5ive on Friday: Essential macOS Software

Every Friday, a list of five things: 5ive on Friday. Quickly bashed out, designed to start not finish conversations. 95% of these will be inspired by the week’s social media conversations.

Essential macOS Software

I just got a new iMac; my 2009 Mac Pro was very long in the tooth and although it was still great in some respects, it wasn’t keeping up with the latest Creative Cloud releases. I’d done a few hardware upgrades this year, but nothing really brought it to the point where I needed it.

So, enter the new iMac.

Usually after reinstalling my OS or getting a new computer, I try to not install much new software on it, installing only things I really need right away, and going without “kinda nice to have” stuff for as long as possible. Here’s five things I installed right away that may not be totally obvious:

  1. Default Folder X extends the functionality of Open and Save windows, giving you access to recently used folders, favorite folders, and a lot more.
  2. Divvy is a simple app that lets you quickly resize windows with keyboard shortcuts. You can set up shortcuts to easily make a window a vertical half of your screen, a horizontal half, etc. I use most of my apps full screen, but I like having precise control when using multiple Finder windows, web browsers, etc.
  3. TextWrangler or BBEdit are by the same company, with BBEdint being the traditional powerhouse text editor and TextWrangler a cut down but still mighty text editor. For years I’ve used TextWrangler, but it’s been sunsetted (and BBEdit dropped in price + made available free with the same feature set as TextWrangler) so I’ve been trying to transition. I use a text editor throughout the day to take notes, write drafts, make TODO lists, and other such things. Both TextWrangler and BBEdit have a very nice interface that lets you easily keep dozen of files open and navigable.
  4. HoudahSpot gives you much better control over Spotlight searches: letting you save searches, easily exclude folders, include only certain folders, search more easily based on file type or content.
  5. Dropbox as the best solution for file syncing and backups.
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