If you own a Mac then chances are you will multitask on it throughout your day. Even the most casual users tend to have several things open at once, while the busier computer user will have a lot more going on, so much in fact that it can be easy to lose track of what is where and, while keyboard shortcuts help to an extent, they can only go so far. A busy computer screen can be hectic bur fortunately there is a new iPad app that helps you stay on top of it all in a customisable way that will make your computing a much more efficient experience. Actions is available now from the App Store and it costs $3.99.
The best way to describe Actions is as a remote control for your Mac, or even PC. By setting up specific gestures on the iPad you can control the applications on your computer and it offers all the flexibility you need to set up controls that are tailor-made just for you. While this is an iPad app you will first need to download the server software to your computer but luckily this part is free and it can even be installed on multiple computers so if you have more than one in the house, you can turn your iPad into a universal remote control for use on all of them. With the download installed you can then connect to your computer via Wi-Fi and then start creating your colour-coded controls.
The app has its own terminology that you will need to be familiar with but this is easy enough to remember. An Action is a command or shortcut you can use on specific software, while the Touchpad doubles as both the container and trigger of an action, which can be performed with a quick tap. These touchpads can be customised with a label, text size, colour and icon, while the Touchpads are organised in the Set, while subgroups, known as subsets, can also be created here.
Once your Actions have been created they can all be controlled with gestures and taps on the Touchpad. Taps perform the actions but you can also swipe between pages with one finger and between sets with three fingers. If you wish to go to the set library you can swipe downwards with three fingers, while gestures with two fingers allow you to quickly copy, paste undo and redo.
While this is already useful, it gets better with the ability to create Actions for specific programs, so you can change the format in Microsoft Word with it for example. The more popular applications do in fact have their own Actions already created, although you can edit your own if you wish.
The only problem with it is the lack of 3G support and there are not so many pre-set Actions for Windows but of course you can change this yourself. There will probably be further updates that provide new Actions anyway so it is worth keeping an eye on. Overall the app is a success and it makes a busy desktop much easier to navigate. If you don’t mind the price it is worth a look.