Recommended Mac Automation Applications

Automate Mac tasks, save time and clicking, and get things done

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MacAutomationTips.com recommends and focuses on these applications below. As new applications are released, they will be added to this page. As a subscriber, you'll receive weekly articles and videos about how to best use these applications.

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Keyboard Maestro

 

Keyboard Maestro is the most powerful automation application for general Mac users. Keyboard Maestro allows for creating what are called macros, that can automate the manual steps and actions you take to complete tasks, from downloading a webpage to copying and pasting text. Keyboard Maestro provides several ways to trigger automations, and it can greatly reduce redundant tasks you manually perform. MAT articles about Keyboard Maestro

Hazel

 

Hazel is a folder action application that installs in your the System Preferences of your Mac. It allows for applying rules to any selected folder, including the desktop, on your Mac. For example, you can have Hazel automatically empty your Mac’s trash after it reaches a certain megabyte or higher of content. Another rule can clean off your desktop after files have been on it for a specified amount of time.  MAT articles about Hazel

Alfred

 

Alfred is a great tool for quickly finding and launcing applications, URLs, and files by simply triggering it by pressing Space+Command Key, and then typing what you want. You can also do web searches, play iTunes songs, search and paste from your clipboard history, locate a contact, set a calendar date, adn much more.

SnappyApp

 

SnappyApp is a screenshot application with a twist. After it takes a shot, the image remains open on your desktop so that you can review as you work. You can save all your clippings to SnappyApp library, and also share them to your iOS devices. I use SnappyApp several times a day because it quickly allows me to capture information and access it when I need it. MAT review of SnappyApp

iClip

 

iClip is a clipboard history manager that captures text and images you copy on your Mac. It allows you to manage your clippings into different bins and folders. And most of all it supports numerous keyboard shortcuts for navigating the app, and capturing and pasting clippings. MAT review of iClip

Automator

 

Automator is a program that comes installed with Mac OS X. It is similar to Keyboard Maestro, but in my view is not as powerful. However, if you’ve never used Automator, I do suggest giving it a try. I will be writing how-to articles about this program in the coming months.

BetterTouchTool

 

BetterTouchTool is hands down the most powerful finger gesture application for Mac users. It includes hundreds of actions (e.g., opening applications and files, resizing windows, copying and pasting text, clicking menu items in the background) that you can trigger with an assigned finger gesture. BTT leaves the finger gesture features of OS X in the dust. If you work at your Mac on a daily basis, you should definitely start using BTT. MAT articles about BetterTouchTool

PopClip

 

PopClip provides you instant access to a few dozen of actions, such as copy and paste, text formatting, Google search, when you select text in any application. You'll be amazed at how much clicking and typing PopClip can save you. MAT articles about PopClip

Dragon Dictate

 

Dragon Dictate is a program well know for voice dictation of text, but it also includes a powerful feature for issuing voice commands on the Mac. For example, you can have Dragon Dictate launch and quit applications, download web pages, insert snippets of text, run Keyboard Maestro macros and AppleScript scripts, and active menu shortcuts in applications. MAT review of Dragon Dictate

TextExpander

 

TextExpander is a word processing program that automatically expands words, phrases, or larger snippets of text based on abbreviated text you assign to a snippet of text. So for example, when I want type the word, “Hazel,”, I simply type “hz” and it will replace those two letters with the word. You can create abbreviations for form letters, URL addresses, email signatures, etc. TextExpander also can correct common misspelled words, or you can add words you frequently misspell and have TextExpander correct them for you.

SuperTab

 

SuperTab is similar the Mac Dock, but it is one of few applications that will automatically quit or hide selected applications when they are in the background. There are similar programs that have the same function, but SuperTab, in my view, does it best. MAT review of SuperTab

Smart Folders

 

The best place to get started with smart automation is using the smart folder features in OS X. Apple’s Finder, Mail, iTunes, iPhoto, and Aperture all make use of smart technology, in which files are filtered based on the rules you set. For example, iTunes allows for creating smart playlists which can consists of your favored songs in your iTunes library. In Mail, you can create a smart mailbox that collects new mail from your previous recipients.

Bakari Chavanu, Blogger

 

Bakari Chavanu is the creator and blogger for Mac Automation Tips. He has written about Mac software for the leading online publication MakeUseOf.com, AppleMatters.com, Apple Magazine, O’Reilly Media’s Inside Aperture, Photo.net, MyMac.com. He is also published two full PDF guides: Make Use of Guide to Digital Photography and The Awesome Automation Guide for Mac Users. He is in the process of writing guides and an ebook about Mac automation and productivity.

Subscribe to Mac Automation Tips

Subscribe to my blog and receive my free guide, “8 Tips for Automating Your Morning Routine on Your Mac.” Plus, access to a library of other sources.

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