Each year I look forward to rounding-up my top list of applications used throughout the year, and today I’ll start by listing my OS X picks. Highlighting my favorites also acknowledges the hard work of developers in creating awesome and constantly updated applications that address the needs and wishes of users.
There are several applications from my 2011 and 2012 favorites lists that should be re-listed for 2013, but I’ve decided to not to highlight applications from previous years, and instead focus on old and new Mac applications that have been especially useful in my workflow in 2013.
Keyboard Maestro ($36)
The Mac automation program Keyboard Maestro saves me tons of time, and I get a kick out of seeing how I can automate redundant tasks on my Mac.
Since I reviewed Keyboard Maestro back in May it has received a major upgrade to version 4.0 that includes Safari and Chrome actions, advanced sorting options, customizable icons for macros, wireless network triggering and much more. Keyboard Maestro was built for non-developers, so you don’t need to know how to code in order to use it.
Scrivener is great for writing research papers, ebooks, PDF guides, and novels because it enables users to keep all their notes, research sources, plus their main writing project in one place. Written documents can be exported to different formats, including Word and ePub or Kindle formats.
Download a free trial copy of Scrivener and check out our free PDF guide for the application.
Screenshot applications are plentiful for the Mac, but SnappyApp is a little screenshot gem I like to use when I need to capture and view something on desktop while I write. What’s different about SnappyApp is that it keeps screenshots above other applications instead of automatically saving them as a file on the desktop.
Simon’s extended review of SnappyApp describes its other useful features. If you work on your Mac throughout the day, you will probably benefit from this free app.
Though I referenced the automation program BetterTouchTool above, I think it must be also highlighted as a favorite because I use it several dozens times a day. BetterTouchTool enables users to activate actions on their Mac using assigned finger gestures on their trackpad or Magic Mouse.
I use BTT to close application windows, grab a quick screenshot, open selected webpages, move windows to my second monitor, play and pause Rdio and iTunes and execute keyboard shortcuts in different applications among others. This application saves me the trouble of remembering and typing keyboard shortcuts, and it works surprisingly well with Keyboard Maestro. BetterTouchTool is not available in the Mac App Store, but it can be downloaded from the developer’s website for free.
Dropzone is another productivity app useful for all types of actions, including moving files, exporting images to ImageShack, Flickr, or Dropbox, executing Automator workflows, and launching applications and folders—either in the menu bar or from the left or right side of Mac screen.
I use Dropzone for resizing a file with Photoshop, sending a file to a project or junk folder, batch renaming and quickly installing applications in a .DMG file.
Though I use Tweetbot on my iOS devices, I switched back to TweetDeck on my Mac. Both twitter clients have similar functions, but I prefer TweetDeck for quickly adding and deleting search and hashtag columns, scheduling tweets for later posting, and posting tweets to multiple accounts.
The one Tweetbot feature missing in TweetDeck is the ability to mute and ignore, for a specified amount of time, people who may be posting too many tweets you find annoying. TweetDeck does though allow for filtering timelines based various criteria, including a specified number of retweets, favorites, and keywords.
Despite lying dormant for some time, Twitter started work on both the standalone OS X Twitter app as well as TweetDeck for OS X in 2013 and it now enjoys Retina support and improved compatibility.
CleanMyMac 2 ($39.95)
To run maintenance on my iMac and MacBook Air, I use CleanMyMac, which cleans out user and system cache files, user logs, broken preferences, foreign language files, forgotten system log files, and other junk that may be taking up memory space. While writing this article, CleanMyMac scanned and cleaned 5.3GB of files on my Mac, including residue left over from applications I had previously deleted.
Alfred is best known as an application launcher, but its recent major update added the ability for users to create powerful automatic workflows that can be launched with an assigned keyboard shortcut.
I use Alfred mostly for quickly running a “I’m Feeling Lucky” Google and MUO keyword search, which skips the search results page and goes directly to the first ranked page for the keyword or phrase. To get more details, see my article how to create Alfred search workflows.
History Hound ($14.95)
History Hound is a little time saver that works in the background periodically scanning my browsers’ caches, history, and bookmarks. When I need to find something among the web pages I’ve visited in the last several days, weeks or even months, I can do a simple keyword search, and History Hound locates and filters search results.
Pages can be even be viewed in the built-in browser, making this the perfect history enhancement for anyone who uses more than one browser.
While there are some things I don’t like about Evernote, the built-in highlighter tool, the improved web clipper, the ability to add notes and notebooks as shortcuts in the top-level sidebar, as well as other upgrades, have made it more user friendly for reading and writing longer form documents, and syncing content between other Apple devices.
What Are Your Favorites?
That’s it for my favorites for the year. Did I get it right? Have you got any other favourite apps you’ve discovered or simply relied on a lot over the past year? Let us know in the comments!