Best Tools For Mac Admins

Posted By admin On 16.02.22

macOS has some useful keyboard shortcuts out of the box, but many apps on the market extend what you can do with the click of a few buttons. Most of them follow a simple formula of triggers and actions, allowing you to chain together commands and automate your workflow.

Best Tools For Mac Admins

That’s why you seldom see admin tools designed for Mac machines or Mac operating systems. To be safe, sure, and secure, go back to using PCs. PCs are more superior in administering security systems, networks, printers, websites / webpages, remote connections, remote desktops, virtual box and virtual machines, DNS, databases, etc. 14 go-to tools for Mac sysadmins. AutoDMG from Per Olofsson is a tool that lets admins create clean, never booted OS X images. It takes an OS X installer and builds a system image, suitable for. 7-Zip is the best file archiver/compression tool (outside of Linux command line tools). It's open source and works on multiple platforms. It's open source and works on multiple platforms. Essential open source Windows admin tool No. 1: Wireshark. Network troubleshooting is a real art, one that requires solid training and years of hands-on experience. If you need to do anything with SQL on a Mac, you need an SQL admin tool. Here’s a quick run-down of four of the most popular SQL tools for Mac.

RELATED:The Best macOS Keyboard Shortcuts You Should Be Using

All the tools on this list do slightly different things, and most of them have way more features than just custom hotkeys. The best part is, they all work well together, so if you can’t get something done with one tool, you can always use another.

BetterTouchTool: Turn Your Trackpad Gestures into Hotkeys

BetterTouchTool lets you map trackpad gestures to system actions, including custom keyboard shortcuts. Its core functionality is simple: select an app to configure (or “Global” for all apps), add a gesture, and then tell it what you want that gesture to do. BetterTouchTool includes hundreds of different gestures, even more if you have Force Touch, and any action you could think of. Want to execute a shell script by clicking with four fingers? BetterTouchTool can do that.

It also has bindings for keyboards, the Magic Mouse and normal mice, the Siri remote, and even the TouchBar, all of which you can configure with custom buttons and sliders attached to Applescript actions.

Beyond gestures and hotkeys, BetterTouchTool has a lot of other features, such as:

  • Configuring the Haptic Feedback engine with custom clicks and values
  • Complete control over how your trackpad functions
  • Windows-style window resizing
  • A built-in web server to trigger actions over the internet
  • Floating HTML context menus
  • It’s own companion remote app

BetterTouchTool is not free, but at $6.50, it’s something worth the price. I personally can’t use my Mac without it.

Alfred: Extend Spotlight Search with Hotkeys

The free version of Alfred is a drop-in replacement for macOS’s native Spotlight search. Alfred adds lots of new functionality, such as searching the web from the prompt, using a calculator without having to fire up the Calculator app, or the using Quick Look inside of Spotlight by pressing Shift.

With the pro version, called “Powerpack,” Alfred gains even more new features, such as hotkeys, workflows, and terminal integration.

Keyboard Maestro: Dead Simple Custom Hotkeys

Keyboard Maestro is a simple app that gets its job done: automating your system with macros and hotkeys. It’s similar to BetterTouchTool but more streamlined, and with simpler triggers and actions. It follows the same scheme of triggers and actions and supports running Applescript and Automator workflows as actions.

Hammerspoon: Control Your System with Lua

Hammerspoon is probably the closest you’ll get to AutoHotKey for macOS. Mostly, it’s just a menubar app that runs Lua scripts and extends system actions to those scripts through its API. While it’s a little more advanced than some of the other apps we include here, Hammerspoon offers a powerful way to communicate with the system at a reasonably low level—it can intercept USB events directly, control local devices, and even automate your mouse and keyboard.

Hammerspoon doesn’t do anything except sit in your menu bar until you write scripts for it. You can check out their getting started guide for more info.

Automator and Shortcuts: The Built-in Solution

If you’re an Automator fan, you’ll appreciate this trick. If you create a new Service, you can launch it with a shortcut in System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Services. This lets you do anything you can with Automator at a click of a button, instead of having to open the context menu. The best part is that Automator is free and comes bundled with macOS, so there’s a lot of community support for it, as well as many prebuilt scripts and workflows.


Automator also works seamlessly with almost every other app on this list, all of which can run Automator workflows.

RELATED:Automator 101: How to Automate Repetitive Tasks on Your Mac

Enjoyable: Use Controllers as a Keyboard

Enjoyable is unlike the other apps on this list. It only has one function: connect your controller to your keyboard. Just plug your controller in, hit the button you want to bind, and then hit the key to which you want to bind that button. It’s handy for games that don’t support controllers, or just any time you’d like to use a controller to move your mouse around. It works on a reasonably low level—supporting individual button and axis IDs—so it works with nearly every controller out there.

I connected it to a 15-year-old GameCube controller, and it handled it just fine. Like Automator, you can use it in combination with other tools on this list to do more advanced things.

Mac Admin Software

If you want a more advanced tool for mapping controllers, you can check out Joystick Mapper and ControllerMate, though both are paid apps.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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Applies to:Office for Mac, Office 2019 for Mac, Office 2016 for Mac

There are two basic ways that you, as an admin, can deploy Office for Mac to users in your organization:

  • Provide your users with the installer package file, and have them install Office for Mac for themselves

  • Download the installer package file to your local network, and then use your software distribution tools to deploy Office for Mac to your users

If you have an Office 365 plan, you can provide your users with instructions on how to download and install Office for Mac for themselves. To install Office for Mac, a user has to be administrator on the Mac or know an administrator account name and password.

But, if you deploy Office for Mac for your users, you have more control over the deployment, including which users get Office for Mac and when. To plan your deployment, review the following information.

Download Office for Mac to your local network

The easiest way to download Office for Mac, and ensure you're always getting the most current version and build, is to download directly from the Office Content Delivery Network (CDN) on the internet. Here are the links to the installer packages for the Office suite, which contains all the applications:

  • Office for Mac (for Office 365 plans)
  • Office 2019 for Mac (for retail or volume licensed versions)
  • Office 2016 for Mac (for retail or volume licensed versions)


  • Installer and update packages for individual applications are also available on the Office CDN. For links to those, see Most current packages for Office for Mac.
  • The same installer package is used for Office for Mac and Office 2019 for Mac. How you activate the product determines whether you get the features for Office for Mac or the features for Office 2019 for Mac.
  • Unlike Office 2016 for Mac, the installer package for Office 2019 for Mac isn't available on the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC).

Deploy Office for Mac to users in your organization

Office for Mac uses the Apple Installer technology for installation. That means you can use the software distribution tools that you normally use to deploy software to Mac users. Some of the most common tools are Jamf Pro, Munki, and AutoPkg. You can also use Apple Remote Desktop and AppleScript.


There are changes in Office for Mac to improve security, including implementing Apple app sandboxing guidelines. These changes mean that you can't customize the app bundle before or after you deploy Office. Don't add, change, or remove files in an app bundle. For example, even if you don't need the French language resource files for Excel, don't delete them. This change prevents Excel from starting. Even though you can't customize app bundles, you can configure preferences for each app.

Tools For Mac

Additional deployment information for Office for Mac

Best Tools For Mac Admins Conference

Whichever deployment method you decide to use, the following information can help you plan your Office for Mac deployment.

  • What's new: Before you deploy, review the information about what's new for admins in Office for Mac. This includes information about system requirements, language support, and new features.

  • Side-by-side installation: You can't have Office 2016 for Mac and Office 2019 for Mac installed on the same computer. Also, you can't have Office for Mac (from an Office 365 plan) along with either Office 2016 for Mac or Office 2019 for Mac (both of which are one-time purchase versions) installed on the same computer.

  • Deploying individual apps: Installer package files for individual applications are available on the Office Content Delivery Network (CDN). For links to those, see Most current packages for Office for Mac.

  • Activation: To use Office for Mac, it needs to be activated. Before you deploy, review the information about how activation works in Office for Mac.

  • Uninstalling: If you need to uninstall Office for Mac, you can follow these steps to completely remove Office for Mac. Unfortunately, there is no program to uninstall Office for Mac automatically.

  • Office for Mac 2011: Support for Office for Mac 2011 ended on October 10, 2017. All of your Office for Mac 2011 apps will continue to function. But, you could expose yourself to serious and potentially harmful security risks. To completely remove Office for Mac 2011, follow these steps.

  • Upgrading to Office 2019 for Mac: If you're a volume licensed customer, you can upgrade to Office 2019 for Mac without uninstalling Office 2016 for Mac. You just need to download the 2019 version of the Volume License (VL) Serializer from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) and deploy it to each computer running Office 2016 for Mac. If you need to go back to Office 2016 for Mac after you've upgraded, follow these steps.

  • Version numbers Version numbers of 16.17 or higher for retail or volume licensed installs indicate you have Office 2019 for Mac. Office 2016 for Mac has version numbers of 16.16 or lower. Since the 'major' version (16) hasn't changed between Office 2016 for Mac and Office 2019 for Mac, application settings, including policies, preferences, and preference domains are similar between the two versions. Also, add-ins and other extensibility solutions that are compatible with Office 2016 for Mac will most likely be compatible with Office 2019 for Mac or will require minimal testing.

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