capsule review

WorkStrip X

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At a Glance
  • Softchaos Workstrip X

Designed to replace the Dock in Mac OS X, Softchaos's WorkStrip X attempts to bring order to the desktops of harried Mac users. Like the Dock, WorkStrip lets you launch applications with one click on an icon. And it lets you organize your files into Workspaces, which are great if you need to keep track of many projects. The program also remembers recently visited Web sites and recently created or edited documents.

Control-clicking on any program icon in WorkStrip opens a contextual menu that gives you access to files generated with that app. For example, the contextual menu for Microsoft Word lets you instantly preview your Word files.

You add items, such as folders, to WorkStrip either by choosing Keep In Strip from the pop-up menu of an active application or by dragging any item from the Finder to WorkStrip. Once you drop a folder on WorkStrip, you can easily navigate through its subfolders and select documents. Control-clicking on the folder displays a hierarchical menu that groups contents alphabetically by type and creator. (Oddly, you also remove items by selecting Keep In Strip, and you can't drag them off of the strip as you can with the Dock.) Clearly, WorkStrip provides you with numerous ways to systematize your work. But we would prefer a more streamlined, practical approach with more focused features. You must read the manual to use WorkStrip effectively, and even then, how to best use the program is not always apparent.

Macworld's Buying Advice

WorkStrip X promises simplicity and efficiency--but before it can deliver, you'll need to spend a significant amount of time setting it up and experimenting with its features.

At a Glance
  • Pros

    • Speedy, versatile preview feature
    • One-click access to programs, files, and URLs


    • Getting started is time-consuming
    • Overwhelming feature set
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