Category Archives: Automation

TextExpander for writing recommendation letters

The time it takes to write recommendation letters usually increases dramatically with the years spent teaching in a University. This is not a responsibility that should be ditched: many former students – especially those applying for academic positions – deserve glowing recommendations which should be … Continue reading

Posted in Automation | Tagged | 2 Comments

What software do I really need for academic work on Mac?

A reader has just challenged me to re-think the software I use for academic work on Mac. Well, there are over 250 items in my Applications folder, but how many do I need to remain productive? So imagine that I have a completely new Mac with no … Continue reading

Posted in Automation, Bibliographies, Email, Files, Graphics, Notes, Presentations, Projects, Tasks, Workflows, Writing | 41 Comments

Trying Sente instead of Papers. Two annoying setbacks.

Following the disappointments with the recent version of Papers I am trying Sente 6, a competing reference and pdf management software. The initial impression is unfortunately not very good. First, I wanted to email two references to a colleague. Papers can do this through a … Continue reading

Posted in Automation, Bibliographies | Tagged , , | 27 Comments

Ulysses III and TextExpander in teaching

Ullysses III, a note-taking app, stores its ‘sheets’ in hierarchical folders. It is therefore a great tool for keeping project notes, which similarly to project files are best organized in folders. I have previously described using Ullysses for responding to reviewer’s comments on a manuscript. This … Continue reading

Posted in Automation, Notes, Teaching | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

LaunchBar vs. Alfred 2

LaunchBar is one of the ten light automation utilities (Macademic Ninja Kit), which make academic work on a Mac fast, smooth and enjoyable. I have been using LaunchBar for over 3 years and it has become so natural that I feel literally … Continue reading

Posted in Automation | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Daily planning with TaskPaper and TextExpander

Have you ever tried to take your days one by one when they kept coming to you all at once? I have many times. To keep my days under control I use simple daily plans generated by a combination of … Continue reading

Posted in Automation, Tasks | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Custom Academic Searches on iOS

As a follow-up to my earlier post on academic searches on the Mac, here’s an easy way to replicate most of those custom searches on iOS. The key app is Drafts, which recently received a massive update. Among many other … Continue reading

Posted in Automation, Notes, Workflows, Writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Custom Academic Searches on LaunchBar

Application launchers like Alfred and LaunchBar are Swiss Army knives of software, but to take full advantage of their flexible power you really need to tweak and customize their settings. The apps aren’t designed for academics, but because they’re so … Continue reading

Posted in Automation, Workflows | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Custom keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Word for Mac

Despite alternatives to Microsoft Word it is not possible to completely avoid using it in academic work on a Mac. If you have to edit texts in MS Word you might as well do it smoothly and efficiently, save time and … Continue reading

Posted in Automation, Writing | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Searchable PDF annotations: Automating conversion to Skim notes

Many academics now read journal articles on screen, as PDF files. Holdouts—and they are everywhere—print out forest-sized stacks of paper that teeter on crowded desks. Freedom from clutter is just one advantage of digital reading. Another is searchability: a large … Continue reading

Posted in Annotation, Automation, Tags and folders | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments