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Despite Macs being full of shortcuts and tricks and tools to speed up your work processes, we all know how easy it is to fall out of the habit of using them and instead to go back to our old habits. Yet with the New Year comes the perfect opportunity to get back on top of your game and put all those shortcuts to good use in using your Mac to ease work pressures. Speed up, wise up and clean up with these productivity-boosting Mac hacks.
Need to hunt down a file? You can make the process easier by not searching for just one word, or even a series of words in sequence, but by instead searching for a logical combination of terms as a Boolean expression. Boolean expressions combine search terms with conditions like ‘and’, ‘or’ and ‘not’ to specify whether you want results that contain all, or only some, of your search terms. These expressions are supported by native Mac apps including Spotlight, Mail and Calendar, and by plenty of third-party apps too.
For instance, if you wanted to track down client invoices that have not yet been marked as paid, you might begin by searching for files containing the word ‘invoice’. This term alone would bring up plenty of results you had no interest in, but by using a Boolean expression which takes the terms ‘and’, ‘or’ and ‘not’ to create a logical statement, you could run a search for ‘invoice NOT paid’.
We’ve all heard the recommendation that our passwords should be long, difficult to guess and full of unnatural-feeling characters like mixed-case letters, numbers and punctuation – easier said than put into practice. Add to that the fact that, if we want to be truly secure, we shouldn’t use the same password for more than one account, and suddenly creating hack-roof passwords becomes a real challenge. Even once you’ve invented them, how on earth are you supposed to remember all of these different passwords?
Well, there’s an app for that. Or several, to be precise – the Apple-specific iCloud Keychain syncs your passwords across your devices and then fills them in when necessary, remembering what you can’t. On other operating systems, 1Password and LastPass are good alternatives.
Does your day-to-day work involve writing of some kind? You can make your job simpler by forgetting often difficult to read HTML code in favour of much friendlier, more attractive and easier to work with Markdown code. Based on plain text, Markdown is compatible with almost all word processors, meaning you don’t need to worry about using a specific text editor for fear of risking the corruption of your code. Simplified codes, such as Marketing to create a hyperlink, are transformed into formatted documents by a converter that takes the effort out of writing.
Numerous versions of Markdown have expanded upon the original idea to add additional features and bring further design richness to your finished document, but all of them offer the basics you’ll need to produce in your writing. Examples of apps that act as dedicated Markdown editors are Marked 2, iA Writer and Editorial.
If you’re looking to learn more about productivity tips or other Mac features, get in touch today and see what we can do to help.
Published on 30th September 2014 by Jeanne DeWitt.