Unclutter To the Rescue

Unclutter Shot.png

Unclutter (App Store)(Website) is a handy little utility from the same developers that brought us DaisyDisk. A few days ago Macworld posted a generally favorable review of the app. I’ve been using Unclutter for some time. (Disclosure: DaisyDisk is a sometimes-sponsor of MPU).

Unclutter installs a drawer at the top of your Mac’s screen that you can pull down (by gesture or keyboard command) to get quick access to a group of files, an always-ready text field, and your clipboard. The ability to store files on your Unclutter shelf remind me of a similar feature I used to use in Quicksilver. It is really handy being able to put files somewhere for easy access later.

This is far superior to storing files on the desktop, particularly in light of the fact that I often use full screen apps. When I’m moving email attachments or graphics files between various places like Keynote and iBooks Author, the Unclutter file shelf works out great. I’ve tweaked this a bit over the default installation. For one thing, I’ve moved the location of Unclutter documents to a folder on Dropbox and pointed both my laptop and iMac at the same folder. This way if I put something in Unclutter on my iMac, it also shows up there on my MacBook. Another thing I’ve done is add a Hazel rule to sweep the desktop of any files over a certain age into Unclutter. This helps me, for lack of a better explanation, unclutter the desktop. Here’s the rule.

Unclutter Hazel Rule.png

The next most often used bit of Unclutter for me is the the text box. If I’m on the phone or otherwise need to jot a quick note I’ll do it there. For example, yesterday I received a call from an attorney on a new matter and didn’t have her contact card or the matter’s text file set up yet in nvALT. So I took notes in the Unclutter text field. After I got off the call, I set up the necessary bits and moved the text in.

The clipboard is my least often used feature of Unclutter since I’ve been doing that with my launcher. (LaunchBar and Alfred both do this splendidly.)

There are lots of great utilities for grabbing and temporarily holding files but Unclutter is the one that’s stuck with me. The quick access combined with the additional text feature are what put it over the top for me.