Friday, April 16, 2010

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).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

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

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.

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.

Super-Fast Way to Email a URL

If you run across a cool website and want to email that site to a friend, probably the fastest way is to press Command-Shift-I. This opens Mail, and inserts the Web URL into the body of your email. Now all you have to do is type the recipient’s name, enter “Check this site out” in the Subject line, and click Send.

Then all you have to worry about is their spam blocker stopping your email from getting through with such a generic subject in the title. (Note: If you want a super-slow way, highlight the website’s name, go under the Safari menu, under Services, under Mail, and choose Send Selection — it basically does the same thing.)

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.

Converting to TIFF, JPG, or Photoshop

Want to change most any graphic into a Photoshop file? Just open the file in Preview, go under the File menu, and choose Save As…, where you can export your graphic in Photoshop format. But you’re not limited to Photoshop format — Preview will also export your file as a JPEG, PICT, BMP (for sharing files with PC users), PICT, Targa (for video), and more. If the format you’re saving in has options (such as quality and compression settings for JPEG and TIFF images), they will appear near the bottom of the dialog.

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.

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.

Where Did That Download Come From?

If you download a file from the web, you can usually find out exactly where that downloaded file came from (including the exact web address) by pressing Command-I when you have the file selected. Once the info dialog appears, click on the right-facing arrow beside More Info to expand that panel and it will display a Where from header, and to the right of that it will show the exact web address from which the file was originally downloaded.

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.

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

The One-Click Trick to Moving the Dock

Okay, so you’re working in a program like Final Cut Pro or iMovie, which takes up every vertical inch of the screen, and when you go to adjust something near the bottom, the Dock keeps popping up. Oh sure, you could move the Dock to where it’s anchored on the left or right side of the screen, but that just feels weird. But what if you could move it temporarily to the left or right, and then get it back to the bottom when you close Final Cut Pro, in just one click?

Here’s how: Hold the shift key, click directly on the Dock’s divider line (on the far right side of the Dock), and drag the Dock to the left or right side of your screen. Bam! It moves over to the side. Then, once you quit Final Cut Pro, just shift-click on that divider line and slam it back to the bottom (okay, drag it back to the bottom). A draggable Dock — is that cool or what!

The One-Click Trick to Moving the Dock

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

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

Need the First Available Printer?

If you’ve got a print job on your hands and you need it as soon as possible, but all the printers on your network are often busy, you can pool these printers together so your document will automatically print to the first available printer. Just go to the Printer Setup Utility (in the Applications folder, within the Utilities folder), Command-click on all the printers you want to pool together, then go under the Printers menu and choose Pool Printers. A dialog will open where you can name your pool (the default name is “Printer Pool”), and it shows a list of printers that are in that pool.

You can click-and-drag the printers into the order that you want and then click Create, which adds a new printer in your Printer list called Printer Pool. Choose that as your printer, and then when you choose Print, Mac OS X will start looking for the first available printer.

Screen Shot

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

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

Resizing Photos for Emailing

Have you ever noticed how freaked out relatives get when you email them high-res photos from your six- or eight-meg digital camera? For example, your grandmother in Minnesota may not have Photoshop CS2, and so dealing with that 26MB, 41-inch-wide photo you shot with your eight-meg camera might put a strain on her system. That’s why you might want to reduce the size of those photos you’re about to email. You don’t even have to launch Photoshop — because you can do the resizing right within Mail.

After you attach a photo to your email message (you can just drag-and-drop the image into the New Message window), take a look in the bottom-right corner of your email message window, and you’ll see a pop-up menu where you can choose the Image Size you’d like to send. As soon as you choose a size (other than Actual Size), the image is immediately scaled down right within the email message window so you can see the exact size of the photo you’re sending.

Resizing Photos for Emailing Screen Shot

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”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preview: Hidden Sorting Options

When you open multiple images in Preview, they appear in the Drawer. You can sort them manually by dragging them up and down the list, but there’s another way—if you Control-click on one of the images in the Drawer, a contextual menu will appear, and you can then sort by name, size, keyword, and more.

Preview: Hidden Sorting Options

Preview: Hidden Sorting Options

When you open multiple images in Preview, they appear in the Drawer. You can sort them manually by dragging them up and down the list, but there’s another way—if you Control-click on one of the images in the Drawer, a contextual menu will appear, and you can then sort by name, size, keyword, and more.

Preview: Hidden Sorting Options