who are determined to be the most productive possible this year, we’re recommending a few handy applications, and great tips that will definitely help you out.
The popular, free application, Evernote, is a must have for someone who wants all their notes, information and documents with them wherever they are.
Evernote helps millions of people across the globe remember everything that happens in their lives. It can be used to take notes, save web pages, create to-dos and shopping lists, attach images and PDFs and so much more. What’s more, it automatically synchronises between your mac, smartphone, tablet and the web. Giving you everything you need, whenever you need it.
No wonder it was inducted into the Apple ‘App Hall of Fame’.
Evernote released version 5 earlier this year, with some 100 new features. See here for more info on Version 5.
Evernote is currently at version 5.0.4 and requires Mac OS X 10.6.6 or later and is available through the App Store or the Evernote site.
Free Memory is an application that can be found for free on the app store. It enables you to increase your memory with a simple click. Some applications on your mac chew through a lot of your ram, leaving little work with. Sometimes, you can’t open another application because of this. However, with Free Memory, a simple click is all that’s needed, and the application will get to working freeing up as much ram as it can, so you can work faster and more productively.
Free Memory is currently at version 1.7.1 and requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later and is available through the App Store or the Free Memory site.
Skitch is a free app found on the App Store, that allows you to communicate visually with others. Images can be annotated with arrows, shapes, text, scribbles and much more. Then save or share your skitch annotation in order to help others see and understand your ideas.
By signing into Skitch via Evernote, you’ll always have your files with you. You’ll never have to worry about accidentally leaving something behind again. You’ll be able to Sync, Search and Share all of your files to whomever you wish.
Skitch is currently at version 2.0.4 and requires Mac OS X 10.7.4 or later and is available through the App Store or the Skitch site.
Alfred app launcher.
We have talked about Alfred before, but if you haven’t yet checked it out, you should. Alfred is a free keyboard-driven productivity application from the App Store, allows you to launch apps and search your computer and the web with great speed.
Through the use of a quick shortcut, Alfred is able to:
- Launch any application living on your mac. Alfred will also learn which apps you use the most and prioritise them when you search.
- Quickly find and open files, bookmarks, contacts, music and more. Never again will you be stuck wondering where you saved that all important missing file.
- Search or launch your favourite websites
- Control your mac’s basic functions, such as empty the trash, start the Screen Saver, restart, shut down, and more.
I’m a prolific Spotlight user and much like Spotlight, Alfreds default shortcut is “Option + Spacebar” which brings up a search query on the desktop. My most used example is searching ‘maps (suburb)’ which then opens a browser or tab in an already open browser and takes me straight to the search results within Google Maps. Very quick and useful.
Alfred is currently at version 1.2 and requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later and is available either through the App Store or the AlfredApp website.
The Unarchiver is a free application available from the App Store that enables you to unarchive many different kinds of archive files.
Common formats such as Zip, RAR, 7-zip are easily openable. Other formats such as ISO and BIN disc images are also openable with The Unarchiver. The list for compatible programs is actually much larger, we’ve only selected a few. For the full list visit the program’s homepage here.
The Unarchiver also tries to detect and correctly handle the encoding of the filenames it opens. This allows you to open archived files from across the globe without getting garbled filenames.
The Unarchiver is currently at version 3.6.1 and requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later and is available through the App Store or The Unarchiver site.
In regards to handy little tips and tricks, here’s a few that will help you reach your productivity goals.
- Use the Dictionary directly from Spotlight – click the Magnifying glass top right of the screen (or CMD & Spacebar) and type away.
- Quickly create a folder for selected items – select multiple items on desktop, right click and select ‘New folder with selection’ (Command Z to undo)
- Use Spaces? You can have different wallpapers for each desktop. You’ll find the System Preferences Change Desktop background option pertains to the currently viewed space and for future created spaces. It will leave existing spaces as they are now.
- Command+Option+H to hide every window and application except for the foreground app (as opposed to just Command + H to hide the current app)
- Screen brightness changes in quarter-steps: Shift-Option+brightness button
- Volume changes in quarter step increments: Shift-Option+volume button
- cmd + tab switches applications, while held, you can also choose what application you want by clicking on the icon.
- Find yourself often using the same menu option within an application? Then consider creating a keyboard shortcut straight to it from within System preferences, Keyboard and Application Shortcuts within that. Click the plus button to then choose the specific application, the menu based shortcut and the keyboard shortcut you would to like to assign. Example – Wendy made a shortcut to ‘Print PDF.
Apple also has a variety of gestures built into OS X that are usable through your trackpad or Magic trackpad. Click on the link below to find out more about gestures, and how they may benefit you.