6 apps to install on a new MacBook

This six-pack of apps belongs on your Mac.

Sarah Tew/CNET

These are the first six apps I installed on my new MacBook Pro, from a text expander to a word processor, with four useful apps in between. All are free except the first, which costs only $5 and offers a free trial. Let's take them in alphabetical order.

aText

aText is a simple, text-expansion app that lets you create abbreviations for commonly typed words and phrases. With it, for example, I can type "@@" instead of my email address. Or "ty" instead of "thank you." It offers other features but it's worth the cost simply for a handful of keyboard shortcuts that saves me time each day.

aText costs $4.99 (£4.18 in the UK and AU$7.05 in Australia) and is available from Tran Ky Nam Software. You can try aText free for 14 days.

Making your own keyboard shortcuts in aText can save so much time.

Photo by Matt Elliott/CNET

Chrome

It hogs more system resources than Safari, but I need Chrome because of its little favicons that let me -- at a quick glance -- make sense out of the dozens of tabs I have open at any given moment during the day. Until Safari adds favicons to its boring and uselessly gray tabs, I'm stuck with Chrome on my Mac.

Chrome is free and available from Google.

Dropbox

Apple is making strides with iCloud Drive, but I still can't quit my Dropbox habit. It remains my preferred method for moving files between my iPhone and Mac along with sharing files from my Mac to others. The Dropbox app integrates itself into Finder and adds a helpful menu bar icon for quick access.

Dropbox is free and available from Dropbox.com.

Dropbox is still a great way to upload files to the cloud and share them with others.

Photo by Matt Elliott/CNET

Flux

If you are enjoying Night Shift on your iPhone, then you'll like Flux for your Mac. It adjusts the color temperature of your Mac's display according to the time of day. So, cooler temperatures during the day when the sun is up, then warmer colors at sunset and even warmer at bedtime.

Flux is free and available from Download.com.

Itsycal

There are more powerful calendar apps than Itsycal, but I prefer Itsycal for its simplicity. It installs an icon in the menu bar that displays the current date. You can click on the Itsycal icon to see the full month. Itsycal also lets you link to the MacOS stock Calendar app and will display upcoming appointments, but you can't schedule appointments with Itsycal. That's fine by me since I like it just to be able to glance at my menu bar to see today's date.

Itsycal is free and available direct from developer Mowglii.

Itsycal is a very simple way to see your calendar.

Photo by Matt Elliott/CNET

LibreOffice

I need to work with Microsoft Word docs on occasion, and I think LibreOffice does a better job in approximating Word than Apple's Pages app. I don't use Word enough that I need to shell out for Office for Mac, and the free LibreOffice is a suitable stand-in for Word if you don't need it on a daily basis (that's why God invented Google Docs).

LibreOffice is free as well as open-source, and available from The Document Foundation.

Before you start installing apps, here are 10 settings to tweak on your on your new MacBook.

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