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Every Mac (and PC) user needs this utility

It's so indispensable that it's one of the first applications that I install on any new system I'm using.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Man being interactive with a yellow iMac on desk

Now that we're in an age of apps, and no matter what platform you're using, you can pretty much find an app that will do anything you want, I thought that the days of the "toolbox" of utilities were over.

Parallels proved me wrong with this when they first introduced their Parallels Toolbox suite of utilities a few years ago, and over time and through continuous updates that suite has only gotten better.

What is Parallels Toolbox?

It's a suite of over 30 tools and utilities for both Mac and Windows that all focus on doing one job, but they do that one job superbly well.

The idea behind Parallels Toolbox is to allow "everyone to make the most out of their Mac or PC -- without learning complicated system settings."

And it does this.

Another powerful and comforting aspect of having Parallels Toolbox installed on my systems is that I don't need to download many different apps. If I want to make a barcode or make a GIF or free up RAM or record the screen or unzip files or do one of over two dozen other things, I can do it all from one place.

No sketchy downloads.

No using some random online service.

And best of all, I can do it all for one price.

I'm not going to detail all the different tools on offer in Parallels Toolbox -- there are too many -- but there are a few that have become must-have tools in my day-to-day workflow. 

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Record Area: Record a section of the screen and save it as a video file.
  • Make GIF: Take a video and convert it (or a portion of it) into an animated GIF.
  • Download Video: Grab videos from Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, and more with one click.
  • Energy Saver: Not something I need so often now I'm running an M1 Mac, but it's still handy to be able to extend battery life with one click dramatically.
  • Transform Text: This tool transforms text between different letter case types -- Title Case, lowercase, CamelCase or even RAnDoM cASe.
  • Verify Checksum: Generate and compare checksums of files to verify that they've not been altered.

Making a GIF with Parallels Toolbox

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ Screenshot

For a complete list of the tools, along with what platform they are available for (not all are available on both Windows and Mac), click here.

Hardly a day goes by that I don't use at least one of the tools in the Parallels Toolbox suite, and usually, I find myself jumping from tool to tool throughout the day.

Parallels Toolbox is so indispensable that it's one of the first applications that I install on any new system I'm using. I can't imagine not having easy access to the tools.

There are two ways to get your hands on Parallels Toolbox. You can buy a license which costs a very reasonable $19.99 a year (there's a 7-day trial available), or, if you are a Parallels Desktop user and have a valid subscription; you get access to Parallels Toolbox as part of that.

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