Twelve Programs for the Freelance Designer

The intent of this listing is to relay some of the better Macintosh programs we have come across that get the job done well. These programs are not necessarily cool, well-designed or number one in their category, but have a strong work ethic and are an easy-to-learn interface for quick and effective results. We will try to explain each one to the best our ability in no particular order.

iBiz by IGG Software, LLC.

As a freelancer, it's almost expected that you have a unique invoice design, this is especially true of graphic designers. It's a great way to extend your design skills and impress a Client or two. iBiz is one of the few project management programs to allow complete creativity in this area. You are able to develop a fully customized, CSS styled, package that includes: invoices, estimates, receipts, scope-of-work and more. IGG Software truly removes all of the painstakingly slow processes out of doing the paperwork by fully automating it. iBiz 4 was recently released and at a great price of only $39.99 for a single user license with free upgrades until the next major release.

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MailSteward by Pubblog.

MailSteward assists with organization, archiving and backing up of email. It includes an easy-to-use search feature for combing through thousands of emails even if all you need is the attachment that came with it. MailSteward helpfully compresses all or none of your email attachments for archiving. Starting at $24.95 with cost effective upgrades this is a great way to remind a Client what they really emailed a year ago. In the freelance business that can mean money earned. MailSteward even satisfies Federal legal requirements mandated by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ( FRCP ).

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Transmit by Panic.

It's true you could use Cyberduck, a free download for the management of domains with unreliable usability ( in our experience it crashed quite a bit ) or a slew of other freeware FTP programs as well. It might be worth it to purchase the workhorse that is Transmit. Priced at $29.95 for a single user license with plenty of upgrades until the next major release, it is well organized, retains your passwords and log in information and even makes folder searches a breeze, all bundled in a tightly knit GUI.

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Paparazzi by Derailer.

Paparazzi was designed with the specific intention of capturing a perfect screen shot of any web site. This may seem pointless to those using screen grab shortcuts but when it comes to web sites that exceed the screen length, Paparazzi steps in there to save time by not patching together multiple screen grabs in Photoshop. It is also possible to save the screens in jpg or tiff format and best of all, it's a free download.

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VMWare Fusion by VMWare.

The debate still rages between VMWare Fusion and Parallels and the honest truth is if you're working on the web you should have access to either one of them. We are currently using VMWare Fusion with no issues and have heard no complaints from our neighbors using Parallels either. They seem to be relatively equal thus far. We recommend installing IETester for those fun nights rebuilding your sites in Explorer 6.

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Versions by Sofa.

If you're working with subversion on the Mac, Versions is a wonderful place to start. You could download the subversion client for free and start your own environment but Versions makes the process much easier, delievers a more satisfying GUI and with a price tag of $55.00 it's not a bad route to take for the novice Terminal user.

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Deeper by Titanium Software.

Deeper is a personalization utility allowing you to enable and disable the hidden functions of the Finder, Dock, Dashboard, Exposé, Safari, Log in window and many of Apple's other applications. With Deeper you have quick and password protected control over hidden files. Those of you doing a lot of .htaccess work can appreciate this, Deeper is able to turn hidden files on or off quickly and is also very useful for removing ico's from various programs. Deeper is free software with several variations to choose from depending on your needs.

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Suitcase Fusion by Extensis.

Every good designer needs font control to organize the thousands of fonts parading around on the desktop and Extensis has the best software available to date. Fusion 2 is the latest release and does an immaculate job of organizing and displaying the fonts all from the same GUI window. The software comes complete with plugins for all the major Adobe programs ( and Quark ) for auto activation of fonts when needed.

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Wallet by Acrylic Software.

As a freelancer, it's important to keep your serial numbers, passwords, Client emails, Client domain passwords and, did we mention, Client information in a secure place that you can access easily. Wallet is the perfect choice and at only $20 with a $5 upgrade it is affordable and secure.

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Yemuzip by Yellow Mug Software.

Zipping up files has never been easier: just drag, drop and name your file. Yemuzip is the perfect companion for those not wanting to use WinZip or similar applications. The Mac Finder's Archive function has trouble creating PC zipped files but with Yemuzip, it's only a drop away. Choose between PC-compatible or Mac formatted meta data. Yemuzip is a free download.

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MainMenu by Dare To Be Creative.

MainMenu is a slim maintenance tool for keeping your Mac running smoothly and well exercised. When things begin to drag a little, open MainMenu and clear all your browser cache's simultaneously, perform system maintenance such as rebuilding the spotlight library, repair permissions, and more with a simple click. MainMenu rests comfortably in the top bar of your Mac next to the date and time for easy access.

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Jiggler by Stick Software.

If you have ever started a lengthy download or save process but needed to step away from the computer while running it, this may be the software for you. Typically after detecting inactivity for a period of time the screen saver or power save features kick in and stops the download or corrupts your save. It is possible to turn these features off but sometimes we want these on while we are away, making this a pain. Jiggler is able to put a stop to this. Lightweight and free, Jiggler is software that literally jiggles your mouse at predetermined intervals in order to keep your computer awake. Strange, but useful.

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Dale Crum

Dale Crum

Owner / Creative Director at Doc4 Design