Butler for Mac allows you to create a number of custom menus, shortcuts, and abbreviations for your Mac's desktop that speed up how you use your computer. From adding search interfaces to the menu bar to creating shortcuts that actually learn as you use your machine, Butler's goal is to make your Mac easier to use for you.
Wide range of customizations: Butler's customization options are plentiful. The file launcher is found in many other apps, but in Butler it learns from your uses and starts providing shorter and more accurate abbreviation support. Combined with a central bookmark manager, menu-based Web search, and extended clipboard so you can store multiple things at once, it's a very useful tool.
Fast and lightweight: In our tests, Butler had a minimal impact on performance or battery life. It sits in the background and only appears when the selected hotkeys were pressed. This made for a very interactive, but unobtrusive support tool.
Interface needs work: Built into Mac's preferences template, Butler doesn't look all that pretty when you open it to make adjustments. Finding specific options can be hard as well, and Help menus often look like blocks of text. It's not impenetrable, but it will take time to set up your shortcuts, initially.
With the exception of the sometimes cumbersome menu, Butler is a fast, incredibly handy tool that offers a range of solutions to problems that you might have with your Mac. Combining the touch key tools that many other apps have into one solution, Butler is a must try for anyone who wants to be more efficient on their Mac.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Butler for Mac 4.1.17
What is Butler?
A file launcher.
You can access applications and any other kind of document by browsing fully customizable system-wide spring-loaded menus, pressing hot keys, clicking hot corners, or entering abbreviations. Butler will learn from your habits and remember what you want a certain abbreviation to do (e.g., enter "abo" to launch "Address Book").
A bookmark manager.
Butler offers you a way to manage your bookmarks without depending on a certain browser. In contrary to a browser's bookmark collection, Butler's bookmarks are always accessible through its system-wide menus, hot keys, etc. And you'll certainly become addicted to accessing bookmarks by entering abbreviations. Butler also lets you access the bookmarks of every single browser there is for Mac OS X.
Adding files or URLs from your browser to Butler's configuration is stunningly easy: Just drag them to the active screen corner (default: top left), see Butler's main window open, and drop your items somewhere whithin your configuration.
A web search utility.
Butler's predecessor "Another Launcher" was the first application that let you search the web from the menu bar. But if your menu bar is too crowded for an input field, you can also use hot keys to pop up dedicated web search windows. Butler supports a large number of search engines by default, but you are not restricted to those ? you can easily add your own search engines.
A pasteboard extension.
Butler lets you access items you have previously stored in your pasteboard, effectively turning your pasteboard into a stack. You can also take a snapshot of your current pasteboard and keep it for good. This feature is particularly useful for text snippets you need to enter on a regular basis.
And so much more...
You can use Butler to move and copy files, control iTunes, access the system preferences, change the current user, and so on. But Butler really shines when it comes to customizing its behavior. Is your menu bar too crowded? Use Butler's docklet! Do you want a menu for each mounted volume? Do you want a menu to pop up when you press a certain hot key? Do you want all running applications in your menu bar? Or do you prefer doing things with your keyboard only? Whatever kind of interface you prefer, Butler is at your service.
What's new in this version:
- Keystrokes Smart Items now let you use the current pasteboard via cmd-v keystroke, provided that you add a sufficiently long delay (recommended: 1 second) in front of the cmd-v keystroke. (Hat tip to Amadeo V.)
- Fixed a display glitch where delays in Keystrokes Smart Items weren't displayed properly. (Another hat tip to Amadeo V.)
- Fixed an issue with the Screensaver Smart Item.