Forget menus, buttons, and confusing keyboard shortcuts. Try dragging and dropping for a faster workflow.
Regardless of the computer and operating system you’re using, drag-and-drop is a convenient way to move data from point A to point B. Many apps take advantage of this user-friendly mechanism to make computing quicker for you. Today we would like to introduce you Mac users to four such apps.
1. Yoink ($6.99, 15-day Free Trial)
Drag and drop is an easy way to transfer files most of the time. It does feel awkward though if you have to move through a maze of apps, folders, or windows to drop files into the right destination. Yoink solves this problem by giving you a temporary area to store your files.
With Yoink installed, you first drag files to its drop zone and let go of the mouse. Next, you navigate to the correct destination and then drop the files there by dragging them out of Yoink. No death grip on the mouse or desperate edge-of-the-trackpad maneuvers required!
Yoink appears automatically when you drag a file. Its window is docked to the left edge of the screen. You can customize the window size and position from the menu hidden behind the tiny gear icon in the app window. Hop over to Yoink’s Preferences section for a few extra settings.
You can also preview files right from Yoink. Hover over any file you have dragged to the app window and you should see the Quick Look icon appear. Below this icon, you’ll find a “lock” icon, which you can click if you want to protect the file reference in the Yoink window from deletion. Of course, you can delete the file itself from Finder.
Are you looking for an app that supports more actions than just file transfer? Skip Yoink and go with Dropzone ($10). Our review of Dropzone 3 will tell you what you need to know about this advanced drag-and-drop app.
2. Send to Kindle for Mac (Free)
Did you know that Amazon has a desktop app that allows you to send ebooks, documents, and articles to your Kindle app or reader? I didn’t. If I had, I wouldn’t have bothered with USB cables, Amazon’s Send to Email settings, and so on. As it turns out, the Send to Kindle app is a much simpler way to transfer local documents from your Mac to your Kindle.
Once you install the app, all you have to do is drag and drop documents onto the app’s dock icon. The app then takes care of delivering them to your Kindle.
Of course, you’ll need to connect your Kindle to the internet for the transferred documents to show up. If they don’t appear automatically, syncing your Kindle should fix that problem.
If you would like Amazon to convert PDFs to the Kindle format before delivering them, you can specify this under Options > General > Conversion. You’ll find the Options button at the top right when you open the Send to Kindle app.
The app adds a Send to Kindle option to files in Finder. You’ll be able to select it from the file’s context menu or right-click menu, although sometimes you’ll have to look under the Services option in the menu.
You’ll also find the Send to Kindle option in the Print dialog within Mac applications. This is great if you want to send one-off articles from the web straight to Kindle without bothering with third-party tools. You could also print a bunch of articles and then send them to Kindle in bulk using the app.
Note that a printed article gets delivered as is i.e. it comes with all the extraneous content (like ads) that’s present on the webpage. It’s no big deal when you have an handy bookmarklet to make pages print friendly.
3. Unclutter ($5.99, 10-day Free Trial)
Unclutter was a lovely surprise for me. It gives you a hidden storage area on your desktop for your most used data — notes, files, and clipboard entries. It’s simple and well executed to boot.
To bring up Unclutter, move the cursor to the top of the screen and scroll down with the mouse or the trackpad. Here’s the part I like best — the storage section drops down like a curtain and you can resize it to cover almost the entire screen. This reminds me of one of my favorite Linux apps, Guake, which is a dropdown command line.
The app gives you three panels that you can move around and resize. Feel free to drag and drop all three types of data into various apps and into/between the app panels. You can also star clipboard entries, use custom folders for saving files and notes, and even do a full-text search of your notes.
Note — Files that your drop into Unclutter’s Files panel disappear from their original location and are backed up to the default location you have specified for Unclutter files.
Worried about sensitive data being visible on the clipboard? Unclutter allows you to hide it and prevent it from getting copied to the disk. You’ll find the setting for this under Unclutter Preferences > Clipboard.
The Notes panel cannot replace a full-fledged note-taking app like Evernote or Apple Notes. For most users anyway. For someone who prefers a bare-bones approach to note-taking like I do, the Notes panel is close to perfect.
Unclutter will probably replace the Simplenote-compatible, Dashboard-based note-taking app DashNote for me. I can use it to compose emails, create to-do lists, and store information snippets like URLs, books/blogs to look up on Google, and so on.
With Unclutter active, I also plan to let go of Flycut, the menubar-based clipboard management app I have been using for a year now.
If you need a quick tour of Unclutter, you can access it anytime by clicking on Quick Reference… from the menu hidden behind the app’s menubar icon.
4. Waltr ($29.95, 14-day Free Trial)
If you’re frustrated with iTunes Sync, Waltr might turn out to be the lifesaver you have been after. Its clever transfer mechanism makes audio and video files iOS compatible and copies them directly into the media folders on your iOS device. This means you can play those files using the stock media player apps that Apple provides.
I found the file transfer process really smooth and hassle free. You plug in your iOS device using a USB cable, start Waltr, and drag and drop media files to it. That’s it. Ensure that you have quit iTunes before you use Waltr.
The app supports a wide variety of file formats including MP3, MP4, FLAC, AVI, and MKV. It has a Windows version as well.
Yes, at $29.95, Waltr is an expensive proposition. But hey, anything that gives you some respite from one of your iTunes pet peeves is worth paying for, right? Or at least worth a test drive?
Drag, Drop, Repeat
Using menu options within apps is easy enough, but it’s not as convenient or as quick as using keyboard shortcuts and drag-and-drop actions. That’s why apps built around the latter seem to be in such demand.
Do you know of any other interesting Mac apps that rely on a drag-and-drop workflow? Tell us all about them in the comments!