Thursday, November 22, 2007

Exposé Show-Off Trick #1

Showing off Exposé to a friend or co-worker who uses a PC is more than a blast, it’s your duty, because even Windows XP still has nothing like it. But if you really want to be a major hambone, before you press F9 to invoke Exposé, start a QuickTime movie clip, have a DVD playing, or have iTunes playing a song and click on the Visualizer (heck, have all three going at once). When you press F9, the QuickTime clip (DVD, iTunes, etc.) keeps playing even when miniaturized. It’s fun to watch their face as it changes from “Cool!” to “Why doesn’t Windows have that?”

Screen capture

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Move All Your Stuff to a New Mac — Quick

In the past, if you bought a new Mac, moving all your files, music, photos, and well...everything from your old Mac to your new Mac was quite a production, and I saw it reduce many an NFL lineman to tears.

Well, in Tiger, that’s all a thing of the past. Now, when it’s time to make the “big move,” just connect the two Macs with a FireWire cable, then go to your new Mac and look inside the Applications folder, then go to the Utilities folder, where you’ll find an application called Migration Assistant. Double-click on it and since it’s an assistant, it will lead you through a series of screens with questions about what you want to do. (Don’t worry, they’re pretty simple questions; however, some of the most critical questions are entirely in French. Kidding.) That’s it — answer the questions and it’ll make the move (including copying your settings for things like email, bookmarks and more).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Narrowing Your Search by Giving Spotlight a Hint

If you want to narrow your search right off the bat, you can add a category when you type the term in the Search field.

Screen shot

For example, if you’re looking for a song named “Vertigo” (by the band U2), there’s no sense in having Spotlight bring you a list of email messages from your ear doctor, right? So if you give Spotlight a hint as to what you’re looking for, you can get just songs as your Spotlight search results. Here’s how: Type “kind:music” (with no space in between or quotations), then add one space and type “Vertigo” (again, you don’t need the quotes). So your search will look like this: kind:music Vertigo. Now it will only search songs, and you’ll only get song results. Schweet!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Focusing Your Searches

By default, Spotlight pretty much searches everything on your Mac, from songs to email, to contacts and system preferences. It’s annoyingly thorough (if it were human, it would make a great book editor). Anyway, if there are certain areas you don’t need it to search (for example, if you don’t want it rummaging through your songs), you can tell it what to search through and what to ignore. You do this by first going to Spotlight’s Preferences. Just click on the Spotlight icon in the menu bar, type a search word, and from the bottom of the list of found items choose Spotlight Preferences. When the dialog appears, turn off the checkboxes for the areas you don’t want searched.

Screen shot

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Printing From the Desktop (Without a Desktop Printer)

Don’t want a printer icon cluttering up your desktop, but you still want to print files from the desktop or a Finder window (kind of greedy, aren’t you)? Then try this little trick: Control- click on the file you want to print to bring up a contextual menu. Now just choose Print from the menu. Once you choose it, it will either start printing or take you directly to the default application’s Print dialog.

Screen shot

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Stickies Will Spell It for You

If you’re working in Stickies and you’re not sure you’ve spelled a word correctly, just Control-click on the word and a contextual menu will appear. At the top of this menu will be choices for what it believes to be the proper spelling of that word (if it’s actually misspelled and it recognizes the word in the first place). If you agree, just move your cursor over that word, release your mouse button, and your misspelled word will be replaced. Mighty handy.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Opening? Saving? Spotlight Is There

Okay, it’s time to save a file, so you choose Save As and the typical Save dialog appears. You want to save your document in a particular folder, but you can’t remember exactly where that folder is. No sweat, because Spotlight lives in the Save (and Open) dialog as well (it’s everywhere!). Just type the name of the folder you’re looking for in the Spotlight field in the upper right-hand corner of the Save As dialog and all the folders with that name appear in your Save window, so you can get right where you want blindingly fast. Nice.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Smart Mailbox Idea: Mail Older Than One Year

If you’ve got email that’s more than a year old just clogging up your Inbox (and taking up valuable space), you can use a Smart Mailbox to help you do some fast email house cleaning.

Just Control-click on the email account (or your Inbox if you don’t have multiple accounts) that you want to clean up, and then choose New Smart Mailbox from the contextual menu. When the Smart Mailbox dialog appears, from the first criteria pop-up menu on the left, choose Date Received. From the next pop-up menu over, choose “is before the date,” and in the final field, type a date that is approximately one year before today. Click OK and all your email that is one year old (or older) will appear in that Smart Mailbox. To delete that old email, just click on the Smart Mailbox, press Command-A to select all the email, then press the Delete key on your keyboard.


Now, the nice thing is that tomorrow more one-year-old email will appear in that Smart Mailbox (thanks to its live updating), and the next day, and the next day, and so on, so your mailbox never has more than one year of archived messages. So, about once a month, click on that Smart Mailbox and easily delete all the old email.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Getting a Transcript of Your Chat

There are a dozen reasons why you might want a written log of your text chats; maybe someone gave you instructions, a recipe, or just typed a bunch of stuff that cracks you up. Well, luckily, you can ask iChat to keep a running log of your text chats — go under the iChat menu, to Preferences, then click on the Messages icon, and turn on Automatically Save Chat Transcripts.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Power Copy-and-Paste

In previous versions of Mac OS X (and Mac OS 9 for that matter), if you clicked on a file, copied it (Command-C), then opened an application (like Mail) and pasted it (Command-V), it would only paste that file’s name. Now, in some applications it pastes the actual file, so you can copy-and-paste a file from a Finder window or the desktop right into your application. Okay, so what if you do want just the name (which happens from time to time)? Just click directly on the selected file’s name (to highlight it) and press Command-C to copy it. Now you’re copying just the name. It’s a Power Pasting thing!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Email Attachments Made Easy

If you want to attach a file to an email message, you can drag the file directly to Mail’s icon in your Dock. This opens Mail and creates a brand-new email message window with that file already attached. Sweet! Better yet, even if you drag multiple attachments, they all attach to just one email message (rather than creating one message for each attachment, as in previous versions of Mac OS X).

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Keep an Eye on Things, Live From the Dock

Do you like to know what’s going on “under the hood” of your Mac (stuff like your CPU usage, disk activity, memory usage — you know, total geek stuff)? If you do, you can keep an eye on things right from within the dock using Mac OS X’s Activity Monitor. It’s found in the Applications folder, under Utilities. Once you’ve found it, drag it into your dock, then click on it to launch it. Once it’s launched, click-and-hold for a moment on its dock icon. A menu will pop up, and you’ll see a dock icon menu item. This is where you choose which activity you want to monitor from its live dock icon. Choose it, and a live graph will appear in the dock that’s updated dynamically as you work.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Finding the Right Special Character

Okay, let’s say you’re in Mail, and you’re writing the word “résumé,” which used properly should have that little accent over the “é” like I have it here. You know it needs an accent, but you have no idea which keyboards combination will create an “e” with an accent above it.

Here’s a trick for finding any special character: When you’re typing, and you need that special character, stop typing and click the Fonts button at the top of the Mail window. When the Font dialog appears, go to the Actions pop-up menu (its icon looks like a gear near the bottom-left corner of the dialog) and choose Characters to bring up the Character Palette. At the bottom of the Character Palette dialog, you’ll see a small search fIeld. Type whatever you need, such as “acute accent” (without the quotes), and in just a moment a menu of different accents will appear. Double-click on the accent you want and the palette will jump to the mark you need. Close by you should see the character you need. Click on it and then click on the Insert button (or Insert with Font button if you’re searching in Glyph View) just to the right of the search fIeld. Now that letter “é” will appear in just the right place in your email message.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Instant Slide Shows Wherever You Are

Let’s say you open a window and there are 20 photos in that window. Want to see a quick slide show of those photos? Just press Command-A to select all the photos, then Control-click on any photo and from the contextual menu that appears, choose slideshow. A full-screen slide show of those photos (complete with a nice smooth dissolve transition) will appear onscreen.

If you want to see only some of the photos in a slide show, instead of selecting all the images, just Command-click on the photos you want in your slide show before Control-clicking on one and choosing slideshow. To quit the slide show in progress, just press the escape key on your keyboard.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

From EPS to PDF in No Time Flat

This trick is pretty much just for graphic designers who work with EPS images from applications like Adobe illustrator, Coreldraw for Mac, Freehand, and Photoshop. If you want to convert your EPS image instantly into a PDF (ideal for emailing), just drag it onto Apple’s Preview application icon in your dock (or in your Applications folder) and Mac OS X automatically converts your Postscript file to a PDF on the fly. When you choose save from the File menu, it will save as a PDF.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Go Directly From Your Video Camera Into QuickTime

There’s a very cool feature that sneaked into QuickTime Pro 7 that has kind of flown below the radar so far. It’s the ability to record directly from your digital video camera (or a microphone) right into a QuickTime fIle, without having to go through iMovie, Final Cut Pro, or a third-party application.

Just connect your digital video camera (or even your iSight camera), launch the QuickTime Pro Player, then from the File menu choose New Movie Recording. A QuickTime window will open showing you a preview of what your camera is seeing. Now just click the round red record button at the bottom of the QuickTime window and it starts recording. Click the stop button when you’re done and you’ve got an instant QuickTime movie. It works the same way for recording audio using your Mac’s built-in microphone (provided of course that your Mac actually does have a built-in mic), but instead of choosing New Movie Recording, you’ll choose New Audio Recording. Note: you have to upgrade from the standard QuickTime to QuickTime Pro to have access to this feature.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Finding Where the © and ™ Symbols Live

Since nearly the beginning of Mac-dom, when you wanted to find out which key combination produced a font’s special characters (stuff like ©, ™, £, ¢, ‰, ƒ, etc.), you used a utility called KeyCaps. More than a decade later, KeyCaps is still a part of Mac OS, but a better way to access these special characters is through the Character Palette. You can access it two ways: (1) From within Mac OS X business apps (like Mail, TextEdit, Stickies, etc.), just go under Edit and choose Special Characters or click on the Actions pop-up menu at the bottom of the Font Panel and choose Characters; (2) add Character Palette access to your menu bar, so you can access it when you’re working in other applications (like Microsoft Word or Adobe InDesign). You do this by going to the System Preferences in the Apple menu, under International, and clicking on the Input Menu tab. Turn on the checkbox for Character Palette and it will appear in the menu bar along the right side.

Either way you open it, here’s how you use it: When you open the Character Palette, choose All Characters from the View menu, then click on the By Category tab. The left column shows a list of special character categories and the right column shows the individual characters in each category. To get one of these characters into your text document, just click on the character and click the Insert button in the bottom right-hand corner of the dialog. If you find yourself using the same special characters over and over (like ©, ™, etc.), you can add these to your Favorites list, and access them from the Favorites tab in the Character Palette. To see which fonts contain certain characters (they don’t all share the same special characters), expand the Character Palette by clicking on the down-facing arrow next to Font Variation on the bottom-left side of the palette. This brings up another panel where you can choose different fonts. you can also ask that this list show only fonts that support the character you have highlighted.

Finding where the © and ™ Symbols Live

Monday, November 5, 2007

Searching by Color Label

Besides the visual benefits of having certain files tagged with a Color label, there’s a hidden benefit: You can search for files by their color. For example, let’s say you misplaced an important file for a project you were working on. You can press Command-F to bring up the Find function, and from the top-left pop-up menu, choose Color Label.

Then, click on the color for the files you labeled in that project, and it will instantly find and display all the files with that color. Searching by color—only Apple is cool enough to come up with a search like this!

Color Label Search

Creating Aliases Without the Word “Alias”

Do you find it as annoying as I do that Mac OS X adds the word “alias” every time you create an alias? (I know, previous versions of the Mac OS did that as well, and it annoyed me there too.) Well, you can bypass the “adding-the-word-alias” uglies altogether by holding the Option and Command keys and clicking-and-dragging the original file outside the Finder window it’s currently in (I usually just drag mine to the desktop).

This creates an alias without the word “alias” attached. (Note: Don’t worry, you’ll still know it’s an alias, because its icon will have a tiny arrow at the bottom left-hand corner.)

Creating Aliases Without The Word “Alias”

Sunday, November 4, 2007

The Ultimate Customize Toolbar Shortcut

If you want to customize the items in your toolbar (and there’s nothing wrong with that), just Command-Option-click the little white pill-shaped button at the top right of your window’s title bar, and the Customize Toolbar dialog will appear, right there in your window. Now you can just drag-and-drop icons onto the toolbar.

The Ultimate Customize Toolbar Shortcut

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Dropping Text on the Dock for Fast Results

Let’s say you’re reading an article online, and you read a sentence that you want to email to a friend. Don’t do the copy-and-paste thing. Instead, just highlight the text and drag-and-drop it right on the Mail icon in the Dock. It will open Mail and put that sentence into a new mail message. This tip also works in other Cocoa applications like TextEdit, Stickies, and Safari. For example, if you’re reading a story and want to do a Google search on something you’ve read, just highlight the text and drag-and-drop it on the Safari icon in the Dock. It will launch Safari and display the Google Search Results.

Dropping Text on the Dock for Fast Results

Friday, November 2, 2007

Address Book: See Which Groups They’re In

If you have a contact that appears in more than one Group, you can instantly see which of your Groups this individual appears in by simply clicking on his or her contact and holding the Option key. When you do this, every Group that they appear within will become highlighted.

This is handy if you want to clean up your Groups by deleting extra instances of people who appear in multiple Groups.

Address Book: See Which Groups They’re In

Thursday, November 1, 2007

What If You Don’t Want To Open The File?

The idea behind Spotlight is that it will find the file you want, and then open that file for you, so you can start working on it immediately. But what if you just want to know where the file is, and not necessarily open it? (For example, what if you just want to know where it is, so you can burn a backup copy to a CD?) To do that, once the results appear in the spotlight menu, just hold the Command key and then click on the file. This will close Spotlight and open the Finder window where your file is. Or if you want Spotlight open, just click on the file and press Command-R, which will open a Finder window with the file selected, leaving the spotlight dialog open.

What If You Don’t Want To Open The File?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

One-Click Long-File-Name Fix

If you’re working in a window set to Column view, you’re going to run into this all the time — files with long names have the end of their names cut off from view, because the column isn’t wide enough. That doesn’t sound like that big of a problem, until you start working with more descriptive file names, and you can’t see which file is “European Front End Silver Car” and which is “European Back End Silver Car” because everything from “European” to “Silver Car” is cut off.

Luckily, there’s a quick fix — just double-click on the little tab at the bottom of the vertical column divider bar, and the column will expand just enough so you can see even the longest file name of any file in that column. Option-double-click on the tab, and every column expands to show the longest name in each column. Pretty darn sweet!

One-Click Long-File-Name Fix

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

iChat AV: Audio Chatting?

If you’re doing an audio chat, do you even need the iChat window open? Well, if you close it, you’ll quit the chat, but if you minimize the chat window to the dock instead (press Command-M), you can continue your chat, even though the window is no longer visible. When it’s time to end your chat, just click on the minimized chat window in the dock.

Audio Chat Dock

Monday, October 29, 2007

Keep Your Images in RGB As Long As Possible

When you convert an RGB image to CMYK, you lose flexibility because you’re targeting it to a specific press condition. For example, if you convert to SWOP Coated, you’re assuming the image will end up on a Web offset press with very specific inks, paper type, and paper color. But you’ve limited yourself because you may need that same image on a sheetfed press or later need to repurpose it for on-screen delivery. It’s much better to leave your images in RGB mode as long as possible — even all the way to your page-layout application.

Yes, it really is okay to place RGB images directly into Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress. Both of these programs have great color management systems that can convert the image to CMYK when you print or export as PDF. In the case of InDesign, the results are typically identical to what you get when you convert in Photoshop! So save yourself time and energy and keep your images in RGB as long as you can.

If your output provider is color management savvy and can handle RGB PDFs, then send them PDF/X3 files (which maintain the original color spaces). If they want CMYK files, then make sure you convert to a CMYK destination when you export your PDF files. For example, exporting as a PDF/X1-a file ensures that all your colors are converted CMYK for your printer. Of course its also a good idea to check with your printer to ensure you are converting the the right kind of CMYK for your print job (SWOP, Sheetfed, etc).

Keep Images RGB

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Knowing When to (Force) Quit

With the Force Quit command in OS X, you can escape from “frozen” applications on your Mac without shutting down the whole computer or disrupting work in other programs.

If an application hasn’t responded for a while to mouse clicks, trackpad scrolling, or other persuasive actions, click on the Apple menu and select Force Quit.

A pop-up window lists all the applications you currently have open. Stalled applications are listed in red and say (not responding) after the application name. Scroll up and down through the list with the arrow keys, or just click on an application name to select — then click Force Quit to exit only that program. You can restart the application from your Dock or Applications menu, but any unsaved changes may be lost.

But there’s an even easier Force Quit trick: Simultaneously press Command-Option-Esc and the Force Quit pop-up appears — an especially useful trick if your Finder has frozen and you can’t select the pull-down Apple menu.

Force Quit

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Create a Custom Desktop Slideshow

Changing your Desktop picture is easy: Just click the Apple menu and choose System Preferences. Select Desktop & Screen Saver and click the Desktop tab. Then select Choose Folder and navigate to the folder containing the picture you desire.

You can also create a custom desktop slideshow by putting the images you’d like to use inside a new folder, navigating to it as described above, and selecting one of the images. Before you close the Desktop & Screen Saver window, select the Change Picture checkbox. Using the pull-down menu, specify how quickly you’d like the images to change and whether you’d like the images to cycle in random order.

To keep things tidy, you may want to store your new custom picture folder in the same location as your default Mac OS X desktops. They reside in your root-level Library folder, in the folder called Desktop Pictures.

Custom Slideshow

Friday, October 26, 2007

Create Your Own Icons

You don’t have to live with the icons your Mac displays by default. Instead, personalize your folders, files, and drives with custom icons using just about any graphic file you desire, whether it’s a jpeg, gif, png, Photoshop or Illustrator file, or even a PDF.

First, choose an image you want to use and open it in Preview. If the file doesn’t open in Preview by default, select the image in Finder, select Open With from the File menu and then select Preview from the drop-down list.

Once your image has opened in Preview, press Command-C to copy it.

Next, select the file, folder or drive whose icon you want to change, and press Command-I to show its Info window.

Click the file, folder, or drive icon at the top left corner of the Info screen, then press Command-V to replace this icon with your chosen image.

Close the Info window. The new image should appear in place of the old icon on your desktop or Finder window — even in List view.

To make your icons appear larger or smaller, go to the Finder and select View Options from the View menu. Use the slider in the pop-up window to change your icons’ display size on the desktop or in Finder windows.

You can also copy icons from the Info window of one file, folder, or drive to another. Just select the desired icon, copy it, then select the icon you want to replace and paste. Want to revert to the default Mac icon? Select your custom icon in the Info window and press the Delete key.

More Icon Tips: The most successful icons are clear, small images without too much detail, like a close-up photo of a face or a flower. You may want to crop an existing image down to a single detail in an image-editing program to create a better-looking icon — or use one of the thousands of purpose-made icons available in various online collections.

Keep in mind that using a large image as an icon increases the file size of your destination folder or file. For example, using a 3.4 MB photo as an icon for a 36 KB document increases that document’s total file size to 92 KB. Try creating a lower-resolution or smaller version of your image instead.

Change Icon Change Icon

Thursday, October 25, 2007

See Your File’s Hidden Info

Want more info on your files than the standard icon view provides (after all, it just gives you the file’s name in icon view)? Then turn on Show Item info. This adds an extra line of information below many files and folders that can be very useful. For example, now not only do you get a folder’s name, but just below the name (in unobtrusive light-blue, 9-point type), you’ll see how many items are in that folder.

If the file is an image, the Item Info shows you how big it is. MP3 files show how long the song is, etc. To turn on Item Info for your current Finder window, press Command-J to bring up its View Options. Then turn on the checkbox for Show Item Info. If you want to show the item info for every window (globally), then choose the All Windows button at the top of the dialog.

See Your File’s Hidden Info

Monday, September 3, 2007

Know Your Status (Any Time, In Any Window)

The status bar (the thin little bar that shows how many items are in your window and how much drive space you still have available) was at the top of every Finder window back in Mac OS 9. In earlier versions of Mac OS X (including Jaguar), the status bar was off by default, so you had to turn it on, and then it appeared at the top of your Finder windows. In Tiger you’ll find the status bar info displayed at the bottom center of every Finder window by default (well, that’s true as long as your toolbar is visible). If that’s the case, why is there still a menu command called Show Status Bar? That’s because, if you hide the toolbar, it hides the status info at the bottom of the window, so you need the old status bar back. It’s still off by default, so to turn on the status bar, first open a window, hide the toolbar (see previous tip), then go under the View menu and choose Show Status Bar. (Note: If you don’t hide the toolbar first, Show Status Bar will appear “grayed out.”)

Screen capture

Switching Apps Within Exposé

Screen capture

Once you have Exposé invoked (you pressed either F9 or F10), you can toggle through your open applications and Finder windows by pressing the Tab key. Press the Tab key once and the next open application and its miniaturized windows come to the front. Press Tab again, it goes to the next open app. Want the previous app? Press Shift-Tab.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Adding Automation Through Folder Actions

At the office, I’m on a network and I have a Drop Box where my co-workers (freaks that they are) can send me files. However, for a long time, if a freak put something in my Drop Box, I wouldn’t know it unless they called or emailed me and told me so. But now anytime one of them drops something in my Drop Box, a message dialog appears that says, “Something freaky is in your Drop Box.” This is a simple AppleScript (think of an AppleScript as a built-in automation for your Mac, just like Photoshop actions add automation to Adobe Photoshop). Mac OS X includes some cool sample scripts (actions), or you can download about a bazillion from the Web for free.

To assign a script to a folder, Control-click on that folder and choose Configure Folder Actions from the contextual menu that appears. This brings up the Folder Actions Setup dialog, where you toggle various scripts assigned to folders on and off, or even edit scripts (if you know how to write AppleScripts). Click the plus sign (+) button at the bottom left of the dialog to add your folder to the list (this actually brings up a standard Open dialog showing your folder, so click on your folder in the dialog and click Open). Once you do this, a window will pop down with a list of built-in sample scripts you can assign to this folder, and their names give a cryptic description of what they do. Pick the one that sounds like what you want to do (to replicate my Drop Box warning, choose “add — new item alert .scpt”) and click the Attach button (you’ll see your newly assigned script appear in the column on the right of the dialog). Now click the Enable Folder Actions checkbox at the top-left corner of the dialog.This is a global on/off switch, so any folder to which you’ve attached scripts is now “activated.”

By the way, once you’ve applied actions to a folder, you can turn Folder Actions on or off globally by Control-clicking on any folder and choosing Enable Folder Actions or Disable Folder Actions from the contextual menu.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Super Shortcut to Having an App Load at Login

If you’d like a particular application to open every time you log into (or start up) your Mac, now all you have to do is Control-click (or click-and-hold) on the application’s Dock icon and choose Open at Login from the pop-up menu.

Screen shot

Now restart your Mac and the application will launch automatically. If you want to hide the application after it automatically launches (so it stays hidden from view until you click on it in the Dock), here’s how: Go under the Apple menu (or to the Dock) to System Preferences. In the System Preferences pane, click on the Accounts icon, then in the Accounts pane, click on the Login Items tab. Now click on the Hide checkbox next to the application’s name. Close the dialog and your application’s set.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Search Inside Your Photoshop Documents

This one’s a mind blower. If you’ve got a layered Photoshop document (saved in PSD format), Spotlight will even search your Type layers to help you find the layered file that has the word you’re looking for (as long as you’re using Type layers — not rasterized layers, in which case they’re not Type layers anymore, so why did I even say that?). For example, here I did a search for the word “Spain,” which resulted in Spotlight finding my layered PSD file.

Screen shot

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Saving Spotlight Searches

Spotlight also lives in your Finder windows (right where the old Search field was in previous versions of Mac OS X), but when you search here, you get a little bonus — savable searches.

Screen shot

So, for example, you search for all the email, images, and other junk sent to you by your friend Alan. When you do this in a Finder window, the Finder window updates to show the results right there in your window. Oh, but there’s more. Now you’ll find a Save button near the top-right side of your window. If you click it, it saves your results in a folder in your sidebar, where you can re-access those files at any time. How cool is that! But this is no ordinary folder, my friend. This is a Smart Folder, which means the next time Alan sends you something (or you mention Alan in a document, email, etc.), it will automatically be added to that Smart Folder. It’s live, baby!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Create Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are such huge timesavers, but sadly, not all Finder commands have them. But they can, because you can create your own. Here’s how: Go under the Apple menu, to System Preferences, and choose Keyboard & Mouse. When the dialog appears, click on the Keyboard Shortcuts tab, then click the plus (+) sign at the bottom left of the dialog. Another dialog will appear. Choose Finder from the Application pop-up menu, and then type the exact name of the menu command you want to add a shortcut for. Now type the shortcut you want to use and click the Add button. It’s that simple.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

See-Through Notes

One of my favorite Stickies features is the ability to make a sticky translucent. Just click on a sticky and press Command-Option-T (Translucent Window). Then you can see right through your sticky to the items behind it. This is really handy if you want to see items in Finder windows that would normally be covered by any open Stickies. To turn off the transparency (pardon me, translucency), just press the shortcut again when Stickies is active.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Stickies: Saving Your Text Colors

You’ve been able to colorize text in Stickies since at least Mac OS 10.1, but did you know that you could save your favorite colors and apply them with just one click? (Obviously, I’m hoping you didn’t or it really kills this tip.)

To do so, just highlight a word, then go under the Font menu and choose Show Colors. When the Colors dialog appears, choose the color you’d like. Then, click-and-hold in the horizontal color bar up top (where the color you’ve created is displayed), and start dragging slowly — a tiny square will appear under your cursor. Just drag-and-drop this square onto one of the white square boxes at the bottom of the Colors dialog.

This saves that color for future use, so when you want it, all you have to do is click once on that square (no more messing with the color wheel). This is a great place to save commonly used colors like red, solid black, white, etc.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Where Does That File Live?

If you found the file you were looking for, and want to know where it is on your hard disk, just move your cursor over the result in the Spotlight menu, and in just a second or two, a tiny dialog will pop up showing the path to that file.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Copy and Delete at the Same Time

If you’re archiving a file to disk (let’s say to an external FireWire drive for example), you can drag the icon of the file you want to archive directly to that drive and the Mac will write a copy to that drive. However, your original file still lives on your current hard drive. If you want to have that file deleted from your drive as soon as it’s copied to another drive, just hold the Command key as you drag your icon, and the Mac will do two tasks for you — copy the file to the new drive and delete the original from your drive.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Adding a Photo as Your Window’s Background

As long as your Finder window is in icon view, you can add a photo as its background. You do this by going under the View menu, under show View Options, and in the background section (at the bottom of the dialog) choose Picture. Click on the select button and the standard Open dialog will appear in which you can choose the image you’d like to appear as the background of your window. Click OK and that image will appear. Note: This works only when viewing the window in icon view. if you change to list view, the image will no longer be visible.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Folders to Add to Your Dock

Adding folders to the right side of your dock can be a real timesaver, and two of the most popular folders to add to the dock are your home folder and your Applications folder. Another thing you might consider, rather than putting your entire Applications folder on your dock, is to create a new folder and put in aliases of just the applications and system add-ons (such as the Calculator, etc.) that you really use. Then you can access these by Control-clicking on the folder in the dock and a pop-up menu will appear that looks a lot like the Apple menu from OS 9.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Font Book: Get the Inside Scoop on Your Font

Believe it or not, Font Book knows more than it’s letting on about your fonts. To find out the full inside info on a particular font, just press Command-I. This spills the beans about that font, including the name of the foundry that created it, when it was created, the font type (Postscript, Truetype, etc.), and more.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Emailing Web Pages

If you run across a web page you want to share with a friend, don’t send her a link to it — send her the page itself. Just press Command-I and a dialog will appear, asking for the email address of the person you want to send this web page to. Just enter her email address, along with your text message, and click send, and it will send the contents of that page (complete with graphics, formatting, links, etc.) to your friend. She’ll be able to see that page right within her email application.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Can’t Remember the Password?

If you can’t remember a password for a website (or anything else for that matter), all your passwords are saved in the Keychain Access utility (which probably isn’t news to you), but the cool thing is you can do a Spotlight search from right within Keychain to quickly find the password you’re looking for.

Start by looking inside your Applications folder for the Utilities folder, and inside of that double-click on Keychain Access. When it opens you’ll see a search field in the upper-right corner. Type the name of the site you’re looking for, and it will appear. Double-click on the result and an info dialog will appear, and to see your password, turn on the show Password checkbox.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Burning Multiple Times to the Same CD

Generally, when you burn files to a CD once, you’re done — you can’t burn to that CD again. Unless you use this little trick: First create a new folder and give it a descriptive name (something like “burn baby burn!” Kidding). Now put the files you want to burn into that folder, then go to the Applications folder and open the Utilities folder. Double-click on Disk Utility. When it comes up, go under the File menu, under New, and choose Disk Image from Folder, and then when the Open dialog appears, find that folder with the stuff you want to burn and click the image button. A Save dialog appears in which you can leave the name as is or choose a new name (leave the other controls alone), and then click Save. In a few moments, a disk image of your folder’s contents will appear in the list on the left side of the Disk Utility dialog. Click on that icon, and then click the burn button at the top left of the Disk Utility dialog.

When you click the Burn button, a dialog will appear asking to insert a disc. Do so, and then click once the blue downward-facing triangle on the right side of this dialog to show more options. Click on the checkbox for Leave disc appendable, then click the Burn button. Your data will now be written to that CD. To add more files later, just insert that same CD and then you’ll use this same process all over again, but when you get to that final burn dialog, the button won’t say “Burn” this time, instead it will say “Append” because you’re adding these files to the same disc. By the way, don’t forget to remove the files you already burned to this disc from your “burn baby burn!” folder (and the DMG file it creates) before you make your next disc image.

Burning Multiple Times to the Same CD

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Burn Folder Isn’t Burning Aliases

When you create a burn folder in Tiger (which you do by either choosing New Burn Folder from the File menu or from the Action menu [that’s the button with a gear icon on it in Finder windows]), if you look inside that folder, you won’t see your original files. Instead, you’ll see aliases to the originals (you can tell they’re aliases because they have a little curved arrow on them). But don’t let that throw you — when you do finally click the burn button (in the upper right-hand corner of the burn Folder’s window), it actually gets the original files and burns those to disk, so you don’t have to worry about having a CD full of aliases pointing to files you no longer have.

So why all the aliases in the first place? Because it points to your files (rather than copying them into the folder), which makes burning discs much faster than in previous versions of Mac OS X.

The Burn Folder isn’t Burning Aliases

Friday, August 17, 2007

Look Inside Multiple Folders Automatically

Need to see what’s inside more than one folder while in List view? Do it the fast way—Command-click on all the folders you want to expand, then press Command-Right Arrow. All the folders will expand at once.

If the file you’re looking for isn’t there, just press Command-Left Arrow (you can do that, because your folders are still highlighted) to quickly collapse them all again.

Look Inside Multiple Folders Screen Shot