Software for Macintosh

Last updated Friday, 11 March 2011 — 12:03am

Here I keep a running directory of software for Mac OS X that I have found especially useful. Many of these cannot be found in the Mac App Store. Unless I indicate otherwise, everything here is free.


  • BibDesk is a graphical bibliography manager that serves as an easy interface for BibTeX.
  • Coda costs money, but is the best website development and administration tool I have ever used. It comes bundled with complete interactive reference books for HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP.
  • MarsEdit costs money, but is the essential toolkit for serious bloggers who know better than to write and manage content in unreliable web-browser interfaces.
  • Scrivener, which also costs money, takes the principles of integrated development environments for computer programmers and applies them to large-scale writing projects. Never use a clunky word processor again.
  • Sidenote is a retractable notepad that pops in and out of the side of your screen, and the perfect tool for jotting down bits and pieces of text in an organized manner.
  • TeXShop is a tidy graphical front-end for all your LaTeX typesetting needs.


  • Adium is the only instant messaging program you will ever need.
  • ClickToFlash is a Safari extension that selectively blocks Flash elements on websites unless you choose to activate them yourself.
  • Fugu is a lightweight FTP/SFTP client, perfect for those who only do occasional file transfers and don’t feel like paying for Transmit. It has not been updated in some time, but it works.
  • GlimmerBlocker is a highly flexible ad-blocker that can also be configured to disable intrusive website enhancements and scripts.
  • Keywurl is an indispensable Safari plug-in if you prefer Safari to Firefox, but can’t live without Firefox’s keyword search feature.


  • Freedom cuts you off from the Internet for up to eight hours at a time.
  • iStat is a system-monitoring widget available in lightweight and advanced flavours.
  • OnyX is a utility for advanced system maintenance and tweaking hidden settings.
  • Quicksilver is a cross between a program launcher and a magician.
  • smcFanControl adds an indicator to the menubar that monitors your computer’s core temperature and fans, and also allows you to manually boost your fan speed for quick cooling.
  • The Unarchiver unpacks and decompresses files in virtually any format you throw at it.


  • DarwiinRemote is more or less comatose as far as development is concerned, but remains the most efficient way to link a Wii remote to the Mac.
  • Quackle is the best AI and game analysis tool for serious Scrabble players.
  • Sigma Chess is an excellent chess program with extensive tools for study and analysis, and is not too intimidating for amateurs. There is a commercial version for serious experts, but the free version will be more than sufficient for most players.
  • Zyzzyva is the preeminent Scrabble tool for word study as well as the tournament-standard software for dictionary lookups.