Getting started with 1Password

BY Mike Vardy

Published 20 Nov 2012

We live in an online world – and it is a world filled with passwords. Passwords to manage our bank accounts, shop online, log into our email accounts and social networks, and a slew of other sites. I don’t have to tell you that using one password for all of those is a bad idea, but I do have to tell you that one of the best ways to manage those passwords is by using 1Password by AgileBits.

1Password is available for both the Mac and Windows platforms, as well as for the iPhone, iPad, and Android in the mobile realm. The password databases can sync via Dropbox or syncing over wi-fi, so no matter where you are you’ll have access to any passwords, accounts, secure notes or software licenses that you store in 1Password.

I’ll provide you a quick walk-through here to help you get started with 1Password. Ready? Let’s go.

Starting up

After installing the desktop version (you’ll get a free 30-day trial if you go directly to the Agile Bits website), you’ll see a “Welcome to 1Passsword” screen which offers the option of viewing a quick expert guide or watching a introductory video before starting. If you have a previous 1Password database, then you can import it into the Use Existing box – and then you’re good to go. If you’re new to 1Password, then you will be asked to Create a New Encrypted Database.

Up next, you’ll be asked if you want to install the appropriate browser extensions into any of your web browsers, and I’d highly recommend it. Once you do, you’ll see a small button that will then allow you to seamlessly interface with the 1Password app you’ve got installed. The browser extension allows you to save website passwords and credentials as you come across them, and you can even access these websites by searching them from within the extension, and these sites can open in a new window, a new tab, and even auto-submit. I rarely open the full 1Password app because the extension does so much of what I need on a regular basis.

The web extension at work

The 1Password app is protected by a “master password” which is set by the user during initial setup. In the application Preferences tab, you can also set how strict you want 1Password to lock down access to your critical information.

But what do I store?

Here are some of the things that 1Password can help you manage:

  1. Logins: If you need to enter a secure password, then 1Password’s password generator can create a customizable password which it will then store for in the login section.
  2. Accounts: You can use this store things that are localized accounts, such as iTunes or App Store credentials. This probably my least used function (along with Secure Notes), but it is a handy section to have should you need it
  3. Identities: 1Password is able to automatically enter information into web forms using user created identities. This feature is especially handy when accessing this information regularly.
  4. Secure Notes: Need a secure note for private information? 1Password has got you covered.
  5. Software: You can store all of your software licenes in 1Password here. You can even drag the application into the 1Password app and it will attempt to grab the details for you.
  6. Wallet: This feature allows the user to securely store sensitive information like credit cards, bank accounts, memberships and reward programs. You can then easily enter credit card information while shopping online with just one click. And you’ll also gain additional protection from keyloggers as 1Password never types information – therefore not relying on the clipboard.

You can store a lot of data in 1Password

Stay organized with folders and tags

Other things that will help you be more efficient with 1Password is to use folders to sort your data. I’ve not tapped into this feature too much as I tend to use tags more often. On the Mac, you can create both regular and smart folders in the same way you would in the Finder or Mail. Not a bad idea if you want to classify certain data with certain situations.

Tagging is another great feature that 1Password offers. You can assign tags to items you’ve stored in 1Password so that you can then filter them out to better sort your information. Another cool feature about tagging is that you can hold down the mouse button/trackpad on the desktop version’s icon in the Dock and use the “Go & Fill” option for sites that are sorted by tags. They’ll open immediately and get right to where you want to be. Without tagging, you’ll be scrolling in this feature for what could seem like eternity.

1Password’s Password Generator

When it comes to security, the main reason you can trust 1Password with your information is that the data is encrypted using a 128 bit key AES algorithm. Now you have both peace of mind that you’ll have your passwords with you at all times, but that it would take a whole lot for others to get them.

(You can also adjust the view in the 1Password app to best suit your tastes.)

I honestly don’t know what I’d do without 1Password. It keeps my password and account data easily accessible, safe, and secure. This app has saved me countless hours of productivity and is a must-have app in my book. And I’ve only just scratched the surface in this introductory piece.

Now that you know what it can do and how to get started with it…I suggest you go and get it.

Next up we’ll talk about 1Password on your iPhone, iPad, and the web through Dropbox this is where it can really shine and help you manage all your passwords.