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DragonDrop Simplifies OS X Drag & Drop

Ever since Lion’s release last year, I have been looking for ways to improve the system’s support for drag & drop. Lion is so focused on gestures, yet incredibly similar to older versions of OS X when it comes to file management, that I am still surprised the Finder didn’t get new functionalities aimed at increasing our efficiency with working with files on trackpads. A number of utilities have sprung from many users’ need to have a simpler drag & drop, such as Yoink.

DragonDrop, another take on simplified drag & drop for the OS X Finder, offers a solution that’s somewhat in between the aforementioned Yoink and Quick Look previews. DragonDrop lets you “pause” the drag & drop action by temporarily placing a file – being it an image, text document, webclip, or just about anything OS X can drag & drop (even colors) – in a floating shelf. When you’re ready to “resume”, you can pick up the file and drop it on your destination as it came from the original source.

While this concept is nothing new, DragonDrop provides a unique implementation – a feature that caused the app to take some time to be approved by Apple for sale on the App Store. DragonDrop can be activated by dropping files onto its menubar icon, or by performing a “shake” gesture with your finger while dragging. Apple didn’t like this feature – which is optional in the app’s Preferences – but eventually decided to approve DragonDrop as other Mac App Store apps already modify system functionalities.

Not everyone’s going to like the possibility of bringing up DragonDrop’s shelf with a shake gesture, but I’ve been using it extensively over the past weeks to quickly copy text from webpages and emails (without having to perform a long, precise drag & drop) and folders from the Finder. I like how the shake gesture makes the floating shelf appear next to the mouse cursor, rather than up in the menubar.

At $4.99, DragonDrop is a very focused utility (it also supports cut/copy/paste in the menubar) aimed at enhancing one core functionality of OS X. I recommend it, but if you’re not sure you might need it, there’s a free trial available on the developers’ website.

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