Review: Dropshelf

What’s one Mac productivity app you couldn’t live without? That answer would be a difficult one for me, but on my shortlist would certainly be Dropshelf, from PilotMoon (makers of PopClip).

Dropshelf, currently at version 1.21, is a productivity app that lets you save text clippings, web snippets and files for easy access.

dropshelf1

Here’s how it works: Drag a file over to either the top, left or right edges of your screen. A magic Dropshelf pulls up. Put an item on the shelf and then take it off the shelf when you want to use it. Pretty simple in concept, right?

dropshelf2

multi_shelves

Each time you drag a new text clipping or file, a new Dropshelf is created. By default, when you remove an item from Dropshelf, the shelf disappears, but you can change that behavior to keep your shelf’s content resident with a click of a radio button in Dropshelf’s preferences.

Other options you can control include the color of the shelf, start at login, and auto check for updates. Did I mention that Dropshelf supports multi-monitor setups? (I guess I just did.) And yeah, it does a great job at that, too.

dropshelf_prefs

In the Behaviors tab, you can toggle the edges you want to use with Dropshelf. On my set up, I have the right and bottom edges active.

drop_shelf_behavior

If you drag text from a webpage over to Dropshelf, it will save in HTML format. To convert your web text selection to plain text (for copying into Pages or TextWrangler), you simply click the HTML descriptor under the clipping in Dropshelf and a pull-down menu appears.

dropshelf_save_as_html

From there, choose “Convert to Rich Text Format (RTF)” or “Convert to Plain Text”. Optionally, you can even save the clipping as a standalone HTML file.

Dropshelf works super well as a standalone app. But it’s true power lies when you combine it with other apps. For example, if you already have PopClip, you can download the Dropshelf extension. With this extension, you can straight away save your selected contents to a new Dropshelf. Super convenient! Imagine having instant access to a swath of lorem ipsum text, always at the ready? You can, with Dropshelf.

And if you have Hazel, the automated organizer from Noodlesoft, your life gets even better – because you can use your Hazel rules to send files to Dropshelf automagically.

How?

Let’s take a look at one particular use case in my workflow.

I take a lot of screenshots in the course of writing posts like this. And because I hate clutter on my desktop, I have a Hazel rule to dump all my screenshots into a folder called “Screenshots”, nested away in one of my many hard drives.

Now, before Dropshelf, I would have to open the hard drive volume and navigate to the Screenshots folder in order to work with those files. But, with Hazel, each and every screenshot that appears in my “Screenshots” folder is automatically placed on its own separate Dropshelf. I have instant access to all my screenshots to drag into my blog post. No more tunneling through my hard drive to find the “Screenshots” folder.

I have a similar setup for PDF files. If I save out a PDF file in my Invoices folder, a Hazel rule automatically places the PDF on a new Dropshelf so I can easily attach it with my email. I no longer have to “dig” to find files that I want to use.

dropshelf_with_hazel

The app performs as advertised, and the developer is super responsive. I had a question about a bug I discovered (when using Dropshelf with Hazel) and he had the fix already implemented. I do have one feature request – and that’s to have a method to easily rename the file within Dropshelf itself, without having to need to go through the Finder.

Conclusion

Let me conclude by stating that Dropshelf is an incredibly solid app on its own, but it gets even better when you combine it with PopClip or Hazel. Dropshelf retails for $4.99 on the Apple Store, but if you hurry – you can snag it for only $1.99 as part of a special promotion. At $5 it’s a bargain and at $2, it’s an absolute steal.

Grab it while you can.

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