Saturday, May 29, 2010

Saving Documents and Web Pages as PDFs

Adobe’s PDF format offers a great way to save and send electronic documents, from formatted business letters to product brochures. PDF documents appear identically on all computers, so you don’t have to worry about things like whether the recipient has access to the same fonts as you or if your company logo and other graphics will display properly.
PDFs are also an excellent way to quickly save “snapshots” of web pages for future reference. Since some web pages change frequently, PDFs are a useful way to capture or archive content that might be hard to find again later.
To save a document or web page as a PDF, open it and press Command-P, just as though you’re going to print the page. But instead of clicking Print or pressing the Return key, click the PDF button in the lower left corner of the Print dialog. Choose Save as PDF at the top of the menu, navigate to the location you’d like to save to, and click Save.
The PDF button also contains other useful options. Mail PDF opens a new message in Apple’s Mail program, with the PDF already attached. Encrypt PDF lets you protect your file with a password. And Compress PDF creates a more compressed version of the file — great for emailing large, multi-page PDFs.
Save As PDF

Friday, May 28, 2010

Mouse-Free Folder Moves

One of the best tricks for speeding up your computer work is to keep your hands on the keyboard, not the mouse.
It’s not a macho, anti-mouse thing, but a simple matter of efficient motion. Using the mouse or trackpad means moving your hands off the keyboard, locating the cursor, making your move, and then shifting your hands back to the keys. If you can skip these steps, things tend to go faster.
There’s no better example than navigating folders within Finder windows. You can select, open, and browse folders from the keyboard for greater speed and less multi-window clutter.
Test it out yourself: In Finder, open a new window by pressing Command-N. To view the folders in List view, press Command-2. (Command-1 lets you view by Icons, while Command-3 changes the view to Columns.)
In List or Columns view, choose a folder that contains several subfolders, and open it by pressing the right arrow key. You can move up and down between folders or documents by pressing the up and down arrow keys. Close folders (or navigate backwards, if you’re in Columns view) with the left arrow key.
When you’ve located the file you want, speed your work even more by opening it with Command-O instead of double-clicking. In most Mac applications, you can close the file again by typing Command-W.
Once you’re accustomed to navigating through folders and files with key commands, you may be surprised by how fast you can move around, mouse-free, on your Mac.
Mouse Free Moves
Try opening and closing folders with the left and right arrow keys instead of double-clicking.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Using Mac OS X Zoom for Demos

If you’re a trainer or you need to demo a technique in front of a group of people, there is nothing worse than losing your audience because they can’t see your cursor or the detail you’re pointing at. Fortunately, Mac OS X has a built-in solution for this problem: screen zoom.
To enable screen zooming, open System Preferences, click on Universal Access, and click On in the Zoom area. You are immediately ready to zoom: Press Command-Option-= to zoom in and Command-Option-hyphen to zoom out. If you click the Options button in Universal Access, you can fine-tune how Mac OS X displays the zooming effect – for example, you can set how far the screen should zoom in.
Zooming in and out is a great way to draw your audience’s attention to just what you want them to see.

Zoom Demos
While Zoom was originally designed for visually impaired users, it is also very useful for people who need to demonstrate Mac OS X applications.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

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

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Opening Moves

In most cases, double-clicking a file on your Mac automatically opens it in the appropriate application. But sometimes you may want to overrule your Mac and open a file in something other than the default.
For example, say you’ve edited a series of images in Photoshop, and now you want to take a quick look at them. You might prefer to view them in Preview, a Mac OS X program that opens in an instant, rather than the larger, slower-to-load Photoshop application.
To quickly specify your app, Control-click the item you want to open, then choose Open With from the pop-up menu that appears. This takes you to a list of every application your Mac considers capable of reading the file. Choose the name of the application you want, and the file opens in that program.
If you think you’ll be opening the file repeatedly in that program, you may want to specify an ongoing Open With preference. To do so, select the file and press Command-I to see the file’s Info window. Click the Open With tab and choose your program. Now the file will always open with your preferred application. And if you click the Change All… button, every file of the same type will open with this application.
Open With Screenshot Control-click any file to specify the application in which it opens

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hide in Plain Sight

Whether you have a sudden desire for privacy, want to conceal confidential information, or just like to feel organized, sometimes you need to clear your Mac’s desktop in a hurry. Here are some handy methods.
Clicking the minimize button in the center top left corner of an open window or document makes it vanish from the desktop and hide in the Dock. You can do the same thing by typing Command-M. Either way, click the window’s icon in the Dock to return it to full view.
Need to conceal an entire application? You can hide most Mac apps in their entirety, no matter how many individual windows or documents are open, by typing Command-H. The windows don’t move to the Dock, but they reappear when you click on the application’s icon in the Dock. All Apple apps behave this way, though some third-party programs use different commands. (Adobe Photoshop, for example, uses Command-Control-H.) You can find an application’s Hide command in the application menu.
Want to quickly make iTunes, iChat, Safari, and your mahjong game disappear while leaving that budget spreadsheet open? Hide every open program except the one that’s currently selected (in this case, make sure it’s the spreadsheet app) by typing Command-Option-H.
To hide everything instantly, use the Desktop command that’s built into Exposé in Mac OS X. The default assignment is the F11 key, but you can reassign it by choosing System Preferences from the Apple menu and clicking the Dashboard & Exposé tab. Press the same key again to make everything reappear.
Hide in Plain Sight
Some programs, such as Adobe’s Photoshop, have unique hide commands.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

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, May 21, 2010

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.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

How to Make the Sidebar Work Like the Dock

You can customize the sidebar of the Finder window by adding other icons that make it even more powerful. For example, if you use Photoshop a lot, just open the window where your Photoshop application resides, drag the Photoshop icon right over to the sidebar, and the other icons in the sidebar will slide out of the way.
Now you can use this window kind of like you would the dock — to launch Photoshop, just click on its icon in the sidebar, plus like the dock, you can even drag-and-drop images you want to open right onto the sidebar’s Photoshop icon.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

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.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

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.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Changing the Order of the Results

Let’s say you realize that most of the time you find yourself searching for music, movies, and photos (you’re a creative type). Well, by default those result categories appear farther down the list (with stuff like documents and email and contacts appearing near the top of the list). And because of that, you’ve been spending a lot of time scrolling. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Go to the Spotlight Preferences (found at the bottom of the Spotlight menu), and when it appears, all the categories are listed in the order they will appear. To change their order, just click-and-drag them into the order you want (in this case, you’d drag Music, Movies, and Images to the top).