08 Jan

Barcode Basics for macOS Reviews

Thanks for the reviews!

As a small development company, app reviews from our customers mean an awful lot to us. We’d like to thank those of you who left them, and share the best of them with the rest of you.

Here are some of our favourite Mac App Store for our flagship macOS barcode generator, Barcode Basics:

update if you need to change over from barcode pro this is the best option without having to break the bank. package designer working with this every day. nice layout and it works crating a vector file.
(4/5) from mac-user-101, USA

After trying “less expensive” alternatives I found that this app is worth they price. You get what you pay for. Some paid apps are as much as $300. The free apps either lure you into spending much more to get what you need, give you incorrect codes or produce unscalable bitmaps. Bit maps may develop blured lines that dont scan properly for your customers. This program creates clean eps files that are scalable.
(5/5) from live to learn, learn to live, USA

Affordable and does what I need. Excellent value for money. Pretty much faultless.
(5/5) stars from AJKS, UK

At last a stand alone barcode application which can be used without paying a fortune. It is quick and easy, very user friendly and is (I believe) industry standard, just right for the packaging trade. Good app, good price and versatile!
(5/5) stars from freespeakiain, UK

Great little app, that is affordable, simple and quick to use. The developer is really responsive, he added support for Code 128 barcodes a few days after requesting it!
(5/5) stars from ChrisRichards, UK

If you’re looking for a macOS barcode generator which won’t break the bank then why not give Barcode Basics a try! Click the Mac App Store link below for more information and to get your copy.


Link to Mac App Store to purchase Barcode Basics - Mac barcode software

macOS barcode software screenshot

27 Nov

Barcode Basics now supports Mojave’s Dark Mode

Users of our popular macOS barcode creator, Barcode Basics, can now choose to take advantage of dark mode support in macOS Mojave (10.14) or higher.

Dark mode is a dramatic new look in macOS that’s easy on your eyes and helps you focus on your work. Barcode Basics supports it fully, and we think it looks pretty smart.

As always, the update from the Mac app store is completed free. If you don’t already own a copy then click here for more info.

Let us know what you think!

Barcode Basics fully supports dark mode in macOS Mojave

29 Jul

Automate barcode production on macOS

We’re excited to announce the launch of a new version of Barcode Basics which includes support for Apple’s Automator app. This means that you can create barcodes in your own Automator workflows, services and even simple apps – without knowing anything about programming.

Imagine creating batches of barcodes from numbers supplied in a spread sheet. Or creating a barcode directly from text selected in an email. Anything you can do in Barcode Basics, you can now do in an Automator workflow.

Barcode Basics’ Automator workflow is included in every version of Barcode Basics, as standard. There are no hidden extra charges. And Barcode Basics is the cheapest way of automating barcode production by a long shot.

For more information about Barcode Basics, or to pick up your copy head over to the Mac App Store by clicking the link below.


Link to Mac App Store to purchase Barcode Basics - Mac barcode software

15 May

Using Automator to convert Pages to PDF

Recently we were asked how to use Automator to convert Apple Pages documents into PDFs. In the spirit of sharing the knowledge, here’s how we did it.

It’d be great to make an app which we could drop our Pages files on and have them made into PDFs. The obvious way to make such an app is with Automator. Unfortunately, Pages doesn’t ship with Automator actions (although there are some funky third party options)

Luckily, Pages is AppleScriptable so we can make our own action. Let’s look at how to do that.

First, launch Automator (you’ll find it in your Mac’s Applications folder). Select “Application”.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 13.19.38

Next, drag a “Run AppleScript” workflow into your workflow so you have something that looks like this:

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 13.20.06

Replace all the purple text in the action with the following AppleScript:

on run {input, parameters}

repeat with theFile in input
tell application "Finder"
set theFilesFolder to (folder of theFile) as text
end tell

tell application "Pages"
set theDoc to open theFile

set theDocName to name of theDoc
set theName to (characters 1 thru -7 of theDocName) as text
export theDoc as PDF to file ((theFilesFolder & theName & ".pdf") as text)

close theDoc

end tell
end repeat
return input
end run

Save the workflow and you should now have an app that you can drop Pages documents on.

Note that it’s up to you to make sure that the documents you drop actually are Pages documents – the script doesn’t check and may error if you drop the wrong type of documents.

On a related note, if you’d rather dodge the AppleScripting all together then you could try out our handy Pages Automator Actions.

While we have your attention… why not check out our macOS apps?

Barcode Basics – macOS barcode generator (including Automator support)
Ai Actions – Automator action pack for Adobe Illustrator
Pages Automator Actions – Automator action pack for Pages

09 May

Backing up a folder on macOS with rsync

Terminal

Quite often we’re asked how to keep a backup folder in sync with a work in progress folder. There are many possible solutions apps and third party solutions out there, but its quite easy to set up a rough, homespun backup solution. All you need is a little command line wizardry using something called rsync.

Syncing with rsync

First, lets imagine we have two folders on our desktop. One is called WIP, which contains all my work in progress. The other is called Backup which is where I’d like to keep a backup of all my WIP.

Open up a Terminal window (you’ll find Terminal in /Applications/Utilities) and type:

rsync -av --delete

Don’t hit return yet! Next, drag the WIP folder onto your Terminal to get the path to your folder. Add a slash to the end of it. You should have something like this:

rsync -av --delete /Users/YourUserName/Desktop/WIP/

Don’t hit return yet! Of course, the path will be different on your Mac – don’t worry about it. Next, drag the Backup folder onto the Terminal. You should now have something like this:

rsync -av --delete /Users/YourUserName/Desktop/WIP/ /Users/YourUserName/Desktop/Backup

Now you can hit return! You should find that the contents of WIP are copied to Backup. If you run the command a second time, nothing will happen. This is the beauty of rsync. It’s smart enough to only copy files from WIP if an identical copy doesn’t already exist in Backup. Our “–delete” option means that anything in in Backup that’s NOT in WIP gets deleted.

Of course, your backup folder can be anywhere – on an external drive or even on a remote server.

Scheduling

There are a number of ways to make this rsync command run a schedule. You could run it via a scheduled Automator action, via cron using something like Cronnix, or (my favourite) using a Launch Agent.

Have fun with your new backup command!

While we have your attention… why not check out our macOS apps?

Barcode Basics – macOS barcode generator (including Automator support)
Ai Actions – Automator action pack for Adobe Illustrator
Pages Automator Actions – Automator action pack for Pages

09 May

How to split PDF into PNG files in OS X

One pdf to multiple png files

We were asked recently how to split a PDF file into PNG files on Mac OS X. That’s to say, if the PDF has five pages then you’d want five PNG files produced, one for each page. Here are some options:

Adobe Acrobat
If you have Adobe Acrobat (not to be confused with the free Acrobat Reader) then you an simply open the PDF and select File>Save As and select “PNG”. However, Acrobat is expensive for what it is and there are some free alternatives such as…

PROs: Very easy to do
CONs: Acrobat Pro is expensive and probably not worth the price if this is all you’ll ever use it for.

Third party website
Probably the easiest way is to use a web site such as pdf2png.com. Whilst I’m sure they’re a reputable site and we’ve used them successfully in the past, its always worth thinking twice before uploading anything that may be confidential to a third party site.

PROs: Also very easy
CONs: Can be slow if you need to upload a big pdf. Think about security.

ImageMagick
If you’re comfortable on the command line then you can use ImageMagick to do the heavy lifting. If you don’t have it installed already then we recommend using the installer from Cactus Labs.

Once you have ImageMagick installed, you can fire up the Terminal and use a command like:

convert ~/Desktop/myfile.pdf ~/Desktop/myfile.png

…and ImageMagick should do the rest, including sequentially naming the files. Don’t forget to change the paths to the documents to your own!

PROs: Completely free. Also ImageMagick has lots of other uses if you work with graphics. It’s worth having in your arsenal! For extra credit, you can even get ImageMagick working through Apple’s Automator to build your own custom workflow.
CONs: You need to be reasonably comfortable with using the Terminal.

There are plenty of other ways, but these are the ones that work best in our experience. Let us know if you’ve found any better ways!

While we have your attention… why not check out our macOS apps?

Barcode Basics – macOS barcode generator (including Automator support)
Ai Actions – Automator action pack for Adobe Illustrator
Pages Automator Actions – Automator action pack for Pages

03 May

Automating HTML to PDF conversion on OS X

Ever wondered how to convert a big batch of html files into PDFs?

Well, you *could* open each html file in the web browser of your choice and save/print it as a PDF. However, that’s going to take a long time for a big batch. One fun way you can do it in macOS is by creating an Automator service to do the donkey work for you. Let’s take a look at how to do that.

First, launch Automator (you’ll find it in your Mac’s Applications folder) and create a Service document (NB. Click any of the screen shots here to enlarge them).

Create Automator Service

Next, set the services input options as shown below.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 14.09.55

Next drag in a Run Shell Script action. Make sure you set it’s “Pass input” option to “as arguments” – that’s important! This lets us pass the files we select as an input to the shell script.

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 14.10.33

Change it’s contents to:

for theFileToProcess in "$@"
do
cupsfilter "$theFileToProcess" > "${theFileToProcess%.*}.pdf"
done

And save it as “HTML 2 PDF”, or whatever makes sense to you. Now it should look like this:

Run Shell Script options

Now, if you select a one (or more!) HTML files in in Finder whilst holding your control key down, you should be able to find the service you just created under “Services”. as shown below. Select it and you’ll run the shell script on all the files you selected!

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 14.13.29

Note that this will work best on fairly simple html – if you have heaps of JavaScript, movies etc in your html then the PDFs may not be great. However, its a handy quick way of taking some of the pain out of converting html to pdf.

While we have your attention… why not check out our macOS apps?

Barcode Basics – macOS barcode generator (including Automator support)
Ai Actions – Automator action pack for Adobe Illustrator
Pages Automator Actions – Automator action pack for Pages

30 Jan

Are you an Adobe Illustrator drudge?

Automator actions for Adobe Illustrator

If you’re a regular user of Adobe Illustrator then you probably find yourself doing more than your fair share of drudge work. Here’s a way of avoiding some of it…

Drudge work comes in many forms, for example gathering all those linked images together ready to send your files for printing. Or opening a large number of files, saving each one as a PDF and uploading them to an FTP site. The sort of stuff you never really signed up for when you decided to become a graphic designer or artworker.

Of course, you could teach yourself AppleScript and write your own scripts to automate your workflow. But who’s got time to learn AppleScript? Or you could hire an AppleScript expert. Or you could invest in technologies like Automation Engine from ESKO, but the price tag puts those options beyond the budget of many freelancers and many small businesses.

This is where our product Ai Actions comes in. It adds support for Adobe Illustrator to Apple’s workflow software, Automator. If you can drag and drop then you can create your own automatic workflows to automate Illustrator and integrate with other apps too such as Mail, Preview etc. You can even save your workflows as apps.

A sample action fro Ai Actions
Click here to see how to use Ai Actions to create a simple workflow in Automator.

If you want to try your hand at automating Adobe Illustrator then why not download the demo version of Ai Actions from here:

Ai Actions DEMO

…the demo version contains a small selection of the actions available in the full version which contains over 20 useful actions and is available from the Mac App Store.

Mac_App_Store_Badge_US_UK

29 Jan

Scan barcodes from your Mac’s screen

We’ve relaunched an old favourite app, Onscreen Barcode Scanner this month with an update for macOS Sierra and High Sierra.

Onscreen Barcode Scanner allows you to scan barcodes displayed on your Mac’s screen and see the number they encode. Using it is as easy as taking a screen shot! It makes a ideal partner to our flagship barcode product Barcode Basics.

Onscreen Barcode Scanner’s main use is in packaging artwork so designers can check that the bars on the code actually match the displayed digits. It’s a great way of catching hard to spot barcode errors.

We’d had to take Onscreen Barcode Scanner offline to do some work on it to make it compatible and it took longer than we thought. Apologies for that. It’s now back up and running, and the update is free through the Mac App Store for existing users. Hope you find it useful!


Mac_App_Store_Badge_US_UK

20 Oct

The case of the elusive “℮”

Recently, I needed to choose a font on macOS which would support Russian and also the character “℮”. You can often find the ℮ character next to the weight/volume on packaging e.g. 150ml . It indicates that the value is estimated.

How did I figure that out? Luckily, I remembered one of our lesser known apps called Fonty, which was designed for exactly this kind of situation. Here’s what I did…

Firstly, launch Fonty and uncheck every language except Russian. Hey presto, we now have a list of fonts that contain all the glyphs required for the Russian language.

That’s great, but not all of these will have a glyph for the “℮” character. We need to filter out the fonts that don’t support it. This is where Fonty’s custom character sets come in. We select Preferences and click “Add” to add a new character set adding just the “℮”. Right there at the bottom, see?

Having closed the preferences window, I can now see my new character imaginatively called “℮”. If I select it *and* Russian, I can now see a list of all fonts installed on my Mac which support Russian and the ℮ character.

Of course, I could have just added the ℮ to my Russian character set. The beauty of doing it the way shown above is that you can select the ℮ in combination with other character sets. So for example, if you wanted to find out which fonts support Czech and ℮ then you’d just need to select Czech instead of Russian.

In conclusion, Fonty lets you choose the right font to use for the characters you need to support. You can get your copy from the Mac App Store!

Mac Font Repertoire checker validate validator