Of the latter class, I have favorites that go on every Mac I own, and get installed soon after a new Mac arrives on the Mincey Plantation. One of my absolute favorites dates back to the last century and is so useful, so packed with features and custom settings, that there remains nothing to take its place as the app launcher, file and folder navigator Apple should make available for Mac users who have outgrown the Dock and the Finder.
Drag Me, Baby!
Way back in the day I installed DragThing on my Mac as the launcher to replace the then cumbersome Finder. Basically, DragThing is a floating palette launcher that gives you one click access to launch apps, find folders, navigate your Mac, launch apps. All with a single click in a drop dead simple interface that comes with more configuration options than presidential candidates come with lies.
In raw form, DragThing can look like this– app icons set wherever you want on an ever expanding floating dock which can be invoked by a keystroke combo or a flick of the mouse or trackpad to a hot corner.
Simple, right? Drag and drop app icons, folders, even volumes– the Mac’s disk drive or an external disk– onto the floating palette, move it wherever you want and you end up with a floating Dock, instantly visible when you want it, instantly hidden when you don’t.
What’s not to like?
First, floating app launcher palettes seem to have gone into disfavor, perhaps because they are so 1999. Get over it. There is not an easier way to manage apps, files, folders, and volumes than DragThing. It’s that good. That simple. That elegant. That useful.
Second, you have to setup DragThing to make it work for you and the settings, configurations, and preferences are enormous in number and option, and that can be daunting. At the basic level it’s no more difficult than the Dock– drag and drop– but there is more. Much more.
In Preferences alone, DragThing lets you custom everything you can think of, from General to Appearance to Docks, Colors, Sounds, Hotkeys and so much that it can be overwhelming. No, you don’t need to check off every setting. Select a theme and drag and drop what you want– just like the Dock– where you want, and avoid the rest.
The rest of DragThing is where the fun of using the app begins because there are so many configurable settings. First, you can have multiple palettes to segregate apps, files, folders, even background processes; and everything is visible and available with a single click. That’s right. One single click lets you navigate anywhere on your Mac with a pop down menu. Or, open any file or any folder with a single click to the icon on the floating palette.
Mac power users love the keyboard and decry the trackpad or mouse. Fair enough. Once you remember the keyboard combos and hotkeys you can navigate faster using the keyboard only. DragThing has keyboard shortcuts, too, but it’s more visual than just the keyboard. Floating palettes can be resized as needed or desired; change the app icon size, change the space size between icons, add rows and columns, change fonts, and select from and customize your own themes.
Oh my. Where to begin.
If there’s an application for the Mac that has more theme options than DragThing I haven’t seen it. Seriously. Change color, change style, change size, change location, change patterns, change mode, add item names, adjust size of each floating dock palette (even stylize each one independently). It may not be an infinite number of options to personalize DragThing but the options are enormous in number considering just how simple the app is to use.
DragThing is far more useful than the built-in Dock, but just as easy to use. Yet, it’s far more customizable than any Mac app I’ve ever used. Yes, DragThing has a try-before-you-buy option. Try it. Tinker around. Grab a theme and populate the palette with your favorite apps. DragThing is published by the same Mac app developer who publishes the popular PCalc calculator. The app’s longevity through changing times should tell you how valuable it is.