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Best Mac OS X Apps 2013

10 Mac Productivity Tools That You Can't Live Without

Ready to put a little rocket fuel in your work flow? Our friends at ReadWrite have tried and tested apps for Mac OS X that you won't believe you lived without.

By Taylor Hatmaker

If you feel like your daily computer grind could use a little oomph, we've got some. A handful of these add-ons can make tasks that were previously awkward at best a breeze. Most of these tools for OS X are free, and the rest are cheap — and all of them are essentials in our book.

1. Jumpcut

We’re used to copying and pasting one item at a time — that’s just the way it works. But imagine if your computer’s capacity for recall worked a little more like your brain’s working memory, scrolling through recently relevant items and surfacing the one you need.


That’s exactly what Jumpcut does. There are a few apps out there that expand your Mac’s inherent copy/paste skills, but Jumpcut is elegant, simple, and so well executed that your fingers will rely on its custom shortcuts within minutes. Conjure up Jumpcut’s menu, a transparent overlay triggered by a keyboard command (in my case, Command + S), and you’ll be able to scroll through a hundred items, like handy URLs, email addresses, and passwords that you might need, at your fingertips.

Download Jumpcut.

2. Growl

More of a platform than a single purpose add-on, Growl enables customized notifications for everything from Messages to Spotify. If you’re not content with OS X’s built-in notifications sidebar — and why should you be? — power up Growl and decide exactly how you want to be notified of the endless cascade of potential social and app data that streams your way.

Decide how each pop-up will act, where it will appear, what sounds it will make, and what exactly those should look like. If you’re a multitasker, especially on a notebook, this one is indispensable.

Download Growl.

More must-have Mac OS X tools after the break!

3. BetterSnapTool

If you’re working with a limited amount of screen real estate, BetterSnapTool makes organizing your windows a breeze. At the simplest level, this Mac add-on/app lets you divvy your screen into two instantly. Once you’ve defined the parameters of how you like your windows arranged — maybe a half-and-half or quadrant array is far too basic for your needs — you can click and drag windows to “hot spots” that will snap them into place without any fiddling around trying to bend a window to your spatial will.

Download BetterSnapTool.

4. Camouflage

Much like some people always properly pair their socks or maintain inbox zero, some among us keep their desktops entirely free of clutter. If you are not among their ranks, this add-on will let you fool yourself into thinking you are.

Which, as it turns out, feels great. If you have a melange of screenshots, random unidentifiable files, and other flotsam colonizing your precious desktop territory, enable Camouflage and poof — it’s gone. Well, until you need it, that is.

When you need some peace of mind, toggle Camouflage on with a shortcut, and your desktop mess will be replaced with a delightfully stuff-free overlay. When you’re ready to deal with your digital hoarding, just toggle it back on. Or don’t.

Download Camouflage.

5. Found

If you’re not a Spotlight fan, Found might be for you. Spotlight never really seems to dredge up the files I want, so in a fit of annoyance, I disabled it with Terminal’s command line. Happily, Found is considerably smarter than Mac’s native file hunter. Like many of the tools on this list, Found can be triggered with a custom keyboard shortcut and trained to shuffle through your files in services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Gmail, and Evernote. Happy hunting.

Download Found.

6. Flux

We can deny the deleterious effects of staring at a glowing rectangle all day, but unfortunately, the fact of eye strain remains. If you get a sense of visual fatigue (or worse, headaches) after gazing into your Mac’s glowing abyss, Flux is your answer.

Natural light — you know, from the sun — varies throughout the day. Flux adjusts your display’s color temperature in relation to the time of day, taking sunrise and sunset into account. Maybe that otherworldly blue glow won’t ruin you after all.

Download Flux.

8. BetterTouchTool

Mac’s gestures and touch cues are awesome, but they don’t always act exactly the way we wish they did. Enter BetterTouchTool, a lightweight app that lets you remap everything on your trackpad, mouse, keyboard, or any other input device. Want to tap to click with your Magic Mouse or remap three-finger swipe on your MacBook? Consider it done. BetterTouchTool’s interface is a little overwhelming at first, but it’s chock-full of versatility.

Download BetterTouchTool.

10. Skitch (Screenshots, Image Capture)

Skitch is a well-loved app, with good reason. An extremely lightweight imaging app, Skitch is the perfect solution for capturing what’s on your screen, sizing it down, and sending it off somewhere. It performs the most essential, quick image edits with ease, saving you the time and computing power it takes to fire up Photoshop.

Skitch now integrates with Evernote, so you can swipe anything on your screen and sync it for posterity. Personally, we prefer the old version of Skitch, which is still available for download if you know where to look.

Download the new Skitch or the old Skitch.

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