Do you use a Mac for work?
Recent data indicates that probably at least 10% of people do – and that this number could be even even more (as Macs tend to be used more at work than at home).
Many of our customers are Apple enthusiasts, and that means our takeoff software needs to works seamlessly for Mac.
In this article we take a look at takeoff software for Mac and some other Mac apps that you may find useful at work:
Takeoff software for Mac
An important factor for choosing the right software for Mac is that it should have been built with the features of the Mac interface in-mind. For example, it should be compatible with screens and with common Mac keyboard features.
What about takeoff software that has been built for Windows? Can you use that? Technically, there are ways to run Windows software on a Mac, such as by running the software in an app that “tricks” it into thinking it’s running on Windows.
However, there are downsides to using Windows software on a Mac. For example, you will usually need to purchase a separate Windows license, you may be exposing yourself to viruses that are particular to the Windows operating system and sometimes, features of the software just don’t show up well (such as graphics).
Takeoff software – such as Countfire – does an important job. It helps you to count takeoffs quickly and accurately, saving time on producing a quote and potentially avoiding costly mistakes. It’s used by thousands of electrical estimators as a more efficient alternative to counting manually. When you choose takeoff software for Mac, look for one that has been built especially for Macs (such as Countfire!).
If you were to get a new computer and wanted to switch from using Countfire for Windows, to Countfire for Mac, you’d find that both versions operate the same way and allow you the same features you have been used to. For example:
- Truly automated counting (not “point and click” which some other software does)
- Automatic quantity splitting
- Automatic counts when you have revised drawings
- Cloud-based software so your work is always saved.
Best Mac apps for work
As well as Countfire – which takes care of your takeoffs – there are other apps and websites that can help you with your work. Here are some of the most popular:
This is a powerful tool for collaborative project management among your team. Most electrical businesses would select the “traditional project management” template to organise tasks and workflows.
The interface follows the kanban (“cards”) methodology for organising work, where each task is assigned to a card and the cards can be shifted between different lists. (Trello is another popular example of a tool that follows this method).
The software also features a calendar view so you can easily manage your tasks, and the ability to assign due dates and tasks to others. Airtable describes itself as ‘part spreadsheet, part database’ – we at Countfire use it and think it’s great.
Just like the famous butler, the Alfred software is an essential organiser, but for your Mac. This productivity app will help you to use your Mac more efficiently, with hot keys, short cuts, text expansion, keywords and more.
Alfred helps you to launch apps and search your computer much more efficiently than you otherwise would. It has “power packs” available that offer even more functionality. You can pay for the level of service that you need.
Any time your job is to design the electrical circuits as well, AutoCAD is a solid software option It’s used by some big-name electrical businesses and is considered a standard digital design tool in the industry.
While electrical is just one part of many features available on AutoCAD, it’s probably one of the most comprehensive options available. For example, it includes real-time error checking for unconnected wires and automatic report generation components in your designs.
If you’re like virtually every other computer user on the planet, you probably find yourself with cluttered browser tabs and menu bars. In a productivity sense, this can really hold you up – how many times have you been delayed while looking for something?
Bartender app allows you to take control of your menu bar icons, choose which apps stay visible and which are hidden. Hidden apps are easily revealed with a click or a hot key if you need them later.
You can configure Bartender in many different ways to suit your own preferences. Hidden items remain active, so you don’t need to worry if they were updating or responsible for a task.
How often have you (ahem) been a bit distracted by something on your computer? We all know that Facebook can be a massive time-suck, but did you know that on average, people will spend three years of their lives on social media?
That’s not all – there’s also the pings of notifications from email or chat apps while you’re working, or that burning need to check the game score or the news.
That’s potentially a lot of lost time when you could be getting on with more important things. If you struggle with distractions of any sort – whether social media, websites or apps – Cold Turkey can help by blocking the sites you choose.
Speaking of distraction time, do you know how your time is spent at work? Actually tracking the time you spend on different tasks can help you to discover any areas where time management could be improved.
Clockify is a free time tracker where you can either automatically track time while working on tasks, or manually enter that time later. If you have any need within your business to allocate time spent to specific projects, then a tool like this will help you.
Helpfully, this software provides some good reporting functions so you can really dig deep into how your time is spent.
Here’s another one for saving you time. How many times have you been frustrated by “incorrect password” messages as you’ve tried to login to software? “That is my password [insert colourful language]” is often overheard in many workplaces.
Dashlane is a very secure, premium password management software. It will protect your secure information with very strong technology, remember your passwords for you, and allows you to autofill many of those forms that otherwise take you a few minutes to fill out.
If you need help keeping track of everything that you need to get done, Wunderlist provides an excellent (and free) solution. You can capture all of your to-dos in a very simple interface, including setting reminders for yourself.
One feature that many find useful is that you can easily save information you come across as you’re moving around the internet. This can save a lot of time trying to figure out where you saw it later!
If you’re a Mac user, then the software that you choose for counting takeoffs needs to be created to work well on the Mac operating system. For electrical estimators, Countfire answers this requirement, with versions designed specifically for both Mac and Windows.
To get the best, most efficient use of your Mac, look at some of these other workplace productivity apps that are available. You could save yourself a lot of time and improve your productivity while you’re at it.