BetterTouchTool for MacOS saves me hours every week

For many years now, I’ve used BettertouchTool in order to have ‘Windows 7-like’ window management on my Mac. With dual monitors and the need to see multiple windows at the same time, it has proven an invaluable tool. I simply can’t even work on a computer without BetterTouchTool now that I’m used to using it. The most common configurations are Illustrator on one full monitor, Illustrator toolbars and panels on 1/2 of the other screen, a terminal in 1/4 of that screen and a browser/text editor in another 1/4. BetterTouchTool makes managing all of this possible:

BetterTouchTool allows you to set up easy shortcuts to ‘throw’ windows between monitors, quickly scale them to 1/2 or 1/4 of the screen, and choose which side of the monitor to inhabit. It makes moving windows around just about perfect and doesn’t break the flow of your work to manipulate a window size. I highly recommend it!



I also use lots of keyboard shortcuts to quickly access custom scripts and menu items in Adobe Illustrator. Through MacOS 10.11.6, an app called Spark allowed me to manage the keyboard shortcuts, but it is no longer in development and doesn’t work in new versions of MacOS. BetterTouchTool comes to the rescue and now does double duty: Fantastic window management and the ability to set up application-specific keyboard shortcuts. For more info on these scripts and getting them set up with keyboard shortcuts in BetterTouchTool, check out my git repo.

Text Selection Wizard for Illustrator

As a Print Cartographer, I use Adobe Illustrator for a huge part of my work. I find myself feeling very limited by the native functionality to select and manage the huge amounts of complex text that I have on my maps. To solve this, I’ve worked with the amazingly talented Hiroyiki Sato, @shspage_en, to create a text selection wizard that makes my work so much easier and productive. Some of the features are shown below:

  1. Select point and path text with a given font size or a range of font sizes. Leave the second box blank if you don’t want to select a range. Optionally choose to change the text objects that are found to a new font size:
  2. Option: ‘Do not select found objects when replacing size’ I’ve used this script on giant maps with ~7,000 text objects. Since this is javascript and not native C, it can take a long time to process all of the objects, but this script perseveres and does the job! Use this option to make the script work less and not re-select all of the objects after it has modified the size.
  3. Select point and path text objects by Font Family and/or Font Style. This is an amazing way to modify the text objects on your map to a new font family or style. Have you ever made a whole map with all of the creek labels being the ‘Light Italic’ font style and wanted to see what it would like with all of the text objects being ‘Italic’ instead? I find that this is not easy because the objects I want to change are mixed with other styles in the layer, so it becomes cumbersome to filter them. Use this script to make that happen without having to tediously select them individually or separate them out into their own layer. Leave the second box empty if you want to select an entire font family and not a specific style.

Give this script a shot along with many other useful scripts for cartography in Illustrator at my git repo.