I’m the Macintosh software developer behind St. Clair Software. I do everything from software design and development to tech support to marketing, and as such, have a pretty broad set of workflows on my Mac. My focus is getting things done efficiently, and looking at my menu bar, that’s what everything is there for.
What is your current laptop / desktop?
I use a mid-2014 MacBook Pro, with an external 27″ monitor, wired mouse and Kinesis Advantage keyboard. It’s got enough RAM and CPU to do what I need while not tying me permanently to a desk.
What menu bar apps do you use and why?
In order of appearance:
DropZone – A handy and configurable drag-and-drop utility that allows you to “dock” drags so you can drop them later, as well as set up useful actions and destinations for dropped items. This is my latest addition and I’m still seeing how it fits in my workflows.
Keyboard Maestro – The swiss army knife that makes me productive. I’ve got keyboard macros assigned to switch between apps, run AppleScripts, perform all manner of automation, and generally save me a ton of time throughout my day. It’s an essential tool that makes my Mac “mine”.
Monosnap – A great screenshot utility that has excellent built-in annotation / mark-up tools. I use it a lot when responding to tech support emails to show customers exactly what I’m talking about. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.
TextExpander – The other half of my automation arsenal. TextExpander expands text shortcuts as you type, letting me set up often-used words and phrases to save me from constantly retyping things. I shorten everything from “Default Folder X”, which is typed as “:DFX”, to entire explanations that I regularly need when answering support emails.
Numi – Because you always need a calculator / unit converter, and it’s one of the best if you’re into typing rather than pushing on-screen calculator buttons.
Default Folder X – I’m a little biased here, but this one saves me a ton of time dealing with files and folders every day. I’ve got keyboard shortcuts for accessing all the folders I normally use in the Finder and in Open and Save dialogs, and the recent files and folders plus hierarchical menus get me to everything else quickly too.
Time Machine – Because disks fail.
Arq – A cloud backup app that uses whatever storage medium you want. I back up to Amazon S3. Because even backup disks fail.
Backblaze – Yet another copy of important stuff saved to the cloud 🙂
Apple’s WiFi menu extra – Don’t forget you can Option-click on its icon to get your IP address and other details, or to disconnect from a network without turning WiFi off.
TripMode – Because I like to know (and control) which apps are sending and receiving data, but don’t need all the bells and whistles of Little Snitch.
Apple’s Battery and Sound menu extras – Of course.
Jettison – I unplug my laptop and take it with me frequently. This ejects external disks when the machine goes to sleep, or on demand using its menu icon – it saves a minute here and there and reduces stress because I always seem to be leaving my office at the last minute.
App Tamer – I originally wrote this for my own use because Safari would drain my laptop’s battery ridiculously fast when I was unplugged, yet I didn’t want to quit it because I was frequently flipping back and forth between Mail and Safari. App Tamer’s gotten a lot more sophisticated and I now use it all the time to keep a bunch of apps from using too much CPU, stopping them from draining my battery or spinning up my MacBook Pro’s fans.
CopyLess – A fantastic clipboard manager that remembers 100 clipboard entries and, most importantly, lets you quickly select text entries by typing some of the text. If you write code or send lots of email, this allows you to keep numerous snippets of text in your clipboard, then quickly select and paste the right one without taking your hands off the keyboard.
The remaining menu items are all the standard Apple stuff. I’m not sure why I’ve still got Siri up there, since I rarely use it – I guess I’m waiting for the dictation and navigation features in Catalina at this point.
Is there a menu bar app that doesn’t exist yet and should be invented?
If I could think of something else truly useful, I’d write it! 🙂
Want to share your Mac menu bar? That would me great!