It's amazing how many shortcuts and cool online tricks we each use every day, and never share with each other.
In a casual conversation with a co-worker over AIM, I shared a link to an online tool I use nearly every day; he'd never heard of it or used it, and thanked me for sharing. So, it occurred to me that there are many online resources, shortcuts, keystrokes, and services I use each day—and my fellow Fastspotters are not even aware they exist. This post is an attempt at remedying that situation.
Agency Director & Project Manager
- Resize Browser: I use this tool to send accurate screen grabs of live websites in order to represent a sample of standard display sizes. This simple site shows the varying sizes as outlines on the page; on click, a new window of the exact size chosen opens.
- Strip HTML: This is handy when porting content over from a client's old site to a the new site. Copy and paste will inevitably inherit junky in-line styles from the old, usually not-so-standards-compliant website. The best part is, if you want to keep some of the basic HTML intact, you can choose to "allow" certain tags to remain in the code; that's awesome for maintaining paragraph breaks and nested lists.
- Paste and Match Style Shortcut: If inconsistent formatting drives you nuts, look no further than Mac keystroke Command+Option+Shift+V. I use this daily to copy and paste between documents and email messages in order to keep font sizes, styles, and other formatting consistent with my choices and Fastspot's brand—thus avoiding the blue Comic Sans document styles chosen by my client.
- Date/Time Calculator: Time math is admittedly not one of my strengths. In order to keep things straight as far as terms of a contract, like one whose terms are based on months from a start date, I use this handy tool to calculate time between dates or an end date after a certain number of days. The whole website, timeanddate.com, has a slew of other tools, including time zone references and travel time calculators. It's a project manager's dream come true.
- Delete Right (Forward Delete) Shortcut: Switching to an Apple Wireless Keyboard meant losing the numeric keypad and another great option: the forward delete () key. I had no idea how much I used it until it wasn't there. Enter my most frequently used shortcut: Function+Delete.
- Alfred: I've only got one trick up my sleeve, but, boy, is it a doozy. Basically, Alfred is an application launcher. You type a keyboard command of your choosing (mine's Command+L, for launch) and a minimal text box shows up in the center of your screen. Start typing the name of an app, and it generates a list of apps. Press enter when you've narrowed it down to the right one to launch that application. I can open Google Chrome by typing "ch" and then pressing enter. Because of Alfred, my dock isn't cluttered with apps, and I never have to deal with Launchpad or the Application folder. Alfred also serves as a calculator, searches the files on your computer, and searches Google or any other web service. It's completely customizable, too. I set up a shortcut that searches weather.com when type "bmore weather." Or if I need to search the jQuery docs for information about click events, I just type "jq click." It's Apple's Spotlight, but on steroids. Alfred shaves precious seconds off of every little action I do on my computer. Oh, and it's free.
- Sunrise.im: A couple weeks ago, we talked about getting a daily digest email to keep up with Google Calendar. Just recently, I found Sunrise.im. It sends you a nicely designed daily digest, and it connects with Google Calendar, LinkedIn, and Facebook (if that's your jam). It also shows the weather. I've been getting it for about a week. Highly recommended.
User Experience Director
- Screen Capture Shortcuts: Shift+Command+4 and Shift+Command+4+Spacebar are great shortcuts to get screen captures that you can paste into a document from your clipboard.
- Document Navigation Shortcuts: Command+Arrow-Up and Command+Arrow-Down to jump to the top/bottom of most text based documents. Command+Arrow-Left to jump back to the beginning of a line. All of these make composing new documents a snappier process.
President & Chief Executive Officer
- TripIt App: With how much we travel on a monthly basis, I couldn't live without this app.
- Google Calendar: Same as above—I couldn't live without this app. We all live and die by the calendar as a reference for deadlines, meetings, conference calls, travel, staff vacations...
- Expensify App: I possibly want to start requiring everyone to use this app when they travel for work. It is so much easier than keeping paper receipts and looking through credit card statements.
- Bank of America App: It's just nice all around for mobile banking.
- Wunderground App: A more detailed weather app when you need to monitor hurricanes :(
- Harvest App: The mobile app is great for getting "currently working on" company snapshot by looking at the team status screen.
Art & Technology Director
- For design tasks, I'm currently working with Adobe Fireworks, Illustrator, and Photoshop on a daily basis, but I'm extremely excited about replacing my daily design apps with Sketch and Pixelmator, which are both award-winning applications from independent developers.
- I'm also utilizing a variety of web type services for font hosting, the best of which is still Typekit, and beta testing the typography design service Typecast.
- For development, I use BigTree CMS, Coda 2, Patterns, and Code Runner.
- For writing, I use Byword for both OSX and iOS.
John "Yianni" Mathioudakis
- Adobe Fireworks: I made custom shortcuts for setting text to all lowercase or uppercase, which is very useful when designing. In order to do that, go to Fireworks>Keyboard Shortcuts, then go to Commands>Text and select "case lowercase" or "case uppercase." The key commands I assigned are Control+Option+L for lowercase and Control+Option+U for uppercase. I find it useful to keep a sticky note on my monitor whenever I assign new shortcuts so I can easily reference them.
- Safari: I come across a lot of useful resources and sites for inspiration all the time when browsing. When I find something worth keeping, I use the shortcut Command+D to quickly add a bookmark and place it in the appropriate folder.
- Design inspiration: siteInspire
- Articles, interviews, and videos on design: Method and Craft