1Password Fills Forms for you
Mac Tip #332, 02 April 2008
As I explained in the last Tip, you can use the Tab key to move quickly between fields on a form. But you still have to type your entries. Which is fine if you’re typing out your thoughts and responses on an issue.
But if you’re always having to fill in such unchanging information as name, address, phone number, email address, and even credit card numbers, user names and passwords, then all that typing can be tedious at best, annoying at worst.
Because of the work I do, I have to maintain dozens and dozens of usernames and passwords. Memorising them all is not within my brainpower, and looking them up all the time is a nuisance.
Saving them in one browser also isn’t the answer, as I often switch between Safari, Flock and OmniWeb and need passwords and so on in each one.
That’s why I use a wonderful piece of Mac software called 1Password.
It costs US$35 for a single licence (with a 30 day money back guarantee) and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or newer, and a modern web browser such as Safari, Firefox, OmniWeb, or NetNewsWire. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with the Opera web browser.
1Password can do many things, including generating passwords for you, but here’s how I commonly use it to save me time and effort while I use the web.
Save form information as you go
The first time I went to a website requiring information I filled in the form in the usual way. Then I asked 1Password to Save the form.
Fill with saved information
When I go to a website where I must enter my details I use the special keystroke (set in the 1Password preferences) to enter most of the required information. Obviously I’ve already entered this into 1Password, either directly or by saving forms as I go along. In a flash the entire form is filled out.
If I might have two or more different logins for one site (as often happens in my work) then I can choose which ‘Identity’ to use.
I check the details, enter any other missing information, and press the relevant button to submit the form. I can even choose to have the form submitted automatically for me, so I don’t have to press Return. That’s very helpful for logging in to email or banks.
A demo form and demo software
The 1Password folks have provided a demo form so you can see how things work.
You’re able to download a free version of 1Password and fill up to 12 forms with it to get an idea of whether it will work for you.
Wallet and secure notes
1Password is also able to keep credit card details secure for you — very handy for shopping sites. It can alert you to phishing attacks, where fraudulent sites pretend to be your bank or shopping site, and help prevent you from giving away valuable login and banking details.
It has a whole section for secure notes where you can store information you’d like to keep away from prying eyes.
I’ve been using 1Password for a long time now, and would hate to be without it. Of course it has many more features than I can mention here, but for me the most important feature is filling in all those login forms with one single keystroke.
Update, October 2009. It’s about 18 months since I wrote this and I now feel even more strongly that 1Password is must-have software for any Mac user! Just buy it.