12 essential tools and utilities for your Mac

A dozen free or budget apps you'll use every day

There are countless tools and utilities for the Mac which enable you to do everything from compressing files to making podcasts and word processing. Apple's own iLife and iWork suites are excellent, but they are far from the only option. For every costly professional program for a particular task, there's almost certain to be an excellent, well-featured and inexpensive – or even free – alternative.