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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

DPP Solutions: Set Up For Success

Essential applications for Mac users to keep your business running efficiently

Microsoft Word is both ubiquitous and cumbersome. If you're trying to craft some creative prose, you want to eliminate distractions. iA Writer comes to the rescue with the ability to enter Full Screen Mode and shut out distractions, and a Focus Mode that dims everything in the document except the current paragraph for a Zen-like writing experience. $4.99. iawriter.com/mac
Signing PDFs
I can't count how many times I've needed to sign a document and send it back to someone when there's no fax machine in sight. I used to rely on PDFSigner for this (and for filling out forms), but with the most recent update to OS X, the built-in Preview performs this and more. I mention this as the only Apple-included tool in this roundup because most people don't realize that Preview can do document signing, image cropping, resizing and more.

The category of small, single-use apps is probably my favorite. I love little tools to solve little (yet thorny) problems. Here are a few great one-offs.

Skitch. Take screenshots and mark them up with captions, arrows and more. Skitch was bought by Evernote, so now screen captures can be synced instantly through Evernote. Free. evernote.com/skitch

Printopia. Turn any Mac-connected printer into an AirPrint-compatible device, allowing you to print to it from an iPad or iPhone. $19.95. ecamm.com/mac/printopia

Caffeine. Sometimes you need to keep your Mac from going to sleep. You could do this by changing your Energy Savings preferences, or you can launch Caffeine. It's great for giving presentations or demos. Free. lightheadsw.com/caffeine

Ambiance. Blast away background distractions with Ambiance, which features a nearly limitless array of white noise that you can play on your Mac or iOS device. $9.99. ambianceapp.com/desktop

Bartender. The Mac menu bar can get crowded pretty quickly (especially with Adobe's Creative Cloud running), and Bartender lets you turn on and off menu bar icons, rearrange them and hide ones that need to run, but don't need to be seen. For the OCD Mac user (like myself). $15. macbartender.com

A Better Finder Rename 9. There's no more cumbersome task than renaming a huge number of files in the Finder. A Better Finder Rename has saved me countless hours of manual labor with its ability to take any set of files and rename them with custom file naming, indexing and more. You can even create droplets to instantly rename a whole folder (or drive) full of images at once. $9.95. publicspace.net/ABetterFinderRename

Monolingual. When you install Mac applications, a lot of space can be taken up by resources for multiple languages. Most people never need to have their apps work in Urdu or Mandarin, so Monolingual strips multiple-language support from every app and OS element. For machines with very small hard drives (like a repurposed PowerBook), the few gigabytes the program removes can be a godsend. Free. monolingual.sourceforge.net

Flexiglass. This simple program gives the Mac user incredible control over Finder and application windows. Move a window without having to drag the toolbar, resize from any corner, snap windows to the edges­—this program is especially vital for anyone working on a portable device or small screen. $9.99. nulana.com/flexiglass

CleanMyMac 2. This handy program cleans up the log files, iPhoto database files and other things that can clutter a hard drive and slow down a Mac. CleanMyMac 2 can also remove language files (as does Monolingual). An overlooked feature of CleanMyMac 2 is the ability to delete an application along with all the various system files that are left behind. (Just tossing a program in the trash doesn't delete these system files.) $39.95. www.macpaw.com.


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