A PAIR OF INEXPENSIVE, PRODUCTIVITY-ENHANCING APPS (FOR YOUR MAC)

I’ve always been obsessed with finding the fastest, easiest, or most elegant way of doing something, so many of my favorite Mac (and iOS) apps are simple, inexpensive utilities that help me do one thing better, faster, or more elegantly. I added a dynamic duo of such utilities to my Mac productivity arsenal earlier this year; today I wouldn’t want to use my Mac without them.   

MOOM = MOVE AND ZOOM WINDOWS MOUSELESSLY

Moom_icon.jpg

Moom is a $9.99 app that manages windows on your Mac. I mostly use it to memorize the on-screen placement of windows from multiple apps so I can instantly restore my favorite screen layouts with a single keystroke. I used to spend time every day rearranging the windows on my screen until they were just so. Today, after I get the windows on my screen(s) to be “just so,” I ask Moom to memorize the layout so I can recall it whenever I like with a single keystroke.

I have a 27-inch display connected to my MacBook Pro that I use as my main monitor, using the MBP’s built-in 15-inch Retina display as a second display. I like to keep three windows open on that screen at all times—Activity Monitor, iTunes, and ZoneBox (my pomodoro timer/manager), and I like to see them in the same location on the smaller screen at all times. Sadly, no version of macOS so far has managed to convince windows to open in the same place on the same screen every time. Left to its own devices, macOS usually opened those windows somewhere on the larger screen.

The three windows move to a different location of their own volition almost every day after I quit or crash one of the three apps,  change screen resolutions, or restart or log out of my account. Moom lets me save a custom window arrangement and recall it with a keyboard shortcut (Control+0), which instantly resizes all three windows (if necessary) and rearranges them just the way I like them on my smaller screen: 

I press Control+0 and the windows on the smaller screen are instantly arranged exactly the way I like them!
I press Control+0 and the windows on the smaller screen are instantly arranged exactly the way I like them!

I have two displays, so another feature I use all the time relocates the active window from one display to the other with a keystroke (Control + 5). In the blink of an eye, the active window jumps from one screen to the other. Then, if I press Control+5 again, it will jump back to its original location.

I also have shortcuts that instantly move the active window to one of the screen’s corners (Control + 1, 3, 7, and 9).

Just some of my Moom keyboard shortcuts.
Just some of my Moom keyboard shortcuts.

I also love being able to move and resize windows without touching the mouse (keyboard shortcut Control+`), yet another of Moom’s many excellent tricks.

When I press Control + `, I can move or resize the active window from the keyboard, without touching the mouse! 
When I press Control + `, I can move or resize the active window from the keyboard, without touching the mouse! 

One satisfied user calls Moom the, “Best. App. Ever.” I’m not sure I’d go quite that far, but for ten bucks I consider it a bargain, and one that saves me time and effort almost every day.

MenuMate=Your Menu Bar Wherever You Click! 

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MenuMate is a $4.99 Mac app that puts the menu bar for the active app right under your cursor, wherever it may be on the screen.

I believe keyboard shortcuts are far faster than reaching for the mouse and moving the cursor up to a menu. And, since many menu items don’t come with keyboard shortcuts, and there are many apps I don’t use often enough to know their keyboard, I find MenuMate indispensable in both situations. Once installed, it hangs out in the background waiting for you to summon it. When you do, via either a keyboard shortcut or programmable mouse button, the menu bar appears wherever you click.

 When I invoke MenuMate while using iTunes, its entire menu bar appears beneath the cursor.   
 When I invoke MenuMate while using iTunes, its entire menu bar appears beneath the cursor.   

I mostly use mouse button #3 on my Logitech MX Master mouse —the one under the scroll wheel—to invoke MenuMate, and I find it incredibly handy. Having every item in every menu available wherever I click is an awesome thing.

More Info:

Moom by ManyTricks. $9.99. ManyTricks web site  •  Mac App Store

MenuMate by ZipZapMac. $4.99. ZipZapMac web site  •  Mac App Store

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About the Author

Bob Levitus

Bob LeVitus, often referred to as “Dr. Mac,” is a well-known authority on all things Macintosh, OS X, and Apple devices including the iPad and iPhone. One of the Apple community’s most trusted advisors for almost thirty years, he’s known for his trademark humorous style and unerring ability to translate “techie” jargon into usable and fun advice for regular folks. He's written more than 80 books including macOS Sierra For Dummies, iPhone For Dummies, and iPad For Dummies. And, for the past 20 years, he's written the Dr. Mac column for the Houston Chronicle (which he still does). He's also been writing for The Mac Observer for almost as long (he still does that, too). Bob has been published in more than a dozen computer magazines over the past thirty years including: a three-year stint as Editor-in-Chief of the irreverent and unpredictable MACazine and four different columns in MacUser magazine: Beating the System, Personal Best, Game Room, and the Help Folder (with Andy Ihnatko, and later, Chris Breen). Though best known for writing, he’s also dabbled in broadcasting with a radio show (Inside Mac Radio, CNET Radio, 2001-2002) and hosted a popular television series (Mac Today, Syndicated, 1992–1993). Another of Bob’s loves is teaching, which he's been doing at University of Texas Informal Classes for over a decade, with well-loved courses including, iPhone for Smart People, Making Music with GarageBand, and soon, Working Smarter for Mac Users. Always in-demand as a speaker, Bob has presented more than 200 seminars, workshops, conferences, and training sessions in the U.S. and abroad, and given Macworld Expo keynotes in three countries, He's also done presentations at countless Apple Stores, and at least three world-famous Geek Cruises. Last but not least, Bob won the Macworld Expo MacJeopardy World Championship three times before retiring his crown. He did not, however, return the Rocket J. Squirrel Memorial Cup, which is still displayed prominently in his office. Prior to giving in to his obsessions with Apple technology and productivity, Bob worked in advertising, producing television commercials, radio spots, and print ads for Kresser & Robbins and SelecTV, in Los Angeles. Bob holds a B.S. in Marketing from California State University and lives in beautiful (and over-crowded) Austin, Texas with his beautiful wife, Lisa, and Zeke the Wonder Vizsla, with occasional visits from now-adult children Allison and Jacob.