Vortex Tutorial

OVERVIEW

NOTE: This tutorial is just an introduction to Vortex main capabilities. We strongly encourage you to check our video tutorial set in Youtube, here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoVn2h6-YYgYcxTxfemmBKg/playlists

Vortex introduces a new dimension in productivity. With Vortex you can quickly and easily manage files, folders, and text. Use Vortex to compress/uncompress, convert, download, edit, and much more. Vortex knows what actions are available for your selection and gives you quick access to the process. With Vortex you have quick access to system commands to help you manage your system. Vortex also provides single source access to common text editing commands allowing on the fly formatting and editing. And Vortex can search for and download music and episode video files.

Vortex integrates with our other TastyApps, making them even easier to use. The Vortex Setup and Preferences allows you to customize the way you want Vortex to work.

INSTALL

Installation is easy. After downloading Vortex just click on the vortex.dmg file in your downloads folder to launch the Vortex installer.

On the Vortex installation screen just drag the Vortex icon and drop it onto the Applications folder icon on the installation screen and you are done. On some systems the .dmg file might put a virtual disk on your desktop named Vortex on your Desktop. Click on the virtual disk to launch the Vortex installer. When done you can right click the virtual Vortex disk icon on your desktop and select “Eject” or just drag it to your Trash Bin to eject it.

To start Vortex the first time double click on the Vortex icon in your Applications folder.

SETUP

When you start Vortex for the first time Vortex will enable an “Action Zone” on your desktop and place a Vortex icon on your Dock. You can see the initial location of the Action Zone by clicking the “Show me” button on the Welcome to Vortex screen.

Preferences

When Vortex is running you can access the Preference Screen through the Vortex tray icon on your Mac top toolbar:

You can also get to the Preferences Screen by right-clicking the Vortex icon on your Dock.

Preferences allow you to setup how Vortex is launched and used.

General Settings

  • Launch on Startup: Instructs Vortex to automatically launch when you start or reboot your Mac (recommended and enabled by default).
  • Enable Vortex Action Zone: Enables the Action Zone (enabled by default)
  • Show in Dock: Option to place Vortex on your Dock when running (enabled by default). Restart Vortex when changing this Preference for it to take effect.
  • Place the Action Zone at: Allows you to choose the location of the Action Zone (by default, Bottom Right of the screen)
  • Set Vortex key: Choose the key(s) needed to activate the Action Zone when dragging files, or to use the Vortex Global Hotkeys. By default CMD+CTRL.
  • Enable Vortex Global Hotkey: Allows Vortex to be invoked (when running) from keyboard. The Vortex Actions screen will display the available actions for the active application.
  • Enable Vortex Pasteboard Hotkey: Allows Vortex to be invoked (when running) using the content of the system pasteboard as input.
  • Enable Vortex Command Center Hotkey: Allows System commands to be called from Vortex Action screen.
  • Download files to: Choose the default download location

Note that some Preference settings require Vortex to be Quit and restarted before taking effect.

Actions

The actions tab shows the full list of available actions (since Vortex 1.1.8). You can disable an Action (it won’t show up in the available Actions screen for a selection) by setting the value of the Enabled? column to No.

Both the Action Zone and the Vortex Dock icon can be used as access points to the Actions available for files and folders. You can enable either or both, or disable both and use “Hotkey” shortcut only.

Hint: Right click on the Vortex icon in the Dock and select “Options” then click the “Keep in Dock” option. This will allow quick access to Vortex if it is not running. You can even just drag and drop a file on the Dock icon to launch Vortex.

Once setup you can start to take advantage of all Vortex has to offer. Quick access to Actions for all your files; download videos from YouTube, Vimeo,& Dailymotion; capture text, open URLs, convert files to different formats, uninstall applications, and more.

OPERATION

Vortex is extremely easy to use and can be called upon in different ways:

  • Select file(s), or folder(s) and invoke Vortex from the tray icon. the Dock icon or use the Vortex Global Hotkey combo Vortex key+X. You can also just right click on the selection, and the popup menu will include a Vortex entry.
  • Drag and Drop a file or files, or a folder, onto the Vortex icon on your Dock.
  • Drag, while pressing the Vortex Key, to the Action Zone on your Desktop.

Note: Apps cannot be dropped onto the Dock icon, you must use the Action Zone.

The Vortex Action Window will open with the Actions available for your selection:

The above Action window offers available options for an image file. You can use the scroll bar to see all the options or the search box to find an option. Then just click in the option or use the Hotkeys to process the item. You can apply Cancel, the ESC key, or just click anywhere outside the Action window to abort the process.

The Details button in the bottom left of the window will show you the full list of the files/folders/urls being processed and give you additional information about them.

Vortex can be used to convert video or audio files to other formats, and it can also strip audio from video files. Word and Open Office processing documents or text files can be converted to other formats including PDF files, with a single click. You can also use Vortex to uninstall apps completely, removing all the supporting files that they have installed in your computer.

Vortex can also download video files from YouTube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion by dragging the complete URL (needs the ‘http://’) from the browser address window to Vortex or pressing the Global Hotkey, without leaving the browser. If you press CTRL+CMD+X in Safari or Chrome, Vortex will do it for you. In the same fashion, you can download songs from GrooveShark or South Park episodes from SouthParkStudios.com

You can select text from documents or websites and drop it onto Vortex to search in Google, Bing, Wikipedia, Google Maps, or to speak the text.

Downloading songs and series episodes

Vortex will allow you to search and download a TV episode using a simple text query in the standard episode identifier form – series name s00e00. Note the lower case s and e and the 2 digit format for the season and episode. For example The Simpsons s04e02 would be The Simpsons season 4 episode 2. Just type out your query in a text editor or word processor and then invoke Vortex then select Download Episode from the Vortex Actions screen. You can also highlight the query in a text string and then copy and drag and drop it onto the Vortex icon in your Dock to access the Actions screen.

You can also use Vortex to search and download songs using a simple text query. Just type in the artist or group and the song title – or highlight a text string – even on a web page, The Beach Boys Help me Rhonda for example. Then invoke Vortex or drag and drop the text to Vortex and Select Song from the Vortex Actions screen.

Managing your Pasteboard

Vortex keeps track of your Pasteboard history. It remembers the last 10 items copied to the Pasteboard (text, url, files…). You can manage your Pasteboard and choose an item from the history and you will never lose data by cutting or copying by accident! See the full video tutorial here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkovaAOeidQ

The pasteboard history can be reached from the Vortex tray icon. You can also invoke Vortex using the contents of the current system pasteboard using the Vortex Key + P global hotkey.

Vortex Command Center

Some Vortex actions do not take any input and apply to your system as a whole. For example, Vortex can quickly turn off your system, put it to sleep, change your GUI, etc. These actions are only available if you run Vortex in Command Center Mode. You can reach the Command Center Mode through the Vortex tray icon or by using the Vortex Key + M global hotkey.

LIST OF AVAILABLE ACTIONS

Vortex can do much more. Here is a complete list of the available actions. Note that Vortex can run an action for several files/urls at the same time. For example, you can use Vortex to convert several video files to the same format (“batch” processing).

Here are all the actions of Vortex 1.1.8, sorted alphabetically:

  • 7z: Compress file/s, folder/s as a .7z
  • 7z with password: Compress file/s, folder/s as a .7z with password.
  • ACC: Convert video/audio file/s to the audio only .aac format.
  • AIFF: Convert video/audio file/s to the audio only .aiff format.
  • Attach to Mail: Attach file/s to a new outgoing message in Mail app.
  • AVI: Convert video file/s to .avi.
  • BMP: Convert image file/s to .bmp.
  • Bing: Search text in Bing.
  • Bless: Make .dmg file/s open automatically (bless them).
  • Caffeinate: Force the system to stay awake (not go to sleep) for at least 30 min. Available only in command center mode.
  • Cancel: Do nothing.
  • Caps for Sentences: Correctly capitalizes a text with one or more paragraphs (capitalizes the first letter of each paragraph, and the first letter after a terminating punctiation mark. Works both in regular vortex mode and in the in-app editor mode. See the video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljHihCkL6Pk
  • DailyMotion: Download video from DailyMotion URL.
  • Doc: Convert text file/s to .doc.
  • Docx: Convert text file/s to .docx.
  • Download Audio: Download all audio files from a given web page. Does not work with Flash audio (see other actions for that).
  • Download Episode: Download a series episode by series name and season/episode number. For example, game of thrones s04e10. See the video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KRFY6_BDbA.
  • Duplicate Spaces: Remove all duplicate spaces from a given text. Works both in regular vortex mode and in the in-app editor mode. See the video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljHihCkL6Pk
  • Extract: uncompresses (unarchives) .zip, .rar or .7z files. If a file is password protected, Vortex will prompt for the password.
  • Extract URLS: extracts all URLs withing a given URL (extracts all URLs of the HTML source code of a web page)
  • FLV: Convert video file/s to .flv.
  • Format HTML: Corrects HTML errors (close tags, etc), adds missing mandatory tags and reindents HTML code. Works both in regular vortex mode and in the in-app editor mode. See the video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljHihCkL6Pk
  • GIF: Convert image file/s to .gif.
  • Google: Searches text in Google.
  • Google Maps: Searches text in Google Maps.
  • Google Translate: Translates text by opening Google Translate. See the video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YyJKIvFn20.
  • Gorillavid: Downloads the video from a Gorillavid URL.
  • Grooveshark: Downloads a song from Grooveshark. See the video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zI9uJq6nzZE.
  • HTML: Converts text file/s to .html.
  • Halt: Turns off your system. Available only in command center mode.
  • Indent: Indents a text (prepends a column of tabs). Works both in regular vortex mode and in the in-app editor mode. See the video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljHihCkL6Pk
  • JP2: Convert image file/s to .jp2.
  • JPG: Convert image file/s to .jpg.
  • Launch At Login: Makes one or more apps launch at login. If they would already launch at login, they are made to not launch at logging. That is, toggles launch at login for one or more apps.
  • Log out: Log out the current user. Available only in command center mode.
  • Loop: Given a Youtube URL, infinitely loops the linked Youtube video in InfiniteLooper.com.
  • MP3: Convert video/audio file/s to the audio only .mp3 format.
  • Mail with Text: Creates a new outgoing message in mail with the given text.
  • Merge PDFs: Merges several PDF files into a single PDF file with several pages.
  • FLV: Convert video file/s to .mov.
  • FLV: Convert video file/s to .mp4.
  • Multi-app mode: Makes you system enter “multi-app” mode. This is the default GUI mode for OS X: you are able to see the windows of all applications at the same time. See “Single-app mode” below
  • Musicbox: Given one or more URL/s, call Musicbox with all those URLs. You need to have Musicbox installed for this action to show up.
  • New Mail: Given an email address, Create new blank outgoing mail addressed to that mail.
  • ODT: Convert text file/s to .odt.
  • Outdent: Outdents a text (removes a prepended column of tabs). Works both in regular vortex mode and in the in-app editor mode. See the video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljHihCkL6Pk
  • PDF: Converts file/s to PDF (both text and images)
  • PSD: Converts image file/s to PSD
  • Plain text: Removes all text formatting, leaving only plain text. Works both in regular vortex mode and in the in-app editor mode. See the video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljHihCkL6Pk
  • Quick Halt: Quickly turns off your system, avoiding all those annoying questions OS X asks before letting you turn the computer off. Available only in command center mode.
  • Rar: Compress file/s, folder/s as a .rar
  • Rar with password: Compress file/s, folder/s as a .rar with password.
  • Read-only: Make .dmg file/s read only (UDRO format).
  • Read-write: Make .dmg file/s writable (UDRW format).
  • Reboot: Restarts the computer. Available only in command center mode.
  • RTF: Convert text file/s to .rft.
  • Say: Speak, read out loud some text.
  • Single-app mode: Makes your system enter “Single-app mode”. In this mode, only the windows of the currently active application will show (the others will dissapear from the screen). Use the “Multi-app mode” action to restore the regular behavior. Available only in command center mode.
  • Sleep: Put the computer to sleep. Available only in command center mode.
  • Song: Downloads a song by artist and song name. See the video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tf8-zTDuicM.
  • South Park: Downloads full South Park episodes from southparkstudios.com. See the video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQjsGWQO0wk
  • Split pages: Given PDF file/ss with more than one page, creates single page PDF files from them (splits the pages into separate PDF files)
  • TGA: Convert image file/s to .tga.
  • TIFF: Convert image file/s to .tiff.
  • TinyURL: Given a text or one or more URLs, converts all URLs into a TinyURL (smaller, but equivalent URL) using tinyurl.com. Works both in regular vortex mode and in the in-app editor mode. See the video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljHihCkL6Pk
  • To Lowercase: Converts all letters in a given text to lowercase. Works both in regular vortex mode and in the in-app editor mode. See the video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljHihCkL6Pk
  • To Uppercase: Converts all letters in a given text to lowercase. Works both in regular vortex mode and in the in-app editor mode. See the video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljHihCkL6Pk
  • Trash: Moves file/s and/or folder/s to the Trash.
  • Trim: Removes trailing and leading white spaces (spaces, tabs) from a given text. Works both in regular vortex mode and in the in-app editor mode. See the video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljHihCkL6Pk
  • Txt: Convert text file/s to .txt.
  • Uninstall: Moves one or more apps to the trash and removes supporting files (caches, preference files) to keep your system clean.
  • Unwrap text: Removes extra newlines from a text, keeping only paragraphs. Works both in regular vortex mode and in the in-app editor mode. See the video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljHihCkL6Pk
  • URL from .webloc: Extracts the URL from one or more Safari .webloc files (http://file.org/extension/webloc) . Works both in regular vortex mode and in the in-app editor mode. See the video tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljHihCkL6Pk
  • Videobox: Given one or more URL/s, calls Videobox with all those URLs. You need to have Videobox installed for this action to show up.
  • Vimeo: Download video from Vimeo URL.
  • WAV: Convert video/audio file/s to the audio only .wav format.
  • Web Snapper: Given one or more URL/s, calls Web Snapper with all those URLs. You need to have Web Snapper installed for this action to show up.
  • Web Optimized: Given one or more image files, converts them to .jpg and compresses them to half the original size.
  • Webloc: Given one or more URLs, creates one Safari .webloc file (http://file.org/extension/webloc) per URL.
  • Wikipedia: Search text in Wikipedia.
  • Youtube: Download video from Youtube URL.
  • Zip: Compress file/s, folder/s as a .zip
  • Zip with password: Compress file/s, folder/s as a .zip with password.

7 Responses to “Vortex Tutorial”

  1. phil says:

    I have used your apps for some time and have found them useful. I down loaded vortex and am impressed with the multifunction use. May I suggest that you make a 5 minute video to demonstrate the various functions of the app. As you know, most people learn the usefulness of an app by observation and then trying it out.

    Good luck with your new app “Vortex”.

    Phil

    • Alberto says:

      Hi Phil,

      thanks for the comment! We do appreciate the feedback and we will make sure to add a video tutorial before release…wich should be before April 30th. I have sent you a free license for Vortex… Let us know if you find any problems or if you would like to see more functions included!

      Regards,

      Alberto.

  2. XFox says:

    Does Vortex require Tidy to uninstall applications, just like it requires the others TastyApps’s apps for other tasks?

    • Alberto says:

      Hi,

      no Vortex does not require Tidy to uninstall applications. The difference is that Vortex uninstall applications on demand and Tidy watches your trash to track down uninstalled applications. Also, Vortex does not require other tastyapps to do other stuff. Most of what Vortex can do is completely “stand-alone”… the hooks to Videobox, Musicbox and Snapper are just there for convenience. Thanks for asking!

  3. Chris Hart says:

    Hi

    I found your company and apps because of the promotion you ran for Web Snapper with Mac Update. I’m enjoying that utility, so I came to your site to see what else you have to offer.

    I was attracted to the all-in-one nature of Vortex and I’m considering buying it. Here are some observations based on just a few minutes spent with it…

    1) The interface is nice and simple and I like the quick search box. It would be nice to have the search field already selected when the vortex window appears, so that you can start typing what you seek and not have to click in the box first. Although hitting the tab key gets you there, as an alternative.
    2) I’d like to be able to expand the window where you choose the processing option. Even though there’s the search option, it’s nice to be able to see a larger list of options at a glance, when you are working with a document type that you don’t normally deal with.
    3) In the list of actions, I’d like to have the entire area around a process option to be clickable. It would make it easier to quickly click on an option if you didn’t have to mouse to a smaller Apply button (which you could even do away with, since the whole area would be clickable.
    3) The CTRL+COMMAND droplet area doesn’t work reliably for me (OSX 10.8.5), but I don’t mind dragging onto the vortex app icon
    4) The app has very limited options for PDF processing. It would be nice to have it convert a PDF into a series of TIFF, JPEG, PNG files.
    5) When I convert a doc or docx to pdf, the pdf includes an extra blank page
    6) The app doesn’t seem to like RTFD docs for PDF creation — the resulting PDF is an invalid file (RTF docs are fine, but RTFD is not)
    7) Eventually, it would be nice to have the ability for XLS files to be converted to PDF (since I believe apple includes libraries for dealing with XLS files within the OS, this shouldn’t take much effort)

    Thank you for your work on this cool utility.

    -Chris

    • Alberto says:

      Thanks Chris for the feedback! We will certainly work on that. I am a bit “buffled” about your problems with CTRL+CMD. Do you think we could further talk about this? Thanks, Alberto.

    • Alberto says:

      Ok Cris, we have applied several of your suggestions in the next release, 1.1.6, that is going live in a matter of minutes. The quick search box should now be selected by default when vortex is invoked. You now have several new PDF manipulation options (split, transform to images) and you can now click anywhere in the action area (the apply button is gone). We will keep working in the next versions to accomodate RTFD and XLS files… thanks.

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