Tag Archives: productivity

Do you need a better clipboard?

(See my other Mac/OS X related posts) – I viewed this quick video produced by Bob Levitus today and thought it was well worth sharing. I agree with him that the clipboard on the Mac is lacking.

The free clipboard App Bob mentions can be downloaded from the Mac App Store. I have installed CopyClip and will give a product review in a few days.

I also recommend Bob’s book “Working Smarter for Mac Users“.


Mac Tech Tip – Skip the Save Prompt

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(See my other Tech Tips) – Are you annoyed by the dialog box asking if you want to save a document when closing a Mac App? I was, so I found out how to eliminate that.

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Just open the System Preferences and select “General”. Towards the bottom of the panel, there is a checkbox for “Ask to keep changes when closing documents”. If you uncheck that box, then anytime you close an App any open documents will be automatically saved including any changes you might have made.

This isn’t a big thing, but it improves my productivity as I no longer have to deal with the save prompt.

See my other Mac & OS X articles


Become More Productive on your Mac with File Tags – Part 2

Tech Tips – In Part 1 I talked about how tags can be added to files on your Mac. In Part 2 I will look at how you can use those tags to become more productive. NOTE: The following examples are done in macOS High Sierra 10.13.6.

Using tags with the Finder

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The easiest way to use tags is with the Mac Finder. First, we need to make sure that tags are enabled in the Finder. Open a new Finder window, then click on Finder, then Preferences.

Now select the third tab “Sidebar”. Make sure that the checkbox next to “Recent Tags” is checked.

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Now click on the second tab in the Preferences window, “Tags”. This window allows you to select which of your defined tags you want to show up in the Finder Sidebar. 

You can also drag any tag you want to add to the Favorites to the space at the bottom. I have not found this to be very useful.

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Now close the Preferences window and look at the bottom left of the Finder window. You will see several tags listed and at the bottom of the list “All Tags. . . “.

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If you click on the “All Tags…”, a new column will appear in the window with all of the tags listed. If you now click on a tag (in my example ‘:Star Wars’), then every file with the chosen tag is displayed in the larger window to the right. What makes this powerful is that it doesn’t matter where the files are physically located. Every file with that tag on your Mac and on iCloud, regardless of which Folder they reside in, will be shown.

This provides you with a very powerful way to search your entire Mac for files. If you have tagged your files, you will be able to find them regardless of where you have stored them.

More Power With Smart Folders

Using Smart Folders can give you even more power. Using the technique with the Finder above you can only search based upon one tag. If you use Smart Folders you can search on as many tags as you want.

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Go to Finder ==> File ==> New Smart Folder. This will open a window like is shown above. Now you can begin to specify the search criteria for what will be shown in your Smart Folder. At the far right side next to the ‘Save’ button click on the ‘+’ sign (Blue arrow above). This will open a space where you can begin to specify the search criteria. Click on the ‘Kind’ or ‘Name’ button noted above (Red arrow).

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A drop-down menu will appear. Click on ‘Other…’ at the bottom of the list as indicated by the Red arrow.

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This will bring up a long list of search attributes. If you scroll down the list you will find “Tags”. In the example above I clicked on the checkbox to the right side so that Tags will now appear in the short attribute list. I also clicked on the line ‘Tags Tags associated with this item’.

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Once I click on ‘OK’ that first search criteria will be set. I then chose ‘contains’ and entered the first tag to search for ‘:image’. I can add another search criteria by clicking on the ‘+’ indicated by the Red arrow. A search criteria can be removed by clicking on the ‘-‘.

Notice that when I click on the ‘Name’ button now ‘Tags’ (Orange arrow) appears in the list. I can now use this to pick a second or even a third tag to search on.

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In the example above I have selected three different tags as my search criteria – ‘:image’, ‘:scifi’, and ‘:star wars’. The resulting 48 items shown in this Smart Folder are all files on my Mac that have those three tags set. These items can be physically stored in any folder on my Mac or my iCloud drive.

What this means is that as long as I am very conscientious about adding tags to files, it doesn’t really matter where I store the files.

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I can then save these Smart Folders by clicking on the ‘Save’ button at the top right. Note that in addition to being able to name the Smart Folder and pick where it is going to be displayed, I also have the option of including it in the Finder Sidebar.

A further advantage of using Smart Folders is that since they are Virtual the same content can appear in more than one Smart Folder. This allows you to sort your files in many different ways without having to move or make aliases for files.

In Part 3, I will talk about tagged files in iOS.

See my other Mac and OS X articles


macOS New App Release – Idea Phrase Creator 1.0


Product Announcements Innovative Introductions of Rochester, New York, a provider of innovative custom software packages for consumers and small businesses, has released Idea Phrase Creator 1.0 for Apple Macintosh Computers. The application creates random short phrases, ideas, or full sentences using 42 fully customizable word lists. It allows the user the flexibility to create their own word lists, word list labels, and to change the creation order of the words.

“Idea Phrase Creator is terrific for helping creative writers to get over writer’s block! The app is also very useful for inventors, music lyricists, English teachers, students, comedy writers, and people who like to entertain their friends,” said CEO/Developer Rick Harrison. The ideas or phrases created may be funny or serious, and can be easily edited from inside or outside of the app. All created ideas and phrases can be easily shared with friends as well. As an educational side benefit, users will find their vocabulary skills, spelling skills, and understanding of language will all improve just by using the app. Idea Phrase Creator will have the user laughing, thinking profoundly, and having a lot of fun for hours.

System Requirements:

  • Compatible with Mac
  • Requires macOS 10.9 or later
  • 41 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Idea Phrase Creator 1.0 is only $14.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Productivity category.

macOS New App Release – SheetPlanner 1.0


Product Announcements – Independent developer, SheetPlanner Software LLC of Alexandria, Virginia has released SheetPlanner 1.0, their new planning, project and task management application for macOS. SheetPlanner helps anyone organize information, make long-range plans, manage projects, and track everyday tasks.

Activities can be organized in the app’s outliner, and categorized using the standard columns including start and finish dates. Create custom date, text, number or drop-down list columns. Quickly link to documents and websites.

“Project management doesn’t have to be difficult,” says SheetPlanner Software owner Peter Davey. “SheetPlanner makes it simple to plan and visualize your long-term goals, helping to keep your projects and tasks on schedule until they’re finished.”

Users can plan and visualize their goals, project tasks and schedules in SheetPlanner’s convenient timeline and calendar views. It’s easy to quickly view all task’s and their duration and sequence. Timelines can be viewed by days, weeks, months, quarters, or years.

SheetPlanner Features Include:

  • Outliner with columns – Add text, numeric, date, or list columns
  • Keep inline notes using the built-in full-text editor
  • Customize row styles using custom fonts, size, and color
  • Focus on a row, or a row and its children, transverse row hierarchy via the handy path bar
  • Create Smart Filters using simple or complex criteria, save them for future use
  • Search outlines across columns from the toolbar, save the search as a Smart Filter
  • Sort outlines by any column and order
  • Link documents and folders, whether they’re stored locally or in the cloud
  • View documents via Quicklook or in tabs
  • Link to web pages via quicklook or in a tab of their own
  • View an outline in multiple tabs simultaneously in any combination of views
  • View a monthly view of outline rows using assigned dates
  • A convenient heat-mapped yearly calendar shows activities starting and ending for each date
  • Timeline allows viewing and adjusting of key dates for each task on a convenient horizontal timeline
  • Cells, columns, rows, calendars, and timeline can all be customized
  • Convenient import and export functionality can export in .CSV or .OPML format
  • Copy and paste information to and from Excel and Numbers spreadsheets
  • Personalize the Outline view using green bar, yellow notepad or green notepad themes
  • Easy to use templates for business, educational, and personal use
  • macOS Mojave dark mode
  • Much more

SheetPlanner’s filters allow users to concentrate on important tasks, what’s due today, due tomorrow, or whatever criteria is needed. Tasks can be viewed in a monthly or yearly calendar, or both.

SheetPlanner also offers a Dock badge count, strikethrough of completed items, carry forward of incomplete items, the ability to filter by cell value, and much more.

“We designed SheetPlanner to allow users to easily track everything they need to accomplish their goals and complete all of their tasks,” continues Peter. “We also want users to be sure SheetPlanner is the right app for their needs, so we offer a free 21-day trial. Users pay only after they’re sure SheetPlanner fits their unique needs. However, I’m confident they’ll like it once they’ve tried it.”

Device Requirements:

  • macOS 10.12 Sierra or Later
  • mac OS 10.14 Mojave Compatible
  • 18.6 MB

Pricing and Availability:
SheetPlanner 1.0 is only $49.95 USD (or an equivalent amount in other currencies) and is available worldwide exclusively from the Mac App Store. A 21-day trial version is available for download. Users can continue to view documents in read-only mode after the trial has expired. A convenient in-app purchase of $49.95 will unlock the app’s full features after the trial has expired.

macOS New App Release – Kudos 1.0


Product Announcements Swamp Dog, LLC of Bend, Oregon has released Kudos 1.0, their new productivity app for macOS. Kudos allows macOS users the ability to bind their current text selection with an active link to the source document without the usual ‘copy – switch application – open window – paste – type up the reference’ interruption.

After making a text selection, the user simply triggers Kudos. There are 4 different triggering methods. Kudos collects the reference and presents the combined reference and text selection for formatting review. After formatting, the combined data can be shared as text or as an attached file, saved as a new file, or attached to an existing file.

Current Features Include:

  • Configure the reference with 8 available elements
  • Change placement, font and font size of the reference text
  • Configure the length of the active link
  • Change font and font size of the source text
  • Share as either text or as an attached file
  • Share as text with Mail, Messages, Reminders, Notes, or any other installed text-savvy Share application (e.g. One Note)
  • Share or Save as a TXT, RTF, PDF, or AIFF (spoken) file
  • Use Mojave Light or Dark Mode as well as Light Mode within Dark Mode
  • Activate with any of the 4 triggers: keyboard shortcut (initial Shift–7), secondary click, drag onto dock, drag onto window
  • Configure the shortcut key using macOS System Preferences

Reference capabilities for:

  • Apple’s Safari, Pages, TextEdit, Preview, Keynote, Numbers, and Xcode
  • Microsoft’s Word and Outlook
  • Google’s Chrome
  • Bare Bones’ Text Wrangler, Panic’s Coda, and Evernote

System Requirements:

  • macOS Mojave compatible (macOS 10.10 or later)
  • 64-bit processor
  • 20.8 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Kudos 1.0 is $2.99 (USD) and is available worldwide exclusively through the Mac App Store in the Productivity category.

macOS New app Release – Vitamin-R 3

publicspace of Luxembourg City, Luxembourg has released version 3 of Vitamin-R, its innovative time boxing solution designed to overcome procrastination, retain focus and maintain motivation. Version 3 features a completely reimagined single window user experience, a soft break, and lock screen option, deeper customization, improved support for the Pomodoro Technique, clearer statistics, faster log handling, personalized profiles, an integrated help system, improved integration with OmniFocus 3 and Things 3 and many other improvements.

Vitamin-R creates optimal conditions for the human brain by structuring work into short bursts of distraction-free, highly-focused activity alternating with opportunities for renewal, reflection and intuition. The built-in task logging and analysis features create positive momentum towards productivity by providing users with tangible feedback on their progress and achievements.

  • Slices Up Daunting Tasks into Manageable Chunks:
    Vitamin-R breaks down large, vaguely defined tasks into a series of short “time slices” of between 10 and 30 minutes, each with a specific, actionable and reachable objective.
  • Promotes Higher Focus:
    Vitamin-R features an array of highly configurable visual, audio and speech notifications that prod users to get back to their task as soon as their attention starts to wander.
  • Gets You Started, Keeps You Motivated:
    Vitamin-R allows users to break through the resistance of procrastination and create a positive feedback loop of small achievements that gets them closer to their ultimate aims.
  • Effective Task Switching:
    Task switching is a big, but often unavoidable productivity killer. Vitamin-R makes it as efficient as possible and the built-in “breadcrumbing” technique helps users to pick up where they left off.
  • Productive Breaks:
    Regular breaks are not for slackers. In fact, they are especially important for people who work with high focus. Vitamin-R’s timed breaks make sure that a renewal break does not turn into a free afternoon and the “priming” technique allows your intuition to work overtime even before you start on a new objective.
  • Promotes Awareness of Individual Rhythms:
    Each one of us is different. Finding out what works best for you is the key to true productivity. Vitamin-R provides the tools to gain improved awareness of preferred work methods and rhythms. Armed with this new knowledge, you can eliminate unproductive work patterns.
  • Get It Out of Your Head Quickly:
    Did you know that your short-term memory can only hold 4-6 “chunks” of information? The slightest interruption and it’s all gone and you have to start from scratch. That’s why Vitamin-R provides you with the “Now & Later Board”, complete with FastType magic, to give you a place to quickly dump all those things that go through your head and allow you to quickly return to your task.
  • Make It Your Own:
    Vitamin-R plugs into your life rather than trying to take it over. You can use it occasionally to overcome procrastination or mental blocks or re-organize your entire working life around the concepts that it embodies.
  • Works with OmniFocus, Things & The Hit List:
    Vitamin-R integrates with traditional to-do list managers rather than trying to replace them.
  • Block Out Noise:
    The built-in noise machine can block out irritating coworkers and create energizing soundscapes.
  • Ideal for Pomodoro Technique Aficionados:
    Vitamin-R provides everything you need to implement the Pomodoro Technique: sophisticated timer, log book, and analysis component.
  • Attention Deficit Disorder:
    While Vitamin-R was never specifically designed with ADHD “suffers” in mind, many ADHD-ers have found its approach to focusing attention invaluable.

New In Version 3:

Version 3 features a completely rewritten single window user interface which integrates all major tools: workflow, log book, statistics, help system, and notepads into a single window. The new interface takes Vitamin-R’s peerless configurability to the next level, by offering the option to add or remove user interface and workflow elements to create individualized workflows.

The new “soft break” feature no longer interrupts the user at the end of a time slice, but instead waits for up to 30 seconds for the user to stop typing or mousing. Vitamin-R makes it easy to extend time slices for short periods.

The new “lock screen” feature allows users to optionally lock the display of their Mac during a timed break to force them to take breaks away from their desk.

The statistics tool has been completely rewritten for improved clarity and the log file handling has been optimized for users with a lot of logged time slices. The new log book provides a much-improved overview of recent time slices and serves as a place to rapidly switch tasks.

Vitamin-R’s integration with OmniFocus 3 and Things 3 has been updated and improved and now imports tag names and durations where available.

The new “Profiles” feature allows users to pre-configure the countless tool options to best match their preferences and workflow. Particular attention has been given to people who want to implement a purer version of the Pomodoro Technique rather than Vitamin-R’s more flexible approach.

The new “Pomodoro-style breaks” control allows timed breaks to be configured with the two or three short breaks followed by a long break advocated by the Pomodoro technique.

Other improvements include quicker keyboard-based controls for changing durations, improved options in the right-click status bar menu and support for macOS 10.14 Mojave and its unique visual style.

System Requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite or later
  • 64-bit Mac
  • 32 MB Hard Drive space

Pricing and Availability:
For now, the Vitamin-R 3 Beta is exclusively available from the publicspace web store for $24.99 (USD). The web store also offers Family, Business and Enterprise licensing and customers may choose to include a “forever upgrade” with their purchase. Each Vitamin-R web store purchase includes a free license for its companion product, Noise Machine, which is also available separately starting at $4.95 (USD).
Version 2 is available on the Mac App Store and will be joined there by version 3 shortly after its official launch.

macOS New App Release – Typinator 7.8


Product Announcements Ergonis Software of Perg, Austria has released Typinator 7.8, a new release of their highly acclaimed text expander. Typinator 7.8 improves support for Mojave, particularly for Dark Mode. If you use your Mac in Dark Mode, the plain text and HTML expansion fields now fully adopt Mojave’s dark mode, Typinator’s menu bar icon uses the correct accent color when clicked, and readability of selected quick search results has been improved as well.

Typinator 7.8 has also been notarized by Apple. This means that the software has been uploaded to Apple before distribution, and Apple has confirmed that all executables are signed correctly and that the app does not contain any malware. This is another security feature that all Ergonis products will carry from now on.

Besides these improvements for Mojave, Typinator 7.8 contains many further improvements like a better import from TextExpander, improved scrolling and clipping in the expansion field, and enhanced compatibility with third-party apps like Microsoft Remote Desktop 10, Vivaldi, and Citrix. All these changes make Typinator 7.8 a highly recommended upgrade for every Typinator user, particularly in combination with macOS Mojave. Visit Ergonis Software’s website to learn more about the changes in this release and to download and try the new version.

Typinator is a powerful, yet elegantly simple solution that boosts your productivity by automating the process of inserting frequently used text and auto-correcting typing errors. Across all applications, it detects specific sequences of typed characters and automatically replaces them with text snippets, graphics, URLs, dates and special characters.

System Requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.6 or newer
  • Recommended for macOS Mojave (10.14)

Availability and Ordering:
Typinator 7.8 can be purchased securely on the Ergonis Software website. The upgrade to version 7.8 is free for anyone who purchased a license for Typinator 6 or Typinator 7 on or after January 1st 2016. Upgrade paths are available for owners of older licenses. For information about purchases, including enterprise licenses, volume discounts, and upgrade pricing offers, see the company’s website.

macOS New App Release – Nisus Writer Pro 3


Product Announcements Nisus Software, Inc. of Solana Beach, California has released Nisus Writer Pro 3, a significant upgrade to its professional word processor for macOS. New features in Nisus Writer Pro 3 include split view, a redesigned UI and palette system, an upgraded full screen view, printable comments and tracked changes, even more powerful find and replace, icons updated for retina displays, cloud sync for almost all settings, a new formatting examiner palette, typewriter scrolling, a new notes view, macOS Mojave compatible, and over 300 new features, fixes, and enhancements.

“This release adds many commonly requested features” said CEO Jerzy Lewak. “We have also added numerous improvements that we ourselves have found useful. For over 25 years we have developed software which supports our users’ creativity. This new version includes exciting features which will help our customers be even more creative in their writings.”

The new features add to an already rich feature set that includes an intuitive interface, multilingual text support, powerful find and replace, easy to use style system, cross-references, bookmarks, table of contents, indexing, and a native file format (RTF) that almost any word processor can read.

System Requirements: Requires Mac OS 10.11 or later

Pricing and Availability
Nisus Writer Pro 3 is available now at the Nisus web store and the Mac App Store for only $65.00 (USD). An upgrade version is available for $45.00 and an academic version is $55, both available from the Nisus store.

macOS New App Release – Path Finder 8.3


Product Announcements Cocoatech of San Francisco, California has released Path Finder 8.3, a free update of their popular file browser for users running macOS Mojave 10.14. Path Finder allows you to view hidden files, compare, merge and synchronize folders, batch rename and batch select files, use Dual Pane and full keyboard navigation to browse your file system and much more. Path Finder is one of the oldest software on the macOS market (*first released in 2001) and boasts a large and loyal userbase. The application is extremely customizable and allows you to work how you want. Become a master of file management with Path Finder 8.3!

What’s new: Path Finder 8.3 now brings the much anticipated support for macOS Mojave’s Dark Mode.

Path Finder 8 lays the foundation for a total redesign and rewrite of the very powerful file manager. Estimated 40% of the internal code is new. The big new thing in version 8 are the way modules are organized and used within the new and flexible modules structure. You can put as many modules in a single window as you need, they can be arbitrarily arranged, dismissed, closed and dragged out of the window. They can be assigned to either left or right pane and they are extensively customizable (light mode only). With new module structure, Path Finder probably becomes the most configurable and flexible Mac application on the market.

Supported Languages:
Path Finder supports Chinese, Czech, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swedish languages.

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.11 or newer

Pricing and Availability:
You can try Path Finder for free for 30 days with all the features available to you during that period. Path Finder costs $40.00 (USD) for a single user license applicable for up to 3 user-owned computers, and $20.00 (USD) when upgrading from version 7. The software is available for purchase from the Cocoatech online store or from within the application itself. Volume license discounts available.