I recently bought a new Apple iMac to replace my ancient Dell laptop. I knew I was going to need to learn a new interface, new keyboard shortcuts, and which new software to get to replace the programs I’d used on my PC.
But rather than blindly researching on my own, I decided to ask my subscribers for their best tips and tricks, plus their recommendations for the best Mac software programs. And they delivered in spades!
In fact, when I printed out all the comments, it came to 23 pages worth of information! (And that’s not even counting the email replies I received.)
As you can imagine, it’s taken me quite a few hours over a number of days to read through all the feedback, research all the software programs, and tabulate the results. But the end result is a fairly comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts, software programs, and productivity tips for Internet marketers who work on a Mac.
Mac Keyboard Shortcuts
On a PC, most hotkey shortcuts begin by pressing the Control button plus some other button. On a Mac, there is still a Control button, but you actually use the Command button for most shortcuts. For instance, to bold text on a PC, you’d hit Control B; but on a Mac you’d hit Command B. With that in mind, here are a few helpful shortcuts.
Command T : Hit Command plus T to open a new tab in your favorite browser.
Command ~ (tilda) : Hit Command plus the tilda key (left of the 1 key) to toggle between windows within a single application (e.g. multiple browser windows within Safari).
Command Tab : Hit Command plus Tab to toggle between multiple applications (e.g. Safari, Pages, and iTunes).
fn F9 : Hit the Function key plus F9 to view all open windows in all open programs, then click to select the window/program you want.
fn F11 : Hit the Function key plus F11 for the equivalent of “Show Desktop.” All your open windows will slide out of site instantly.
fn > : Hit the Function key plus the right arrow to instantly scroll to the bottom of a web page.
fn < : Hit the Function key plus the left arrow to instantly scroll to the top of a web page.
Command Shift > : Hit Command Shift plus the right arrow key to toggle between tabs in your browser window.
Command R : The F5 key on your Mac won’t refresh your browser window. Hit Command plus R instead.
Command > : Hit Command plus the right arrow to move your cursor to the end of a line of text.
Command < : Hit Command plus the left arrow to move your cursor to the beginning of a line of text.
Shift Command 3 : To capture an image of your screen.
Shift Command 4 : To capture an image of a specific portion of your screen.
fn Delete : On a PC, you get a backspace key and a delete key. Not so on an Apple keyboard. You get one delete key. If you’re in a text document, place the cursor at the end of a word and hit delete for the equivalent of backspace. If you’re at the front of a word you’d like to delete, you can press the Function key plus Delete. This is the equivalent of the delete key on a PC.
Of course, there are many more shortcuts available if you’d like to learn them. Here’s Apple’s complete list of keyboard shortcuts.
And if you’re just switching from a PC to a Mac (like I am), you can check out this series called 100 Top Tips and Tricks for Windows Switchers by Cult of Mac.
Best Mac Software Programs for Home-Based Internet Businesses
All told, I received recommendations for more than 60 different software programs. I’ve broken them down into broad categories and ranked them according to how many times they were recommended. So the first program in each list was the most recommended, the second program was the second-most recommended, and so forth.
Even better, I’ve made sure to note which programs are free, or at least offer a free version. So if you’re on a tight budget (or you just like to save money), you can focus only on the free programs.
Best Mac Text Editor:
- Textwrangler – 8 votes (free!)
- TextMate – 2 votes
- Bean – 1 vote (free!)
- TextEdit – Mac’s native app, received a few “good enough” votes
Best Mac HTML Editor:
You’ll notice that Textwrangler is repeated from the list above. This is because some text editors can be used for plain text or HTML markup. People who code by hand will often use a text editor as an HTML editor.
- Textwrangler – 5 votes (free!)
- Dreamweaver – 3 votes
- BBEdit – 2 votes
- SeaMonkey – 2 votes (free!)
- Espresso – 2 votes
- Coda by Panic – 1 vote
- KompoZer – 1 vote
- Komodo Edit – 1 vote (free!)
- Aptana Studio – 1 vote (free!)
- Rapidweaver – 1 vote
- Flux – 1 vote
- NVU – 1 vote (free!)
Best Mac FTP Programs
- Transmit by Panic – 6 votes
- Cyberduck – 6 votes (free!)
- FileZilla – 5 votes (free!)
- Fetch – 2 votes
- FireFTP – 1 vote (free!)
- Flow – 1 vote
As you can see, there was a two-way tie for Best Mac FTP Program. Here are three of the comments I received:
From Alex Juel: “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.”
From John Lenaghan in his article 7 Applications Every Mac-Based Internet Marketer Should Be Using: “Transmit lets you edit files on the host so you don’t have to download them, edit them and then upload them back to the server. If I’m testing something or making a minor change to a file this can save a lot of time.”
From Ralph Napolitano, the Special Projects Manager for Business Breakthroughs International: “For FTP, anyone recommending Fetch is old school and Transmit is somewhat limited compared to Cyberduck. The nice thing with Cyberduck is it even works with Amazon servers. Nice!”
My comment: I personally researched this and Transmit 4 has been upgraded quite a bit. Panic says Transmit has 45+ new features, including the ability to handle Amazon S3. From what I can tell, Transmit appears to be the better program, which is why I bought it. That said, Cyberduck is free while Transmit costs $34. Either way you choose, I’m sure you’ll be happy.
Best Video Screen Capture Software for Macs:
Best Screen Capture Tool for Macs:
- Snapz Pro X – 3 votes
- Skitch – 2 votes (free!)
- Jing Pro – 2 votes
- Little Snapper - 1 vote
- ImageWell – 1 vote
My comment: The most affordable way to have the ability to do video screen captures PLUS static screen captures is to get Jing Pro; it’s only $14.95 a year. Its only limitation is that screen capture videos have a 5-minute limit. If you need to create longer screen capture videos, you’ll be best served by one of the more expensive options.
Best Mind Map Software for Macs:
Best Mac Password Manager:
Best Applications for Running Windows:
- Parallels – 3 votes
- VMWare Fusion – 1 vote
- Virtual Box – 1 vote (free!)
- Cross Over – 1 vote
- Boot Camp – Mac native app
There wasn’t a whole lot of input on the best way to run Windows on a Mac, but I did note this tip…
From Rob Metras: “Get VMWare Fusion for your Virtual Windows Platform – Better than Parallels.”
Best Mac Software Program – Miscellaneous:
A bunch of software programs were recommended in this category. I’ve organized all recommendations into subcategories for easy reference. And just for the record, it seems people were more passionate about Scrivener than any other program, which is why it’s the first program listed below.
From Brian McLeod: “Check out Scrivener from Literature and Latte for an amazing writing tool.”
From Dr. Hambrick: “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. [...] I can’t live without Scrivener.”
So, without further adieu, I present the best Mac software programs that fall outside those listed above…
Writing & Editing Programs:
- Scrivener – for outlining, storyboarding, and writing
- OmmWriter – for concentrating on your writing (free!)
- TypeIt4Me – for fast typing and custom shorthand
- MarsEdit – for (off-line) desktop blog editing
- CopyPaste Pro – for saving multiple items on your clipboard
- Sitesucker – for saving entire websites to your desktop
- Dragon Dictate for Mac – for speech recognition, voice to text
Audio Recording & Editing:
- Ecamm Call Recorder – for recording Skype calls (audio and video)
- Wiretap Studio – for recording audio (Skype calls, etc.)
- Audacity – for editing audio files (free!)
Image Editing & Video:
Note-Taking, Productivity & Organization:
- Evernote – for taking, storing, and searching notes (free!)
- DEVONthink Pro – for organizing and annotating lots of information
- Yojimbo – for collecting, storing, and finding information
- OmniFocus – for personal task management
- Apimac Timer – for running multiple timers simultaneously (free!)
Email & Instant Messaging:
- Adium – for managing multiple instant messaging (IM) feeds/platforms
- Mailplane – for managing multiple Gmail accounts
- Flip4Mac – for playing WMV format videos (free!)
- Truecrypt – for disk encryption
- Superduper – for fully bootable backups and system recovery
- Jungle Disk – for data synchronization and remote backups
- Cocktail – for system maintenance and interface tweaks
- Growl – for customizable desktop notifications
Best Mac Tips and Tricks
From Markus Allen of the weekly Stump Markus radio show:
Best Mac tip: Your new iMac turns anything that’s printable into a PDF file. For example, if you have a document (it doesn’t really matter what it is, or even what application you used to create it) – chances are you can turn it into a PDF. Just hit Command+P (or select [Print] from the [File] menu). Next, you’re going to see a button labelled “PDF” at the bottom-left of the Print dialog box… click this, and you get a bunch of PDF options. The second option is to “Save as PDF.” Done. Instant PDF. This tip works well to create swipe files of those super-long web letters… yep, this PDF tip captures everything.
From Shel Horowitz, author of Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green:
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.
From Nick Dalton Pernblad of the iPhone Development Blog:
Task: Publish your ebooks on the iBookstore
Software: Pages (latest version)
Steps: Load your text document into Pages and export into EPUB format. You can then upload the EPUB file to Lulu to get it published on the iBookstore.
Result: Expose your ebooks to a new marketplace and brand new customers with very little effort and investment.
And, last but not least, you might want to check out Kevin Cullis’s book for work-at-home folks who want to start a business with a Mac: How to Start a Business: Mac Version.
So there you have it: Just about all the Mac tips, shortcuts, and software programs you could possibly want to know about, all in a single blog post. ;-)
-Ryan M. Healy
P.S. I spent quite a few hours putting this post together. I hope it’s a valuable resource to you. If you like the post and want to reference it in the future, please bookmark it on Delicious, Digg it, Tweet it, etc. Thanks in advance for your help!