Attention Mac Users – I Need Your Help

Yesterday, I finally “retired” my five-and-a-half-year-old Dell laptop and bought an Apple iMac to replace it.

So far, I love it. Feels light years beyond my old PC set-up.

But right now I’m focused on two important things:

  1. Transferring important files over to the new iMac.
  2. And… Learning how to most efficiently use my iMac.

With that in mind, I’d like to solicit your help.

Please leave a comment sharing your #1 tip, tool, or shortcut for your Mac computer.

  • It could be a little-known function for doing something cool.
  • It could be a Mac software program that you just can’t live without.
  • Or it could be any other tip or resource you feel I (and other Mac converts) should know about.

I’m particularly interested in any advice you have in how best to use a Mac in a home-based business.

  • What’s the best HTML editor for a Mac?
  • What’s the best text editor? (I used Textpad on my PC.)
  • What’s the best screen capture video software?
  • What’s the best FTP program?
  • What’s the best way to do screen captures?
  • Do you see how many questions I have? :-)

Not only will I read every comment, I’ll also take all the best tips and publish them next week in a brand new blog post, with attribution.

So get to it! Share your best Mac advice by leaving a comment below.

UPDATE: I’ve finally tabulated all the results and published them here… Best Mac Tips, Software & Shortcuts for Internet Marketers.

-Ryan M. Healy

P.S. Feel free to leave a link in your comment if needed. But please know in advance that all comments with links are held for moderation. So it may take me a few minutes — or a few hours — to publish your comment depending on when you leave it. Thanks!

Ryan M. Healy

Ryan Healy is a financial copywriter and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like,, and

Laura - September 16, 2010

I just got a new 27″ iMac myself about 6 weeks ago, although I’ve been a Mac owner for almost 20 years. The new mouse is awesome, isn’t it? I love that you can right-click and scroll with almost no effort at all. You can change its behavior under System Prefs > Mouse.

I find that TextEdit that comes on the Mac is fine for plain text editing. For screen captures, just hit Shift Command 3, and to capture only a portion of the screen, hit Shift Command 4 and then click and drag. Mac names it Screenshot 2010-09-16 at 4:52 PM.png so it’s easy to find on your desktop.

Are you running Parallels or something similar so you can run your Windows programs? It makes it pretty easy to be on both platforms at once.

Congrats on coming over to the dark side!

    Will - September 17, 2010

    On MacBook, screenshots are saved as Picture 1.png, Picture 2.png, etc. Perhaps there’s a setting where the file naming convention can be changed.


    Ryan M. Healy - September 22, 2010

    Right now I’m not running Parallels or any virtual Windows program. I don’t think I’ll need to… but who knows?

Mike Morgan - September 16, 2010

Hey Ryan, one thing you forgot to include was a password manager. If you’ve been using Roboform, it’s not available for Mac. Try 1 Password. It’s super-easy to import all of your Roboform data.

Good luck with your Mac!

Mike Morgan

Mike Morgan - September 16, 2010

Hey Ryan, one thing you forgot to include was a password manager. If you’ve been using Roboform, it’s not available for Mac. Try 1 Password. It’s super-easy to import all of your Roboform data.

Good luck with your Mac!

Mike Morgan

ianbrodie - September 16, 2010

Hi Ryan, for screen capture video, you can get Camtasia now for the Mac – but most Mac folks swear by Screenflow.

FTPwise I just stuck with Filezilla which I used on my PC before I swiched.

For html editing I use Dreamweaver whcih obviously is a little pricey. Before I got it I used Aptana which is free. it takes a little getting used to, but like Dreamweaver has good file controls so it knows which files make up your website and allows you to ftp them as well as edit them.



KevinCu - September 16, 2010

Hey Ryan,

Welcome to the REAL computer world. Of course, you can read my book, “How to Start a Business: Mac Version” and see most of the things needed to use a Mac for business. But you added some of your details that I did not cover.

1. HTML/text editor: Textwrangler, but if you like using just the keyboard, such as CLI (Command Line Interface), then VIM or EMACS, both free (
2. Screen Capture: GRAB on your Mac does an excellent job.
3. FTP program: Transmit

You can also see my post about transferring file from Windows to Mac here:

You’ve seen the light, let me know if you need any more help.


Anonymous - September 16, 2010

What’s the best HTML editor for a Mac? Coda by Panic:

What’s the best text editor? (I used Textpad on my PC.) TextMate is the best text editor (, but Ryan, you’ve got to check out Scrivener… I love Scrivener so much! It’s a program in a class by itself.

What’s the best screen capture video software? Screenflow… no contest:

What’s the best FTP program? Transmit by Panic:

What’s the best way to do screen captures? The easiest way is by using the native function of Cmnd(apple key)+shift+4 and then choose the area you want to capture. But Skitch is free and an absolute joy to use:

I can’t live without Scrivener and Pixelmator: and I use Wiretap Studio 2-3 times per week:

You’ll never ever miss your Windows machine Ryan… welcome aboard.

Rob Metras - September 16, 2010

Congratulations Ryan You will cherish the Mac experience

Get VMWare Fusion for your Virtual Windows Platform Better than Parallels
html editor-nvu
Training:; or Screencasts Online with Don McAllister (better than Apple’s own stuff)
Video editor: Screenflow also Camtasia for Mac
Wonderful tool for writers OMM Writer
text editor built-in works for me
image editor Image Well
ftp Cyberduck
password 1 Password
Screen capture Jing Pro
File and note database Evernote
Maintenance Tools: macKeeper, Onyx

I am so glad you have blessed by this machine :) It turns you into a fanboy

Peter - September 16, 2010

Great news – I’m not a lover or a hater as I’ve used Windows, Mac and Linux in various forms over the past 12 years. Pick the best tool for the job.

For me a Mac about ease of use and getting the job done without having an OS getting in my way. Mac does that hands down. That’s why my wife and I have a Macbook Pro each!

What’s the best HTML editor for a Mac?
— Textwrangler :)

What’s the best text editor?
— Textwrangler

What’s the best screen capture video software?
— Camtasia for Mac, or Screenflow

What’s the best FTP program?
— I favour Cyberduck, but also have used Filezilla

What’s the best way to do screen captures?
— Grab (built in) for screen shots, then Preview for basic annotations

Other software in my regularly used list.
— Parallels, for those niggly Windows apps like Quicken that don’t have a Mac equiv (in Australia)
— Evernote
— Truecrypt
— Chrome
— Hootsuite
— Gimp
— Openoffice
— Jungledisk, for online backup

Gregory E. Nemer - September 16, 2010

Hi Ryan,
Great idea for a blog post.
My guess is you’ll have a task sorting through all the comments.

The first thing I had to do is format my mouse for right click copy and paste functions. Maybe the updated Mac versions have taken care of this little tweek.

I’m going to go with mostly FREE programs since there are so many great ones available on the internet.

On the HTML editor either or Kompozer or Komodo will work fine. I prefer Kompozer.

On the Texteditor I’ve gone through a few of them and am currently running Textwrangler. I had problems finding a program that didn’t change up my html coding when I copied and pasted to my blog.
I must say that Windows Notepad is still my favorite because of simplicity so that program alone could merit using Parallels (which is not free)

The Best FREE Screencaprture Software is Jing and the best paid version is screenflow for Mac, but Camtasia for Windows since they are different for each operating system. Jing works for both video and screen capture.

To keep it simple I still use Filezilla for FTP although fireftp for firefox works well also and is free.

A few more essential free programs for MAC which are also mostly cross-platform are:

Gimp and Picassa for photos.

Itunes and audacity for music and audio

Evernote for notetaking

My favorite free program for passwords is definitely Lastpass (works with most browsers)

And of course Skype, Firefox, and Openoffice

Anonymous - September 16, 2010

Thank GOD you switched over… I’ve been waiting for that to happen!

Don’t worry – you’ll never look back.

Here are a few programs I love.

Keynote (10x better than Powerpoint)
OpenOffice (instead of Word)
King Video Converter
Lastpass (I think this is for Firefox.. but it’s a lifesaver – saves your passwords)
For screen recording/editing, etc… either Camtasia for Mac, or Screenflow

That’s about all I can remember right now… I’m actually on my PC laptop downstairs ;)


Jason Leister - September 16, 2010


Gotta say it’s about time!

Welcome to the world of computers that work :)

These are just the ones I use and like.

What’s the best HTML editor for a Mac?

Textwrangler… I just code in plain text.

What’s the best text editor? (I used Textpad on my PC.)


What’s the best screen capture video software?


What’s the best FTP program?

Transmit from Panic Software

What’s the best way to do screen captures?

I’ve been using Snapz Pro for years.

    Jason Leister - September 17, 2010


    Here are some more:

    IM: Adium

    Passwords: 1password

    iWork rocks

    MarsEdit for offline blog post editing

    Netnewswire for RSS

    And I just discovered a cool and lightweight replacement for Adobe Illustrator if you need to create vector art:


PerryD - September 17, 2010


Welcome to the Mac world.

Easiest to learn wysiwyg – Rapidweaver

Browser – Safari – I don’t like Firefox anymore. It causes my iMac to hang with a spinning beachball a couple times a month. I gave up on it. Learn to use Safari or Flock.

FTP – I like Cyberduck. My son likes Filezilla (free) or Flow (paid)

Flux edits html and css along with a wysiwyg function. This may be the only html/css editor you need. My son uses all three of these – Flux, Espresso, and CSSEdit – he says each one does some things better than others. I can’t tell you what myself. If it’s not WordPress or a simple site in Rapidweaver, I let him do it.

Espresso – code editor

CSSEdit – css editor

Evernote is a must

Flip4mac plays .wmv files

Mindjet Mind Manager for mindmaps

Pixelmator – inexpensive substitute for Photoshop

WireTap Pro or WireTap Studio – very easy to use for recording Skype, streaming audio, etc

Don’t bother with Quicken for Mac. You can’t easily transfer your files and the interface sucks. It’s very easy to dual-boot your Mac with a copy of Windows XP. Then you can use the Windows version. One of the few programs I like better on Windows.

Password management – 1Password – easy to keep your iPhone, Macbook, and iMac all synced with all the passwords via Dropbox.

SnapZpro for screen shots

Sign up for Macheist and Macupdate. They offer bundles of software at very low prices. It’s a good way to try new software for cheap.

Anonymous - September 17, 2010

My biggest productivity shortcut: In the Finder (like the Windows Desktop), drag the folders you use most often into the Places section of the left-hand nav bar, then move them into alphabetical order. Boom–one-click access to anywhere you want to go.

I’ve been a Mac user since 1984, and this kept me from going insane when I moved from System 9 to 10.

Eudora 6.2 is by far the best e-mail client I’ve ever used, but it’s not designed for managing tens of thousands of messages. It does crash, and sometimes the crashes wipe a bunch of e-mail. But its file handling, searching, sorting, filtering, etc. are absolutely superb.

Sanjay - September 17, 2010

# What’s the best HTML editor for a Mac?

Not happy with any. Just being honest. SeaMonkey was the most acceptable.

# What’s the best text editor? (I used Textpad on my PC.)

Depends on what you want to do. How much did you use TextPad? Just basic TextEdit may do unless you are into regex and column text replace. TextPad is just way cool.

# What’s the best screen capture video software?

I like ScreenFlow. Your Mac comes with iMovie (iLife) which is not very intuitive but can give fairly decent results and does chroma key. Your mac also comes with Quicktime X which can do Screen Capture but I have not been able to make it do audio and video.

# What’s the best FTP program?


# What’s the best way to do screen captures?

As above

Oh yes, out of the box software is more oriented to developers than designers, so it may take some getting used to.

Visit the Mac Store often. They are not bad at basic usage and the classes are free.

You can pretty much save anything to a PDF and Preview can annotate and convert to a plethora of formats.

OpenOffice is free and fairly decent. iWork is cool for Keynote but Pages sucks.

GarageBand will let you mix music tracks quite easily (if you ever are inclined to that).

iDVD is good for putting your media on DVDs with a nice look.

FreeMind or VUE for MindMaps and non-linear thought processes.

VirtualBox is a FREE emulator that can run Windoze if and when you get some pesky exe file extractors or just plain miss the crashes.

Most Adobe Air apps will run fine

    Will - September 17, 2010

    Thanks. Great tip. Saved this comments page as a PDF :)

Jeff Kuns - September 16, 2010

Yummy Kool-Aid, huh?

What’s the best HTML/text editor? TEXTWRANGLER
What’s the best screen capture video software? iShowU HD
What’s the best FTP program? FILEZILLA


Jeff Kuns - September 16, 2010

… And more goodies than you can count here:

Web2 0copywriter - September 17, 2010

My favorite tip for Mac users is to throw it away, and get an i7. :-)

Alex - September 17, 2010

Best text editor: TextWrangler – Free, simple and lots of cool features

Best screen capture video software: I love Screenflow. It’s simple and runs fast.

Best FTP: Transmit – I’ve tried Cyberduck, Filezilla, and Fetch and none compare. Transmit seems to be the most stable, especially when transfering lots of files at once. I use TextWrangler as my editor here to make live changes on my sites.

Screen Captures: Default on Mac is Apple+Shift+3 for the whole screen or to select an area, do Apple+Shift+4. I believe default is PNG, but you can easily change by downloading TinkerTool, which also lets you configure lots of other things without having to go into Terminal.

Other tools: UnRarX for unarchiving RAR files, ImageWell for really quick image editing and CrossOver to run Windows programs.

Josep - September 18, 2010


Ryan M. Healy - September 20, 2010

Wow!! I can’t believe how much feedback I’ve gotten. I also can’t believe how many of you use Macs. It’ll take me a bit to investigate all this, but I’ll be putting together a “summary post” soon. Thanks to all who’ve contributed to this! :-)

    Ryan M. Healy - September 22, 2010

    It’s taken me a couple hours to tabulate everything — over 60 software programs on the list! Now gotta finish writing that summary post.

Kevin2i - September 29, 2010

What’s all this about screen capture software? It is simply

Command + Shift + 3 Screen shot to desktop
Command + shift + 4 Cursor to select screen shot to desktop

Command + control + shift + 3 Screen shot to memory
Command + control + shift + 4 Curser to select screen shot to memory (then command+V to paste)
(okay, not intuitive, but once you know it, it works great)

For transferring files — hook up your windows hard drive to the mac (in a portable enclosure if using a macbook or imac). Macs read ntfs drives, but can’t write to them.

    Ryan M. Healy - September 29, 2010

    Laura shared those first two keyboard shortcuts in the first comment, but I don’t think anybody shared how to save screen shots to memory (instead of the desktop), so thank you.

    Most of the screen capture software is recommended because of extra features that allow you to manipulate and edit the image. See, for example.

Comments are closed