I don’t get a new iPhone or Mac computer every year, but there’s hardly a month that goes by that I don’t check out a new Mac application, online service, or receive feature upgrades for the Mac automation programs I use a on a regular basis.
In fact, another reason I write articles for this site is to recognize and thank macOS and iOS developers for all the great work they do in helping me and other users be more productive.
As the year closes out, here’s my list of favorite apps and updates I started using regularly this year.
Note: this article includes affiliate links.
Todoist Tasks Manager
By the far the one application that has boosted my productivity is the task manager, Todoist (Mac Store). I’ve tried several tasks managers in the past, but after I stumbled upon and switched to Todoist, I’ve been working through my tasks on a daily basis. Within five weeks I have already reached Expert level. Every day I complete or reschedule tasks I set for myself to meet weekly goals.
I published my first article about Todoist about a months ago, and I’ll be writing more about Todoist next year. If you’re interested in getting future updates about how I’m using this application, subscribe to my Todoist email list in the form below.
The iOS clipboard manager Copied is also one of my favorite notebook apps on iOS devices. Copied not only allows for saving clippings from within any iOS app, it also also allows for saving and managing clippings in folders.
I don’t regularly use the Mac version of Copied, but I’m glad it exist when I need it. Copied will automatically sync your clippings through all your connected devices, and also includes an iOS keyboard feature so that you access your saved clippings as you type.
ClipMenu is a classic Mac clipboard manager that I stopped using for some reason years ago. But now that I’m using BetterTouchTool, I can trigger ClipMenu’s pop-up menu and quickly access my saved and more recent clippings.
So for example, if I need to insert my email address in a login form while my hand is already on my trackpad, I simply do a Three Finger Swipe Down and it will trigger the ClipMenu hotkey. This way I don’t have to move my hand back to the keyboard to type the address.
I’ll be writing more about this and other clipboard managers in a few upcoming articles.
Snagit 4 (Mac App Store) came out this year year, and though I use several screenshot tools, Snagit now features the ability to create and edit gifs, like the one you see above.
The new version also includes the ability to create presets for types of screenshots you want and where you want them shared.
Before Snagit 4 was released, I used CloudApp for creating gifs, but it didn’t allow for editing in the free version.
Trigger By URL
One of the latest Keyboard Maestro features added this year is ability to trigger macros using the assigned URL. Each macro gets assigned a unique URL.
In Keyboard Maestro, you can trigger actions several different ways. With the URL trigger, you can copy the URL for the macro and paste it in an application like Todoist. When the URL is clicked, it executes the macro.
For example, I have a weekly Todoist Task for knocking out several online tasks that include about 8 different webpages. Though I have a Keyboard Maestro time trigger to open those pages, I have also embedded the KM URL link into the Todoist task. This allows me trigger the macro if I decide to do those tasks later in the day or the next day.
I recently started using the feature, but I’m sure I will be finding more use cases it the months to come.
BTT Key Sequence
By far the most used automation I started using this year is the new Key Sequence feature in BetterTouchTool. This feature allows you to record a sequence of keystrokes that will trigger a hotkey or a predefined BTT action.
For my purposes, I created an action that deletes the last word behind the cursor (hotkey: Shift+Option+Left Arrow Key) after I click my Space bar twice. I find that this faster than hitting the Delete key all the time. It means that I can keep my fingers squarely on the main set of keys without moving my right hand to the Delete key. These sequence feature works similar to Keyboard Maestro’s string triggers.
I explain more about this feature in my BetterTouchTool Finger Gesture Course.
Note Studio (Mac App Store) is a handy Mac application I use when taking minutes at meetings. The application audio records what is said in the meetings, and if I need to review parts of the meeting, I can simply click on a timecode assigned to individual pieces of notes to fast forward or backwards to a particular part of the meeting.
Notes Studio would work great for students who need to take careful notes of lectures.
For the last five or so years, I’ve done most of my work on my computer and iOS devices. I don’t own a printer, and for good or bad, I rarely do any long-hand writing.
I use several digital notebooks for various paperless purposes, but it took a while to find a notebook that would hold PDFs and allow me to also type notes and outlines in one space, like a traditional paper notebook. For this purpose I now use the Mac (Mac App Store) and iOS versions of GoodNotes. This cross-platform app has a clean user interface and allows for managing content in separate notebooks. It’s another useful application for students.
What Your Favorites?
Now that I’ve shared my favorites for the year, what are yours? What new or even older apps are helped you to be more productive? Are there new features that you find very useful? Are applications that you wish would be updated? Let me here from you.