Editor’s note: The following review is part of Macworld’s GemFest 2012 series. Every weekday from mid June through mid August, the Macworld staff will use the Mac Gems blog to briefly cover a favorite free or low-cost program.
We all have tasks that we carry out repeatedly, which we know we could simplify if we had the time and inclination. Aptonic Limited’s Dropzone 2.3 (Mac App Store link) helps remove those obstacles for many jobs, letting you quickly perform custom actions on files that you drag into either its menubar icon or onto its pop-out Circles.
Dropzone’s preference lets you configure destinations for your files (or for bits of text, URLs, and other sorts of data); by default, these actions are relatively simple ones, such as compressing the file into a zip archive and attaching it to an email, or moving the file to your Downloads folder. One clever action even lets you drag a disk image onto it, which lets Dropzone mount the image, copy the app to your Applications folder, and unmount the disk image and move it to your trash, all in a matter of seconds.
However, the utility of Dropzone is multiplied by its extensibility. On the developer’s site, you’ll find an extensive list of additional actions created by users. Those include tasks such as adding a file to your public Dropbox folder and putting a link on your clipboard, uploading a file to an FTP or SFTP site, shortening a URL via one of a couple of popular services, and more. If you happen to be handy with the programming language Ruby, you can even create your own actions.
You can choose up to five destinations for Dropzone’s pop-out Circles, which appear when you drag a file to a chosen side of your screen. (Note that Dropzone doesn’t work ideally with multi-monitor setups; you can only choose to have the Circles appear on a side of your main monitor.) The rest of your destinations remain available in a grid in Dropzone’s menu-bar icon. While the Circles are in some way handier—and more attractive—than the menu bar icon, the lack of granularity in positioning them, especially on larger screens, mean that you sometimes make them appear accidentally.
Floating windows with progress bars let you know when a task is complete, along with an optional alert sound, and you can adjust the size of the icons in Dropzone’s menu bar grid. A Recently Shared menu gives you access to URLs for applicable items that you’ve uploaded or shared.
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