Apps

15+ Incredibly Useful Mac Apps For Freelance Web Designers

January 29th, 2009

In today’s post you will find 15 incredibly useful Mac Apps for freelance web designers to get their website or application styled in a fraction of the time it took before and help them manage their project efficiently to get their job done.

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1. Espresso

Mac Apps For Web & Graphic Designers


Extremely powerful web development tool, created by the minds behind CSSEdit. Providing a powerful editing, sleek projects, live preview, real publishing and synchronization tools.

Espresso features an immensely powerful rule-based syntax engine, CoreSyntax, that transforms your text documents into semantic structure. Espresso has an extensible Navigator that’s best compared to the CSSEdit styles list.

2. CSSEdit

Mac Apps For Web & Graphic Designers


CSSEdit’s unique focus is on style sheets, it offers a wide range of features for any level of expertise. Starting out? Selector Builder, advanced visual editors, Live Preview, intelligent source environment and a powerful X-Ray web page inspector for an unbeatable CSS debugging suite.

3. Pixelmator

Mac Apps For Web & Graphic Designers


Pixelmator, the beautifully designed, easy-to-use, fast and powerful image editor for Mac OS X has everything you need to create, edit and enhance your images. Pixelmator is a layer-based image editor. You can quickly create layers from your photos, other pictures, from selections or even your iSight. Pixelmator can add a layer to your composition directly from your Mac’s little camera. With Pixelmator’s powerful, pixel-accurate collection of selection tools you can quickly and easily select any part of your images to edit and apply special effects to portions of your pictures.

4. Coda

Mac Apps For Web & Graphic Designers


Panic Coda is a great all-in-one Web development environment tool, keeping many of your commonly used tools in separate tabs. Tools include: text-editor, css editor, file transfer, svn, terminal & smart Spelling. All of the usual languages are supported and styled appropriately including: CSS, HTML, Javascript, Java, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, SQL, XML, and straight text.

5. Lineform

Mac Apps For Web & Graphic Designers


Lineform is an ideal Mac app for vector art, diagrams and illustrations. Lineform has all of the most popular tools, including everything from freeform gradients to compositing effects, enabling you to create the designs you want without getting in your way with superfluous “features” you don’t need.

6. Fontcase

Mac Apps For Web & Graphic Designers


Fontcase is a font management application that provides an elegant and powerful workflow to help you organise the fonts you have installed on your system. Designed to be an iTunes for your fonts, Fontcase has a powerful tagging system, which is designed to let you control your fonts like you control your music.

7. Deep- Image Search

Mac Apps For Web & Graphic Designers


Deep calculates the range of colors used in each of your images by analyzing the pixels and calculating the most popular colors. This is what makes the palettes in Deep powerful, you can find images that have similar colors, which is great when you are looking for the perfect picture to go on your web site. In fact, just drag any image on to Deep and it will find and rank all the images on your computer that are similar.

8. Cyberduck

Mac Apps For Web & Graphic Designers


Cyberduck is an open source FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Mosso Cloud Files and Amazon S3 browser for the Mac. It features an easy to use interface with quickly accessible bookmarks.

9. Flow

Mac Apps For Web & Graphic Designers


Flow is another file transfer coming in style. Flow brings the best of the Mac to your server’s files and folders. Put simply, Flow makes working remotely every bit as intuitive and natural as working locally with the Finder. With Flow, you can edit files directly on your server, connect to (FTP, SFTP, Amazon S3, WebDAV, and MobileMe iDisk servers), Quickly Upload Without UI and many other features.

10. Sequel Pro

Mac Apps For Web & Graphic Designers


Sequel Pro is a Mac OS X MySQL Database Management app. Sequel Pro gives you direct access to your MySQL databases on local and remote servers with support for importing and exporting data from popular files including SQL, CSV and XML.

11. Things

Mac Apps For Web & Graphic Designers


Task management has never been this easy. Organize your to-dos with Projects and Areas of Responsibility. Features include: A smart Today list automatically gathers all you need to look at, Repeating To Dos, Every list can easily be filtered and sorted by due date, iPhone Sync and many other features.

12. xscope

Mac Apps For Web & Graphic Designers


xScope is a powerful set of tools that are ideal for measuring, aligning and inspecting on-screen graphics and layouts. Quickly available via the Mac OS X menu bar, xScope’s flexible tools float above desktop windows and UI elements making measuring a breeze.

13. KeyCue

Mac Apps For Web & Graphic Designers


KeyCue gives you an instant overview of the overall functionality of any application, plus lets you automatically start working more efficiently by making use of menu shortcuts.

14. TextExpander

Mac Apps For Web & Graphic Designers


TextExpander saves you countless keystrokes with customized abbreviations for your frequently-used text strings, code snippets and images.

15. OnTheJob

Mac Apps For Web & Graphic Designers


On The Job has a lot of power under the hood but maintains it’s reputation as the easiest to use time and expense tracking solution available for Mac OS X. On The Job offers flexible invoice creation. Create invoices for specific date ranges, covering a single job, or spanning multiple jobs.

Other Mac Apps you will find interesting

TextMate
Billings
Littlesnapper
MAMP
Inkscape
Picturesque
Layers

Let us know your favorite Mac App and why do you find it useful and may be can’t live without it :)

The jungle is alive: Be it a collaboration between two or more authors or an article by an author not contributing regularly. In these cases you find the Noupe Editorial Team as the ones who made it. Guest authors get their own little bio boxes below the article, so watch out for these.

Tags: ,

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
DVQ
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Nice collection of apps.

What about Transmit?

forbetaorworse
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Transmit is part of Coda. Same dudes. So it kinda was included.

Evan
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Then why wasn’t Espresso and CSS-Edit combined into one? Same dudes.

I Too was shocked that Transmit wasn’t individually mentioned. Great list though.

curtismchale
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Transmit was the one app I expected to be mentioned. While cyberduck is alright it doesn’t hold a candle to Transmit. I have used them both lots and Transmit is by far the superior. While the transmit engine is inside Coda you still don’t have the whole thing and would have to purchase Transmit on its own.

forbetaorworse
Guest
7 years 3 months ago
John Wang
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Versions – client for subversion.
Apple’s XCode, Dashcode?

Nicolas TAFFOREAU
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Thanks for this nice list !

Gelay
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Coda, CSS Edit, Textmate, MAMP are the apps that I use every day. You missed Transmit.

Justin
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Why do you use CSS Edit if you have CODA?

Caroline Blaker
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

CSS Edit allows you to point to elements and see the level of html embedding, applied styles to that level by name, and furthermore, you can click on your breadcrumb back each level and see the same information for those. Extraordinary help for troublesome styles.

Justin
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Is it any better than using Firebug? Maybe I’ll give it a shot and find out. Just seems like i’m bloating my MBP with more programs I don’t need.

Caroline
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

I use Firebug only for Javascript, so I can’t relate directly, but one thing CSS edit does that I didn’t mention before is allow you to download and override styles that are live, i.e. navigate to a webpage, change a style locally, and preview it using CSS edit. Make no-matter-how-many changes, then once you like it, make your edits live (I do this with a regular text editor, not CSS edit, but since CSS Edit talks to Coda it makes it very easy.)
If you’re a Coda user already its an extremely useful sister program.

Corey Martella
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Skitch is a must have

Sarah
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

great list! will be exploring these apps!!

kyle
Guest
kyle
7 years 3 months ago

Skitch.

Tried Cyberduck, but needed a double pane editor, and I’m loving Transmit to pieces.

I’ll add Launchbar, although anything that has a clipboard manager so I can copy/cut 5 things from an app, and then reverse paste them into another is super useful. I think I prefer Quicksilver, but for some reason the clipboard library isn’t working with it.

Henrik Hedegaard
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

What I use everyday for XHTML, CSS and JS is Aptana.

http://www.aptana.com/

Porfitron
Guest
Porfitron
7 years 3 months ago

Me too… Aptana is a MUST for any web designer that doesn’t want to fork over cash for Dreamweaver. Also, it has integrated FTP and even SVN for those that need to check in code.

Evopub
Guest
7 years 3 months ago
For FTP and more I use ForkLift by Binarynights (http://binarynights.com/ ) which is much more powerful and fast than other apps I’ve found ; just before buying Things I’ve found The Hit List by Potion Factory ( http://www.potionfactory.com/ ) far better un my opinion ; I’ve used a lot Pixelmator, but I’m now returning to Gimp, more powerful ; instead of Deep I use the freeware ImageSorter (http://mmk1.f4.fhtw-berlin.de/Projekte/ImageSorter/ ). And, of course, instead of Sequel Pro, I just use PhpMyAdmin and personal developments. Other softs I use daily: Textmate, Journler (I use it as a CRM, it’s the easiest way… Read more »
jyoseph
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

I second Transmit. Great writeup though with some interesting apps to check out!

V1
Guest
7 years 3 months ago
Pierre Canthelou
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Espresso isn’t as good as everybody want’s to say (especialy comparing to Coda)…

Missing Evernote and Paparazzi !

Ole
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

TimeLog for time tracking and GrandTotal for invoicing.

Brando
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

I see Inkscape e Lineform: why not Intaglio?
Rapidweaver is cool as wysiwyg editor.
Transmit had to be mentioned.
Espresso is still young.

Macbook Pro
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Another vote for:

Transmit
Textmate
CSSEdit

But some nice apps here that I had not heard of before.

Not sure Coda is any good for me as I code mostly in PHP…

Bruno Abrantes
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Great post, I see a lot of apps I use day in and day out. I didn’t know Pixelmator though, I’ll be sure to give that a try. Also, am I the only one who also uses Coda for FTP/SFTP and SSH? ‘Cause you can’t beat that kind of integration :P

Bruno Abrantes
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

@MacbookPro I use Coda everyday, and if there’s a language I think it supports best (aside from XHTML) I think PHP is the winner. Sure, I code a little faster in Textmate, but as I said before, you can’t beat integration with an FTP client and shell.

Edo
Guest
Edo
7 years 3 months ago

Banalities. Pure linkbaiting.

lowell
Guest
lowell
7 years 3 months ago

gitx

Adrian
Guest
Adrian
7 years 3 months ago

Is there exist any Picturesque like application, but for Windows?

Andrew Leyden
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

I use a small program called HyperEdit for quick PHP pages and previews locally. I also agree Textmate is a very useful and expandable text editor, especially if you are using Subversion version tracking.

Davi Ferreira
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Textmate should’ve been #1! :P

Tom Peever
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

I am a list guy so use Anxiety for “Lightweight To-do Management”. It’s non-obtrusive and syncs with all my other scheduling apps like iCal and Studiometry. Best of all it’s free.

http://anxietyapp.com/

Renee
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

I’ve been working on MACs for quite some time, but just recently purchased my first Macbook Pro. This was a great list for me as I can finally use apps like these. Thanks!

brainpicker
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Excellent collection. And on the image search note, you should check out these two fantastic free apps:

Multicolr Search Lab

retrievr

(Also wonderful: CoolIris (formerly known as PicLens) and the Flickr Related Tag Browser.)

Timothy
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Awesome list. When I actually own a Mac this will be of more use (I plan on getting one soon)

Jerome
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Aw, Textmate is underrated in this post! Obviously because it’s not as user-friendly as Coda or Espresso, but it’s much more powerful when you’re used to it.

Layers is a great app too. Been waiting for something like that for a long time.

larisa
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Great post. I especially liked Pixelmator and Lineform.
Thanks for the useful info.

Michael
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

I personally don’t care much for CyberDuck, I prefer Filezilla another great freeware FTP client.

jessemoya
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

I agree. I’ve really tried to like CyberDuck, but it actually kept crashing on me. I’ve never had a problem like that with software before.

FileZilla does everything I need it to.

Porfitron
Guest
Porfitron
7 years 3 months ago

I agree… I prefer the 2-window UI, too. What’s local on the left and where it’s going on the right :-)

Cyberduck is just waiting for a drag-and-drop accident to happen.

Shawn
Guest
7 years 3 months ago
Great list. A few of these apps I have never used and am looking forward to giving a try. Here are my everyday apps: Textmate – It might not be as pretty as coda or espresso, but if you take the time to learn it, you will write your code faster with it. Coda – I really only use it for the rare occasions that I want to edit something directly on the server, but if it weren’t for Textmate, this would be my standard. MAMP – unless you have a development server, this is kind of a necessity. Quicksilver… Read more »
OrganicPixels
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

I think Transmit would of been a good one to add in there. Imho it’s the best FTP client to date.

mehedi
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Just gr8!

Mehmaani
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Nice list!

Any recommendations of an IDE editor for the Mac?

lune
Guest
lune
7 years 3 months ago

Smultron
I love the 3.1.2 version.

lune
Guest
lune
7 years 3 months ago

Smultron
I love the 3.1.2 version.
and it is free

David Fisher
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

I’m kinda shocked that Textmate isn’t higher up on this list. Its not free, but it really kicks ass more than just a footnote.

Benjamin Falk
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Useful list here — I use quite a few of these apps in my regular design/development work. I wish I liked Espresso more… it just feels a bit light on features at the moment. The way it handles open files is much more intuitive than Coda, at least in my opinion. Still, I’ll stick to Coda for the moment.

I think someone else mentioned… I really love Evernote. Gives me a place to organize useful links, screenshots of designs I like and code snippets.

Tice
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Pictures: Pixelmator
Coding: TextWrangler
FTP: Transmit

That’s all I use.

Steve K.
Guest
Steve K.
7 years 3 months ago

Vector Designer > Lineform

Built-in scanning and raster to vector tools plus it’s the only vector app for the Mac other than Illustrator that will parse an EPS file so you can edit it.

Vector Designer
http://www.tweakersoft.com/vectordesigner/

John Turner
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Cyberduck is not that good. I recommend Filezilla

Caroline Blaker
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

I LOVE MacJournal by Mariner – I use it for lists, thought snippets, and blogs throughout the day. Its a fantastic note pad.

Tim
Guest
Tim
7 years 3 months ago

I’m very stunned that Xyle Scope is not mentioned in the list. I think it’s an invaluable CSS analysis tool.

Nick
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

I’m surprised I didn’t see KomodoEdit on the list.

Its gotta be my favorite app for code editing and can handle every code language in the book!

Mark
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Good post, this site is like smashing magazine but better.

dave's not here
Guest
dave's not here
7 years 3 months ago

I can’t believe no one has mentioned BBEdit. Hands down the best editor for building web pages

John Nicely
Guest
John Nicely
7 years 3 months ago

I’m soooooooo glad Coda was included on this list. I’ve only been using it for about a week and I’ve fallen in love with it and wouldn’t go back to Dreamweaver if Adobe gave me a copy for free… The user interface is seamless and perfect, and all of the little modifications they’ve made to coding’s usual workflow (in-editor SVN, editing remote files directly instead of editing locally and then uploading, the CSS editor) make it way better than anything else I’ve ever seen!

Mike
Guest
Mike
7 years 3 months ago

One very important application for hardcore editing, is BBEdit.

Noupe
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Thanks everyone for the great feedback and wonderful suggestions you sent here. I will definitely include all of your suggestions in a special post next week with More focus on “TextMate” :)

Nazz
Guest
Nazz
7 years 3 months ago

Info.xhead – the best password / data management app.

http://www.xheadsoftware.com/info_xhead.asp

Todd Austin
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Expandrive is also a very useful application. I am currently using it in conjunction with TexMate.

SC
Guest
SC
7 years 3 months ago

I would add Color Scheme Studio as well
http://www.colorschemer.com/

J.R.
Guest
J.R.
7 years 3 months ago

Just to chime in.

I’m surprised TextMate isn’t higher.

I downloaded both TextMate and Coda trials and though I tried and tried to make myself like the friendlier Coda more I just couldn’t bring myself to it. It just felt clumsy.

My votes go to
TextMate
CSSEdit
Duck (even though I just bought Transmit)

David B
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

@ J.R.

Amen. I tried Coda once or twice, but for the serious CSS work I’ve done over the last couple years, CSSedit along with Textmate and Version’s SVN gets the job done without dealing with managing and setting up sites ala DW ways. I like to open CSS files immediately, start working away, save directly to my desktop, transfer to a PC and do any additional testing. Great list of apps though, many I didn’t know about.

Thijs Scheepers
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Thank You so much for this blog post. I didn’t even heard of most of these programs. I’m sure there gonna help me a lot, especialy On The Job.

PM Hut
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

All of the above are mainly used for production/development. There are no collaboration/Project Management apps. That would have been a nice addition.

Plinio
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

I’d recommend XAMPP over MAMP, just for the ease of use and modificacion of configuration files (like php.ini, httpd.conf, etc) =)

Miles
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

I use Eclipse with plug-ins for XHTML, CSS and ColdFusion for web development on my Mac. Much like the theories behind Coda and Espresso, it allows front-end and back-end coding into a unified application. Plus, it’s free.

Transmit is great for moving files. I tried Flow when it first came out, but it corrupted the root directory of my web files. Never had an FTP program do that before!

Thanks for the awesome list, guys! =)

Per F T Nilsson
Guest
Per F T Nilsson
7 years 3 months ago

Skitch.
Growl.
Sliderocket.

josie
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

@PM HUT … i agree, it would have been nice addition. overall some great apps here

DVQ
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Another great app for freelancers is Plainview – The fullscreen web browser based on Webkit.

Works great for display your work!

Broccoli
Guest
Broccoli
7 years 3 months ago

I prefer Billings 3 over On The Job. On The Job invoices are too simple and allow very little customization. They made some of the application visuals pretty but it lacks in organizing information at a glance and many simple features. Billings 3 is much more robust and has much better organization of information and visual queues that summarizes information/accounts at a glance.. plus a boatload of more features. I heard Billings 3 will have a iphone companion app coming out soon. :)

Scott
Guest
Scott
7 years 3 months ago

I can’t believe how many people here are praising a program for letting you edit live files directly on the server. That’s about one of the best ways possible to COMPLETELY hose an entire project. One erroneous Cmd-S can bring an entire server grinding to a halt.

Seriously. That’s, like, Internet 101 level knowledge.

Justin
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Agreed, I would never edit a file live on the server. You’re just asking for trouble. If it’s your personal blog site and just sillyness who cares, but not with clients. CODA still rocks.

Turki
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Great FTP and sFTP client: http://www.panic.com/transmit/.

Christopher Ross
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

I love Billings, it’s a pretty simple tool but it’s saved me thousands over the past year by letting me accurately track over runs.

Emil Bonsaksen
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Earlier on I used Textmate/Photoshop/CSSEdit/Transmit/MAMP/PHPMyAdmin. But then I bought Coda. Since then my list is a bit shorter. Coda/PhotoShop/MAMP/PHPMyAdmin.
I use Things for GTD, and MindNode for mapping and sorting the hierarchy.

Have been testing Espresso for a while, but Coda is by far the best at the moment. Will give it a try though when they release final version.

wardom
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Is this releated to Firebug or what?

I will take a try and write back. Thank you

Prabin Prajapati
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Its good job you did
i like your sites to submitting
its really a fabulous to get information regarding soft tech

Wim
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Thanks for this usefull list of Apps. I just bought me my first Mac so this comes in handy.

Andi
Guest
Andi
7 years 3 months ago

instead of Transmit I use Path Finder… and I love it

John Whorfin
Guest
John Whorfin
7 years 3 months ago

PRICING INFO for each would have been very helpful and appreciated. ;-)

Noupe
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Next time, i will add the price. Thanks for the tip :)

Sirwan
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

could you a list for ubuntu please, thanks

Yan Charbonneau
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Great list thx! I’m using Billings, it’s wonderful!

Amber Weinberg
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Awesome list of apps! Definitely going to try some out!

ATV
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

I was just about to recommend textmate when i saw it in the other apps section. Textmate is imo the best mac program ever

Leo
Guest
Leo
7 years 3 months ago

For me: ForkLift + TextMate

blogsarticle
Guest
7 years 3 months ago

Great list thx! I’m using Billings, it’s wonderful!

sonique6784
Guest
6 years 3 months ago

Hello,
for versionning, you can use SPMPT for MAMP (9euros).
To get a perfect web developper environment with versionning. Its a easy to install package working out of the box ! Its permits you to get Trac (from edgewall) and Subversion server on your MAMP installation. Then because Trac needs Python and mod_python (included in package) it’s a very nice tool for Python programmers.

Web Site Design Victoria
Guest
6 years 1 month ago

Excellent Blog! I recently switched from PC to Mac; I find resources such as yours extremely helpful!

rudychidiac
Guest
rudychidiac
5 years 9 days ago

you should have added couldapp :)

Manuel
Guest
5 years 15 hours ago

Awesome article, I find specially helpful two apps here: “Things” and “On the Job”, these were two apps I was looking for!

Graham
Guest
4 years 10 months ago

Yip these look top knotch. I am getting my first Mac next week and can’t wait to try some of these.

Nathal
Guest
4 years 8 months ago

What an amazing list of free tools.
Does anyone have any review for applicatiob Kdevelop? Now i’m using Coda which is pretty good but i always support open source software so i thinking about Kdevelope.

Dylan Lott
Guest
3 years 8 days ago

Absolutely fantastic article. I use Mac’s everday, I love them, and even I haven’t heard of some of these. I’ll definitely be trying some of these out soon!

wpDiscuz