What piece of software is missing from the Mac platform? What plug-in or addition to OS X would severely increase your productivity by eliminating a step in your workflow?

I’m going to start working on my next application, but wanted your opinion of what I should make. If you have any ideas or comments, send me an E-mail or post a comment on this blog post. Feel free to share this with anyone who is interested.

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36 Responses to “”

  • How about application tabs, like in OS 9 where you could dock the finder windows on the bottom of the screen. The ability to do that in OSX, with any window on anyside would be great!

    I really hate it when I’m doing something and trying to chat at the same time, I could just pull a tab from the side of the screen to chat with them :)


  • In the apple menu, when you click File, a selection should be included in the drop-down menu called “New” and then a submenu with selections for Wordprocessing, Presentation, etc.
    Users shouldn’t have to think before making a document, “what app do I have to use”

  • A truly ROBUST, professional level font management/previewing/troubleshooting utility that works as advertised. Something similar to Font Reserve that won’t flake out when you have over 1,500 fonts.

    But…this is a really TALL ORDER. Will we ever see a font manager that REALLY WORKS for designers and prepress pros with large font libraries? It would be a dream come true that could save me many hours a day…

  • This will sound mudane, but it is big in many organizations:
    A full Microsoft Exchange client. Something that will work seamlessly with Exchange Server, making Macs fully the equal of Windows boxes. I would prefer this be done via Mail and the present iApps. I would not expect Microsoft to produce such a product ever. They know that this keeps Macs out of many organizations and they like that. They know that even a few Macs in businesses would make Windows users less ignorant of the deficiencies of their platform. And Windows users are quite ignorant of these deficiencies.
    What I have never understood is why Apple does not GET this fairly simple problem. The present “solutions” in Mail or iCal offered are second rate support and not full client functionality. Besides, my organization, like many, is still stuck in 1997 Exchange Server 5.5 which even these second rate solutions do not support.
    The problem is simple. The solution is feasable. The problem is Apple lacking the vision to perceive the problem.

  • What’s missing is a server/client-based time tracking and management application. I’ve searched high and low. The only thing that comes close to acceptable is http://www.clicktime.com/ but it’s internet-based.

  • What I *really* need is a program which will allow me to take a “snapshot” of a web page, automatically scroll to the bottom of that page, and create a standard-format image (JPEG, PNG, etc.). As a web designer whose bosses are constantly asking for “screenshots” of pages, of portable visual site maps which don’t require network connections (or even browsers — I’m often asked to build them as powerpoint presentations), this could be a real time-saver,

    I spend a ridiculous amount of time taking screenshots, scrolling down, taking more screenshots, and then pasting them together in photoshop. Apple’s “save to PDF” function is nice for rough stuff, but it makes bizarre transformations of input buttons, etc., and forces everything to fit on an 8.5 x 11 sheet — not what I need.

    I’d love to be on a web page, go to Safari>Services, and select “Snag Web Page” or something, which would create a JPEG of the entire page, scrolling all the way to the bottom, and deposit it on my desktop.

    I’d gladly pay $$ for this tool.

    I also second the real font management tool, but that’s a huge thing to bite off, and robably a pipe dream. If one did tackle it, tho, how ’bout some of the old ATM features? Ah, a guy can dream…


  • Wow, alot of people want a good font management tool :)
    Have any of you looked at Font Explorer X? I downloaded it yesterday and it seems pretty great (and its free!). I heard it doesn’t get bogged down near as much as Font Book.

    David, that sounds like a interesting idea; I think I will be researching the possibility of making an application like your described! :D

  • Hey David,

    You can do that by holding down apple-P and then save as PDF.


  • Sometimes the above may not work if the website specifies an alternate print style sheet. Also check out these:




  • Yeah, but as he was saying it garbles the page up a bit, the UI elements get messed up.

  • Yeah Mike that’s a problem.. You could also try this:



  • Good speech recognition! Macspeech and viavoice are years behind what is available for the PC (especially dragon naturallyspeaking8). Even microsofts built-in speech recognition is way ahead of the commercial products available for mac users.

    We REALLY need good speech recognition on the mac and we need it yesterday!

  • The mac (like all other computers) need a updated interface.
    The keyboard is a looser.
    Useable handwriting recognition
    Funtional voice recognition
    Useable OCR scanning
    Visual recognition/imput by video
    Set the form factor free give us heads up video out

  • Needs for Macs to fully integrate seamlessly/transparently into a MS Windows centric business envionmen – including:
    – a fully featured MS Exchange client (beyond Entourage 2004) that works without Mail Admins having to do ANYTHING speciail/different for Mac clients vs. PC clients.
    – a fully MS NetMeeting compatible T.120 data/applications sharing client (less so the need for videoconferencing support) that works with MS conferencing server.
    – better ActiveDirectory integration (Apple should just buy/bundle Thursby’s DAVE vs. trying to create their own less capable support).
    – increased feature parity with Windows Messanger than the new MS Messenger for Mac provides (but Thank You MS, that’s a start!).
    – more robust PalmOS (or Blackberry) PDA feature support/sunchronization. Ability to sync with Exchange data – Mail/AddressBook/iCal – Palm apps. (Again, Apple should purchase/bundle the third-party apps that are available that do this better than what they offer).
    – an MS PCVM compatible remote system management/patch/update add-on that worked with Macs. (yes, different tools exist today for doing all that with Macs, but I thnk what’s needed is for a mac ‘plugin’ to the PC standard tools so support staff can use one solution.)

    Things like this the key remaining impediments to busineses being able to buy and mix in Macs without any “extra work/knowldge” into their environments. Many are attracted to Macs ease-of use, feature-set, malware resistance, security – but shy away because it means learning something different and implementing/configuring things differently from a support standpoint.

  • Hi,
    This may sound silly, but I do a lot of audio work on the Mac and I have always wanted
    a small, floating, “Old-school” -style Audio VU Meters window that would show your levels
    regardless of what app was being used. (Like old TEAC reel -to- reel Needles, round glass.)

    I know “digital” VU level meters are infinitely easier to make. But one can still dream…

  • Area51 –

    Thanks for the tip — SnapWeb works pretty well. I’d still rather have a tool which acts as a part of the service menu, but this will definitely save me time. The interface could still be improved, tho. But, not being an App developer myself, beggars can’t be choosers … ;-)


  • A CRM application something close to entourage one that integrates ical, address book and more

  • A virtual CD and or DVD emulator similar to PC applications that allow you to load an image of a cd or dvd and use the image instead of requiring the cd or dvd.

  • An email client that works as well as Mail or plug-in for Mail, that allows you to add an alias to any directory in your profile to the normal list of mailboxes/folders in the Mail side pane for transfer/saves instead of only being able to use special mail directories, unless you want to do a save as text for each. I prefer to put mai in individual project (subject) correspondence directories. Ideally, doubling clicking one of thes saved files would open it in Mail just as a .txt opens in Text. Seems like it should easily be possible.

    I hate having all my mail in some special file (like in Entourage/Outlook) or place instead of where I want to keep it. Of course, those that like all their email in one special place as it is now should be able to keep that function.

    NISUS Mail did this and I loved it, but it has no spam filtering or Address book connection and its development was stopped. It also put a special index in your chosen directory aliases that, if lost or damaged, killed listings within the (program contained) directory alias.

  • I desperately need Take-Off software for viewing architectural/civil plans (blueprints) on the Mac. There is none, not even a bad one, none at all. These plans are almost always compressed tiff files and the PC programs designed for this purpose commonly have the ability to measure scaled linear distances, measure square footage areas, count items, etc. If it were not for this one piece of software, I could be using a Mac at the office. I would be happy to direct anyone to a sample of this type of PC application as a benchmark (free to download but not accessible to everyone). It would have to be a lightweight application to quickly open 300K-700K files, zoom in, see what there is to see and move on to the next.
    Save us please!

  • FrameMaker, for long document preparation. Was there, but Adobe is stopping support for the mac version. Mac FrameMaker was never updated to OS X. No program is comparable. Even Apple uses FrameMaker (or used to use FrameMaker) for preparing some of its documentation.

  • There’s no full-featured GIS software package available for the Mac yet. I really think ESRI should port ArcGIS to the Mac; I don’t know of any other GIS packages that come close to its functionality and extensive usefulness.

  • What I really would find usefull would be a true uninstall that would find and delete unwanted software and their specific related files since some third party software vendors include very little info as to what they install and where.
    Also…a back and forward button in Safari’s contextual menu. Something that
    should have been there from the getgo.

  • Ditto on the tabbed windows.

    What I’d most like though is to see Double! I’d like a double dock, a double side bar, and more than one Widget grouping.

    I’d also like to see the Find command revert to the Jaguar approach… the default being search by name with a search by content box below that.

    It would also be good in Open dialog boxes to have a pull down menu of recent items. In fact, bring back something like Now Utilities with its smart drop down menus in the dialog boxes. The side bar doesn’t really cut it, and Now used to hide files and show folders when searching for a place to save… much less cluttered.

  • MoldyJohn,

    Please send me a url (or post it here) for the takeoff software. I have a Mac takeoff app I wrote years ago (didn’t know this concept had a name), and I’d update it in a heartbeat if it’s actually needed.


  • You should contact mant of the pro audio companies like Crown, dbx, BSS, peavey etc. They should be looking for a developer to write OSX versions of their software used to program the many Digital Audio Processors. I am an audio contractor/installer and ALL of the DSP’s require using a windoze box just to program their units. I know there are others besides myself who would love to use the Mac for this also. It would eliminate the need for me to have a windodoze machine completely!

  • Mike:
    About the CD Emulator thing, they already have that built into Mac OS X, Disk images are exactly that. Toast also has its own Disk Image making utility as well.
    PC’s are stuck into the Drive Letter scheme whereas macs can have as many as they want.


  • 1. Extension of VOICEOVER so that it will function vocalizing keystrokes in Excel or any forthcoming Apple spreadsheet, so that anyone entering figures from a printed list need not look up and down, up and down, up and down, at the list and at the monitor.
    2. Mailmerge in Pages.
    3. Search/Find/Replace feature in Pages as good as that in the old Nisus 3.06.
    4. Macros in Pages as good as those in the old Nisus 3.06

  • For: David Nett.

    Check out Paparazzi! Looks like it does exactly what you need. Even lets you choose the page dimensions in pixels.


  • Alexandre de Carvalho

    What’s missing, for me, is a solution that could extended the Finder copy, when there’s a file/folder with the same name. Something that could ask you to replace (as it does) but also Synchronize, Smatr Replace, rename files on-the-fly thus canceling the replace action, quicktime preview of the conflict files (when available). I have a pict simulation I can send you. Few years ago, Connectix had a product for Mac OS 9 Classic, called SpeedCopy, that did similar things. For OS X there is nothing yet, working transparently in the OS.

    Also missing is an old control panel back from the classic days. For people working with big screen resolutions or multiple displays. what it did was, by modifier key+click anywhere on the screen, a pop up window would come up with the open applications (a submenu with corresponding open windows for each application) .this enable you do switch to that application right there in that same screen position (no need to go to the menu/dock, or use the app swticher. all of these take to long in multiple displays and hig resolutions…)

  • How about
    1. Solidworks
    2. Catia V5
    3. Cosmos FEM

    Those are the two main tools that engineers use (At least I use ‘em at my work) and they’re only available on PCs.

    Don’t say Vectorworks and shizzle like that. Solidworks/Catia/Cosmos are the industry standard, so I gotta use ‘em whether I like it or not.

  • A Visio Reader or Free Plug Ins maybe ?

  • This is for David Nett. The utility to capture web pages as pictures already exists. Take a look.


  • What you need it a server/client-based time tracking and management application, probably someone already mentioned.

  • Thank you everyone for your input, I’ll be researching a few of your ideas further! :D

  • Oh the other thing that’s definitely missing is an Real Audio-to-MP3/WAV/ACC converter.

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