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

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Forcing a Document on an App

Sometimes docked apps don’t want to open your document, even though they may be able to, so you have to coax (okay, force) them to give it a try. For example, let’s say you created a document in WordPerfect for Mac a few years back. if you drag that document to Microsoft Word’s icon in the Dock, chances are it won’t highlight (which would be the indication it can open that document). If that happens, just hold Command-Option, then drag the document’s icon to the Word icon in the Dock, and you can force it to try to open that document.

Forcing A Document on an App

Finding the Combined Size of More than One Document

Let’s say you have several files on your desktop, and before you copy them all onto your jump drive, you want to find out their combined size. Here’s how it’s done: Select all the files for which you want the combined size, then press Command-Option-I, which brings up the Multiple Item Info dialog, complete with a list of how many files are selected and their combined size.

Finding the Combined Size of More than One Document

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

PDF: The Smaller PDF Secret Control

This is another one of those “secret, buried-in-a-vault” killer tips that addresses something Mac OS X users have complained about: The file sizes of PDFs that Mac OS X creates are sometimes too big (vs. Adobe’s Acrobat PDFs). believe it or not, there’s a way to get smaller PDFs. Here’s how: launch TextEdit, then choose Print from the File menu. From the PDF pop-up menu in the bottom-left corner of the dialog, choose Compress PDF. That’s it. It’ll compress the PDF and call it a day.

However, if you’re charging by the hour, and let’s pretend you are, you have a wonderful time-consuming option: Choose Print from the File menu, and from the second Presets pop-up menu choose ColorSync. From the Quartz Filter menu that appears, choose Add Filters. Click on the three-oval icon in the top-left corner of the dialog that appears, click on the filter named Reduce File Size, and then click-and-hold on the arrow button to the right of the filter and choose Duplicate Filter. This creates an unlocked filter you can edit.

Now click on the triangle to the left of the duplicate filter to show its options; this is where you choose what you want. I recommend clicking on the arrow to the left of Image Compression and dragging the magic slider that lets you control the amount of JPEG compression your PDF images receive. For smaller file sizes, drag the Quality Slider toward Minimum. Now go back to TextEdit and in the Print dialog, choose Colorsync from the second Presets pop-up menu, choose your new filter from the Quartz Filter pop-up menu and click Print. That’s it. (Whew!)

PDF: The Smaller PDF Secret Control

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Giving Your Photos Keywords

If you’re using Preview to sort your digital camera images, here’s another helpful feature — the ability to add keywords to your photos. These keywords will even show up in Spotlight, so if you want to search your hard disk for images using keywords, you can.

Here’s how it works: When you have an image onscreen that you want to rate, just go under Preview’s Tools menu and choose Get info. Click on the Keywords tab, then click the Add button to add a field. Enter your keyword in the highlighted field, click in the white space to finalize your keyword, and you’re done.

Giving Your Photos Keywords

Monday, August 13, 2007

iChat AV: Fixing Bad Audio Chats

This is an old trick, but I forgot to include it in the previous edition of the this book... so... here it is:

If you’re having an audio chat, and the audio becomes garbled or is dropping out a lot, you can have iChat try to improve the connection using this simple trick. Just click the Mute button for just a second, then unmute it by clicking it again. This causes iChat to reassess the connection and that will usually do the trick.

iChat AV: Fixing Bad Audio Chats

Friday, August 10, 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

L.E.E. Design

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


"What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

L.E.E. Design
~ Graphic Design ~

You’re Two Clicks from a Photo’s EXIF Data

When you take a photo with a digital camera, the camera embeds info directly into the file, including the make and model of camera, the exposure, shutter speed, and a host of other info (called eXiF data). That info is usually viewed within an application like Photoshop or iPhoto, but now you can view it right from the Finder.

Just click on the photo’s icon, then press Command-i to bring up the info dialog. When it appears, click on the right-facing triangle beside the words “More info” and the basic eXiF data will appear.

You’re Two Clicks from a Photo’s EXIF Data

L.E.E. Design

Monday, August 6, 2007

Searching Just Your Bookmarks

If you’re trying to search for a particular bookmark, you’ll want to know this trick: First, click on the Show All Bookmarks icon in the top-left corner of the Bookmarks Bar. Doing this makes the Collections column visible on the left side of Safari, but more importantly, it adds a Search field at the bottom center of the Safari window. When you type search terms in this field, it searches just within your bookmarks, so you get super-fast results.

Searching Just Your Bookmarks

L.E.E. Design

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Get to Your Top Hit Fast

If you do a search and notice that the file it chose as your Top Hit in the Spotlight menu is actually the file you were looking for (hey, it could happen), just press-and-hold the Command key to jump right to the Top Hit, then press Return to open that document (or song, email, etc.), which closes the Spotlight menu. See, it even tidies up after you. So basically, just press Command-Return to instantly open the Top Hit. Easy enough.

Get to Your Top Hit Fast

L.E.E. Design

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Become the Ultimate Menu Master

Want to really speed things up? How about jumping right to the Apple menu without even clicking the mouse? Just press Control-F2, press Return, and the Apple menu pops down (if you’re using a MacBook, press Function-Control-F2). Oh, but there’s more! Now that you’re in the Apple menu, press the Right Arrow key on your keyboard to move to the other menus (Finder, File, Edit, View, etc.) and the Left Arrow to move back.

Once you get to the menu you want, press Return, then type the first letter of the command you want in the menu and it jumps right there. Now press Return again to choose that command (and you did it all without ever touching the mouse).

Become the Ultimate Menu Master

L.E.E. Design

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


"Happiness makes up in height what it lacks in length."

- Robert Frost

L.E.E. Design
~ Graphic Design ~