10 Mac Utilities Every Freelancer Should be Using
MacBooks can certainly help us get things done. In addition to all the free apps provided by Apple, the Mac store is also teeming with brilliant apps from independent developers.
Connor Keppel put together a great list of essential Mac Apps a while back, but I felt that it was time to revisit and update his selection.
Below is a selection of mac utilities that every freelancer should use to increase productivity, streamline work processes, safeguard online security, and collaborate effectively with customers.
Price: $29.95 | Download link: Mailtags
MailTags brings the power of tags to the native Mac email app. This simple, yet extremely effective Mac utility enables you to keep track of emails quickly, assign individual or multiple tags to emails, take notes on email messages, add projects, generate calendar events, and track all your correspondence with a few clicks. Let’s say you’re receiving hundreds of emails every day.
Clearing through the clutter can be difficult, but with MailTags you can automatically assign tags to the emails you send so that they can be instantly filtered. The application has a plethora of useful features. Download it for your Mac today, integrate it into your workflow, and watch your productivity soar.
Price: $29.99| Download link: MindlyApp
If you’re not familiar with the concept of mind-mapping, you should know that it exists to help you sketch visual representations of projects, assignments and ideas. Mind-maps begin with a core idea and branch out to related sub-fields. There are probably hundreds of mind-mapping apps available at the moment, but I’ve found Mindly to be one of the nicest ones because it uses nature-based concepts to help the user set priorities. It also has a charming design.
With the help of Mindly you will be able to better structure your inner universe, plan projects, collect ideas, brainstorm, prepare a speech, and write summaries. This Mac utility is great for freelancers because it enables them to share ideas with customers in a timely manner. Mind maps can be exported as TXT, PDF, HTML or OPML. Alternatively, you can take screenshots of your mind-maps and send them to clients.
Price: free | Download link: Slack
Even if you’re working as a freelancer, chances are that you are also involved in larger projects where you have to collaborate with other people. Slack is an incredible application that can completely revolutionize the way you communicate with them. With Slack you can create channels for groups of people, share files with drag & drop, and, ultimately, reclaim your work-day. The application also integrates with other services such as Google Calendar, Dropbox, Twitter, Google Drive, and Giphy.
There’s very little missing from the Slack for Mac application. The only feature I’d love to see would be video conferencing. This would make briefing clients on project progress a whole lot easier.
Price: $15 | Download link: Anti-Social
I don’t know how you feel about social media, but for me, it is a huge distraction. The sound of a Twitter notification will immediately disrupt my train of thought. Every 30 minutes I instinctively open my Facebook feed and waste precious minutes looking at cat videos. Or at least, I used to, until I installed Anti-social, a simple mac utility that made it possible to keep social media under control.
With Anti-social you can block networks and websites that are making you unproductive by adding them to your block list. This easy-to-customize software allows you to set timed blocks, for as little as 15 minutes or as many as 8 hours. Give it a try today. Thousands of freelancers are already using it to enhance their productivity.
#5. Bartender 2
Price: $15 with a free four-week trial| Download link: Bartender 2
This Mac utility is so useful that it should become part of the OS itself. The first version of Bartender appeared several years ago. The software seemed briefly endangered when the technical features of El Capitan were announced, but the Surtees Studios quickly released the second version of their software.
With Bartender 2 you can keyboard navigate through your menu items, use the Bartender Bar to browse the items you need, and exercise control over your menu bar items. A key feature of Bartender 2 is the fact that it has been rewriting its internals to work with System Integrity Protection in OS X El Capitan.
Price: free | Download link: Helium
Helium is one of the best things about owning a Mac. This nifty little tool allows the user to create a floating browser window that can be placed over other active windows without obscuring them. Helium will turn your videos partially transparent and remove your mouse’s ability to interact with them, thus making sure that you can continue working with what’s behind it. There is no need to switch back and forth between windows. Helium just works.
How exactly is this useful? If you ever tried watching a video tutorial while taking notes on your computer you must have placed one browser window next to the other. This reduces writing space and makes it impossible for you to fully enjoy the video. I am obviously not encouraging procrastination, but with Helium you can also watch your favorite series while working. It’s the multitasker’s dream!
Price: free | Download link: iTunes
Pixelmator is a great alternative to Photoshop. It enables freelancers to quickly edit, resize, and repair images. The new version of the Mac app was redesigned to cohere with OS X El Capitan and contains new features such as iCloud Drive support and Handoff.
Here’s a quick rundown of Pixelmator’s features:
- Selection tools: edit & apply special effects, cut out objects, select or remove elements from your images.
- Painting tools: custom brushes with advanced settings, gradients, color fills and paint tools.
- Retouching tools: wrinkle & scratch repairs, blur, sharpen, lighten & darkening effects, etc.
- Drawing tools: buttons, icons, illustrations, shadows, dills, strokes, and custom shapes.
- Layer styles: layer effects and unique layer presets.
- Compatibility: .PSD, .TIFF, .PNG, .PDF, iPhoto, Aperture.
Price: $49.99| Download link: iTunes
The safety of online accounts should be a top priority for any freelancer. With 1Password you can store personal information for all your credit cards, mail addresses, bank accounts, software licenses, and websites. All you need to do is to generate a strong master-password that will be used to log into all your other accounts. 1Password also includes features such as SecurityAudit (see how passwords stack up), Watchtower (identify vulnerable passwords), and AES 256-bit encryption for added security.
This Mac utility is great, not only for safeguarding your online security, but also for streamlining work processes. This extension, paired with your default browser, will enable you to log into any account with just a few clicks.
Price: $80.00 | Download link: RealMacSoftware
If you want to take your career to the next level you will need to build your own website. But this doesn’t mean that you have to spend hundreds of dollars on a designer or Adobe’s Dreamweaver CS5. With Realmac’s RapidWeaver you can quickly create a gorgeous website.
The Mac application features customizable site themes, different page types (e.g. galleries, blogs, HTML pages, etc.), statistics (through Google Analytics & GoSquared integration) and a rich plug-in ecosystem. There are a ton of developers that are creating themes and useful plugins for RapidWeaver. This means that you can create your portfolio, or host your own web-store without having to edit a single line of HTML code.
Price: $19.99 | Download link: iTunes
The last item on our list of Mac utilities for freelancers is Pages. The all-new Mac word-processor has recently been revamped. It now features a stunning design, advanced writing tools, great fonts & styles, and an intelligent Format panel. Pages is the freelance copywriter’s dream because it allows the user to quickly add charts, movies, images, and more.
Work revisions are also made easier with the help of highlights, comments and tracking features. Word documents can be shared instantly using links via iCloud, Airdrop, Mail, messages, Twitter or Facebook or by exporting them in .PDF, Microsoft Word or ePub format.
BONUS: IGLOO Software
IGLOO software can be used to put your social ideas to work. The Mac application has great built-in features such as blogs, file sharing, forums, tasks, microblogs, and calendars that will help you streamline your work or social media efforts from one place.
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