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Kool Tools: Expo, an asset manager for Mac OS X


Insider Software’s Expo is a new asset manager for Mac OS X. It allows creative and marketing professionals to discover, manage and utilize images, fonts, icons, multimedia and application documents in their projects.

Expo’s user-customizable, stock-site manager and built-in browser find free and commercial assets on the Web. Users can visit several assets sites with a single click, select new assets, and drop them into Expo — which then imports the assets and their contents, properties and tags into its catalog.

Using Expo, users can import a wide range of assets including documents, images, presentations, fonts, icons, music, audio and video files. Expo auto-organizes them into customizable smart folders based on the assets’ attributes and metadata. Users can also drag assets into project, product, client, source or other user-defined folders to organize them anyway they want so the assets are easy to find and put to work.

As Expo imports asset files, it auto-tags them to preserve their Mac OS folder associations as well as any tags already assigned by asset vendors and associates. Users can also add their own automatic, manual and batch tags at any time. Later, users can search those tags to find matching assets in seconds.

Expo includes a Mac OS Spotlight-style search that examines tags, file names, file types, sources, dates, licenses, image specs and more. Users instantly see assets matching their search criteria.

Fonts are treated as “first-class citizens” in Expo. With a click, users can view all their fonts; see font previews in customizable text, size and color; and activate and deactivate selected fonts.

Users can drag assets out of Expo directly into Mac folders and applications from Adobe, Quark, Apple, Microsoft and other apps. Or they can use the ExpoExpress menu widget to quickly select the right assets even when the Expo app window isn’t visible.

Expo tracks asset licenses so users know their rights and restrictions, and avoid usage fees and penalties. It comes preconfigured with standard license terms and allows users to enter new license text and cost information on a batch or individual-asset basis.

Expo allows users to add ratings and notes to assets to detail sources, projects, versions, alternates, color adjustments, usage instructions. Since notes are often the most important part of asset metadata, Expo indexes and includes their contents when users search for assets.

Expo runs on Mac OS X 10.8 or later. Customers can purchase Expo or request a 30-day trial at Insider Software online ( Single-user Expo licenses cost US$199, but are available for a limited time at an introductory price of $149.

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