Must–have for your Mac

Boost your Mac’s toolset with­out spend­ing a sin­gle cent

Mac|Life - - FEATURE -

Whether you’ve just bought your first Mac or are just look­ing for new apps, there are plenty that won’t make even the small­est dent in your bank ac­count; they’re com­pletely free. In or­der to be in­cluded in our list, apps have to be not just free to down­load but free to use as well. That doesn’t pre­clude them from hav­ing ad­di­tional fea­tures that can be pur­chased as an op­tion, but the core func­tions must be cost–free.

5 Inkscape

Of­ten used in con­junc­tion with Scribus, Inkscape is an open–source vec­tor draw­ing tool that uses scal­able vec­tor graph­ics (SVG) as its na­tive file for­mat. It has all the tools and fea­tures you’d ex­pect of a good vec­tor draw­ing app, in­clud­ing pen, pen­cil, shape, and text tools. You can trans­form ob­jects, ei­ther man­u­ally or by typ­ing ex­act val­ues, group them, and work in lay­ers. It even has a ver­sion of Il­lus­tra­tor’s Live Trace tool.

When it comes to im­port­ing files, Inkscape can han­dle Il­lus­tra­tor files, PDFs and EPS. And it can out­put to those for­mats plus PNG.

6 Scribus

If you think free means lack­ing in pro­fes­sional fea­tures, Scribus is the app to change your mind. This open–source desk­top pub­lish­ing tool has color sep­a­ra­tions, CMYK and spot col­ors sup­port, ICC color pro­files, and lots of con­trol over PDF gen­er­a­tion. There are plenty of im­port mod­ules to pull in doc­u­ments from other tools, and a thriv­ing com­mu­nity makes for fre­quent up­dates.

There’s sup­port for Open Type, True Type and PostScript Level 3 fonts, and well over 100 color pal­ettes, many of them do­nated by com­mer­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions and in­clud­ing sev­eral gov­ern­ment and sci­en­tific stan­dards.

7 > Be Fo­cused

Be Fo­cused is based on a sim­ple premise: con­cen­trat­ing is hard. As such, this neat lit­tle app al­lows you to break your big goals down into smaller tasks and set a timer for each one. Start a task by press­ing Play and the timer counts down, mo­ti­vat­ing you to stay fo­cused on what you’re do­ing un­til it hits zero.

8 > Al­fred al­

Al­fred is best thought of as a Spot­light al­ter­na­tive. As well as launch­ing apps and search­ing, though, you can also use this ef­fi­cient lit­tle helper for sys­tem com­mands like emp­ty­ing the Trash, and you can cre­ate cus­tom searches. You can also drag files straight from Al­fred to the Fin­der or an­other app.

9 > EasyRes easyre­

EasyRes is a nifty app that al­lows you to view all the avail­able res­o­lu­tions for dis­plays con­nected to your Mac from the menu bar, grouped by Retina, non– Retina, and TV res­o­lu­tions. Bet­ter still, it shows you a live an­i­mated pre­view of each be­fore you de­cide which one to se­lect. Switch­ing res­o­lu­tion has never been so easy.

10 > GIF Brew­ery 3 gif­brew­

GIF Brew­ery al­lows you to cre­ate and share GIFs from videos. You can make a screen record­ing within the app or im­port a video. You can then crop and re­size the video, set the frame rate or to­tal num­ber of frames, apply fil­ters, and add cap­tions or over­lay im­ages. Once you’re done, you can up­load GIFs to Gyf­cat to share with friends.

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