by Marcel Dufresne
July 15, 2021
Most of us are fighting the never-ending battle of keeping our desktops uncluttered. iCollections is another of the useful applications that organizes icons and keeps the desktop neat. Once I started using it, I found that it had many other very interesting additional functions that set it apart from the similar desktop organizers. Read on to find out if this application might be right for you.
iCollections lets you create areas on your desktop so you can store, sort, and arrange your icons. This helps you keep related items together so your files are organized and easy to find. This should increase task and time management effectiveness by offering a streamlined desktop where everything is organized to your specifications. Collections are not limited to only files, folders, and applications. URL links, as well as fragments of text (text clippings), can be stored. The URL and text clip can be taken from an application in macOS or can be created manually. It can even be edited. You can also assign a keystroke shortcut to the text clipping item and use the shortcut to paste its content over and over again.
The main interface to interact with iCollections resides in the menu bar. It is from here that one can create a collection folder. Add what you will to the collection and by default, an alias of it is created in the collection. If you wish to copy and move files, then you need to disable the “Only create aliases” option in Preferences. Next, you will need to choose to which border you would like to place its tab. And presto, you have freed up space on the desktop. When you move your mouse over the tab, the contents will spring open.
Once your items are in a collection, you can perform the same actions as you could on items on the desktop. You can open (double click), rename (click on a label), remove (Cmd+Backspace), view (space key), copy and move (drag and drop), locate in the Finder window (context menu), and more. You can label, re-size, highlight or move them however you would like. Any collection can be set as a drawer (looks like a tab). The drawer stays hidden as a tab at the top, bottom, left or right part of the screen and slides out from the edge when you mouse over it.
Each collection can be individually customized to your specific tastes. Colour, style, size, borders, etc. are all under your control. Even the collection tab is considered to be an individual item with its own customizable properties. The colour coding helps you to find what you are looking for much faster. You can even exchange any macOS system icon with a more distinguishable one. You can use picture files to change the icon of any file, folder, application, alias, disk drive or URL link.
By default, the iCollections Storage is located in your Documents folder. This can be switched to a different location if you wish. I put mine in my local users folder with a link in the sidebar. This provided me with very quick access to all the items I have stored. This location is not shared on the Internet to protect my data.
A collection folder is the main type of iCollections window and the primary function of the application. But, this is just one of eleven different collection types. When you choose ‘New’ from the iCollections menu bar icon, you will view all of the other types. The ‘Disk Panel’ collection contains all your active disk drives. This includes any that are on your network as well as DVD drives.
If you have ever wanted to add an item to the computer’s menu bar then the ‘Menubar Dock’ is for you. It provides the means to add items from a collection to your computer’s menu bar. This can be moved around just like any other menu bar icon. The items in the list are stored in the iCollections folder where you can add or remove what is there.
The ‘Folder View’ collection allows speedy access to selected folders from the desktop. ‘Drop Well’ keeps references to files and folders you add but does not back them up. The Drop Well is used as temporary storage for files and folders during drag and drop. Moving a file into the Drop Well creates an alias of the original file. When you move the alias to any folder, the original file will also be moved.
Would you like your computer to become a fancy photo frame for some of your photos? Then use the ‘Photo Frame’ collection. Now your favourite images can be quickly shown on the desktop. It can be used to create a slideshow if you wish, create a static picture, or have it change once a day. Each separate Photo Frame collection can be customized, including style and colour, to suit your preferences. This even applies to choosing the frame design.
The ‘Web View’ collection is a quick way to check out a specific website without having to open your browser. Its compact size makes it ideal to free up space on the desktop but still keep you in touch with the Internet. And, like the other kinds of Collections, you can create tabs to have multiple web pages in one window.
The ‘Calendar’ presents a desktop view of your schedule in a simple widget. Events from selected calendars (Work, Home, Birthdays, etc.) will be displayed for each day. Event descriptions can be seen for any day by clicking on a specific day cell.
At first, the ‘Apps Monitor’ collection window looks like the Dock display. However, it displays only the currently running processes and as such is much shorter. With it, you can quickly bring an app to the front, force quit or apply several other selected processes such as Get Info or Show in Finder.
The ‘Window Monitor’ collection contains all the open windows you have per desktop. If you minimize a window, it will show up in this collection no matter which desktop you are using. I often do this with magazines that I have not yet finished with. With this collection I can immediately go back to the article I was reading. It even has badges for apps such as Mail which lets me know how many emails I have waiting to be read. Lastly, there is the ‘Trash Bin’ collection which allows me to place a trash icon anywhere on the desktop. It indicates the number of items in the trash.
The iCollections application provides an extremely efficient way to free up space and organize your desktop. There is a very helpful online manual and numerous videos to guide you through its many functions. I strongly suggest that you download the fully functional 14 day trial version of iCollections. Click here to download it or read more about its diverse functions. There is a single-user price of $18.95 or $26.95 for a lifetime upgrade version. Try it out and get a good idea of what it can do. The degree of customization is superb. Size, location, colour, and anything you can think of can be modified to your liking. Alleviate the problem of trying to find one file among the myriad of files on your desktop.