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When your Mac is the hubbub of your home office, you want to outfit it with productivity tools that actually make you, well, productive, more efficient, and maybe a little faster at what you do. I introduced my first list of Mac productivity tools back in April, and in between that time, I’ve also written about powerful automation programs like Keyboard Maestro, Hazel, and BetterTouchTool.
Today I will be highlighting another set of tools I regularly access. They each have a single purpose that makes them practical and easy to use for most Mac-based home office activities. All of them, except QuickCursor, can be downloaded from the Mac App Store.
There are plenty of screenshot applications for the Mac, in addition to the OS X default (Command+Shift+4) method that’s been around for a long time. ScreenFloat allows you to take a shot of anything on your desktop, and the resulting capture will float on your desktop until you click it away or save it.
This is a great tool for when you need to reference information, e.g., a license key, a list of application updates that typically disappear after you click the download button, or a set of menu bar items that you’re trying to learn.
ScreenFloat shots remain on your desktop as long you want, but when you’re done, you can decide to delete them or have them automatically saved to the Shots Browser. You can organize shots into collections, or smart collections based on a set of rules. You can also add the screenshots taken with other applications to the browser.
SnappyApp does the same thing as ScreenFloat, but with a few differences that you may or may not prefer. For one, SnappyApp automatically saves all your quick floating screenshots. Its browser, which is accessed via Snaps From the Past in the application’s menu bar icon, sorts your saved clips chronologically or by the application the shot was taken in.
Unlike ScreenFloat, you can’t create folders to organize shots. Which of these applications you choose largely depends on how you prefer to manage your shots. Another cool feature in SnappyApp is that you can capture an entire webpage based on the URL you give it.
The app also allows you to share screenshots taken with SnappyApp to your Facebook page, as an email attachment, or share a link via a post on the SnappyApp website.
If you’re trying to stay paper free in your home office, NumbNotes may come in handy for when you need to perform some quick calculations and save the results. You can use NumbNotes to save and label calculations and retrieve them all in one place.
To use use NumbNotes, click on the + button the side panel, entire a title for your calculation, and then use either the number keys on your keyboard or the built-in keyboard in NumbNotes to do the math.
You can also select individual equations and then have NumbNotes calculate the sum, average, medium and so on. NumbNotes isn’t cheap, but I like to use it instead of Excel or Numbers for keeping track of quick calculations.
Houdini is a magical little application that helps de-clutter your desktop by automatically hiding opened applications when they are left open in the background for a specified period of time. So, for example, when you’re done with Mail and switch to another application, Houdini will hide Mail after a specified period of inactivity.
Each of your opened applications automatically appears in Houdini’s drop-down menu, which is accessed via the menu bar. From there you can adjust the inactivity time for each application, from Never Hide to up to 5 minutes. After you start using the application, you’ll make the time adjustments based on your workflow with different apps.
Little Bookmark Box ($14.99)
To keep from adding temporary URLs to my Safari bookmark folders, I sometimes use Little Bookmark Box to quickly store and manage links that I want to retrieve later.
The best way to use Little Bookmark Box is to keep its web extension in your Safari toolbar, so you can click on it to quickly add a link to the Little Bookmark Box collection. Links can be managed in Little Bookmark Box using custom folders, and Smart Boxes, which are based on a set of rules you give them for automatically collecting links.
You can also simply drag URLs to the Little Bookmark Box icon in the menu bar. This Mac gem is a little expensive for what it does, but it might be worth the fee if you think it will save you time and clutter when storing and accessing links.
Stay Productive and Save Time
Thanks to the thoughtful and creative developers of these applications, our Mac home office setups can help us get things done with less hassle and clicking, which should be a goal for all Mac power users. I’m sure there are even more Mac productivity gems that I’ve overlooked, so please share your favorites and how you use them.
Have you used any of these apps? Any others that you swear by? Don’t forget to let us know what we’re missing by leaving a comment below.