Monday, July 26, 2010

Make the Most of Quick Look

One of the biggest time-savers in Mac OS X Leopard is the Quick Look, which gives you an instant preview of any file. It’s great for finding the right document, image, or mp3 when you’re not sure which is which, or choosing the correct version from a series of files with similar names.
To use Quick Look, simply select an item in the Finder and press the Space bar, or type Command-Y. An image of the selected item appears. (In the case of mp3s, the sound file also plays.) You don’t even need to open the document’s usual application. If it’s a photo, for example, you can see it without waiting for iPhoto or Preview to open.
To close the Quick Look preview, simply press the Space bar again, or click the x in the preview window’s upper-left corner. Alternately, you can type Command-Y or Command-W to close the image.
A few more tips to help you get the most from this amazing feature:
  • If you want to preview additional items, don’t close the preview window. Just highlight a new file in the Finder, and the open preview window displays the newly selected object.
  • Quick Look lets you view multiple-page documents. For longer files, a navigation scroll bar appears along the preview window’s right margin. It even works with PDFs and Keynote presentations.
  • You can preview multiple items simultaneously. Just select several items in the Finder by lassoing them with your cursor. Or open one item in Quick Look, then use the up- and down-arrow keys to display other files in the same folder.
  • You can combine searches and Quick Look. Simply type keywords into a Finder window’s Search Box to reveal files whose names or contents match the search terms. Select some or all of the results, open Quick Look via space bar or Command-Y, and use your up- and down-arrow keys to switch between the selected previews.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Create Custom Email Stationery

Leopard’s enhanced Mail program has a cool new feature: a set of professionally designed stationery templates you can use to spiff up your email.
But you can also create your own custom stationery templates. Here’s how.
Create a new email message. Add the elements you’d like to appear each time you load the template, like a signature line. You can also add dummy text to delete later, if you wish.
Under the Format menu, choose Show Fonts and Show Colors and use the Font and Color palettes to specify fonts, text size, colors, and type effects to suit your taste. (Note that the colors you choose for backgrounds might not show up until you’ve saved your stationery and opened a new message.)
Use the Format menu to set text alignment and styles. You can even add graphic elements, such as photos or logos. When you’re satisfied with your work, choose Save as Stationery from Mail’s File menu. The program will prompt you to name your creation.
When you want to load your template, create a new message and click the Show Stationery button. You’ll see the Apple templates, organized in folders. (You may need to scroll down to see all the folders.) At the bottom of the list is a new folder, Custom, where your template resides. Any additional templates you create will be stored in the Custom folder as well.
Select the Custom folder, double-click on the icon for your stationery, and the template appears, ready for you to add new text. When you’re done writing your new message, send like any other email.
Remember, though: The design professionals who created the Apple templates are professionals for a reason.
Mail Templates

Friday, July 23, 2010

Get Instant Maps

In Leopard, your Address Book doesn’t just tell you where to go—it shows you!
To get an instant map to any address, just control-click on the address field of a contact card (or right-click if you have a two-button mouse). Then select Map Of.
Screen Shot
This command opens Safari (if it’s not already open) and reveals the address in Google Maps.
Screen Shot
This trick isn’t just confined to Address Book: Leopard can detect street addresses within Mail as well. When your cursor hovers over a street address in an email, a dotted rectangle surrounds it and a small gray triangle appears. Click on the triangle and select Show Map... to see the address in Google Maps.
Screen Shot

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Instant To-Do Lists

Thanks to Leopard, Mail boasts amazing new superpowers. One of the best: the ability to create and manage to-do lists as easily as writing an email.
In fact, you can create a to-do item directly from an email. Simply Control-click (or right-click if you have a two-button mouse) anywhere in the background of the email, and then click the New To Do button that appears.

A yellow field appears at the top of the email. Here you can enter a name for the to-do item, or click the red arrow to set a due date, assign a priority level, or enter the note on a particular calendar.

The item now appears in the to-do list in Mail’s Sidebar. (If you can’t see it, click the triangle next to the word REMINDERS to reveal it.)
Another slick trick: If you select any text from the email before you Control-click to reveal the New To Do button, the selected text becomes the name of the new item. Here we highlighted the book title in the email, then Control-clicked to create a new to-do item.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Creating Web Clip Widgets

Leopard makes it easy to create a Dashboard widget from a segment of a web page. For example, you can capture a “new releases” list from a media website, or the “latest posts” field from an Internet discussion group. These Web Clips appear, automatically updated, whenever you open Dashboard.
Here’s an example, using, a cool music software website. We navigated to their home page in Safari and clicked the Web Clip button (next to the address field).
The entire page darkens save for a bright rectangle. Drag the rectangle from its center and edges until it covers the segment you want to capture. Then click Add and Safari sends your Web Clip to Dashboard.
(If Safari doesn’t display the Web Clip button, choose Customize Toolbar in Safari’s View menu and add the button to Safari’s toolbar.)
Now the Web Clip appears as a new widget in Dashboard. You can still edit it: Move your cursor over the widget’s lower-right corner until a small letter i appears. Click it to resize or reposition the content, or customize its border using built-in styles.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Instant Email Slideshow

Have you come to dread a certain type of email? You know—the “what we did on our vacation” letter comprising a brief message and a jumble of attached photos?
Here’s how to make quick sense of such missives in Apple Mail, using one of Leopard’s new Quick Look functions.
First, click the Quick Look button in the email’s header.
All attached images now appear in a convenient and attractive slideshow. The icons along the lower edge of the slideshow screen let you play the slideshow, step through the images one at a time, view them simultaneously in a photo grid, expand them to fill your screen, and add your favorites to your iPhoto library. You can also scroll through the images using your left- and right-arrow keys.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Create an iCal Event from Apple Mail

Leopard is smart—smart enough to recognize dates within the text of an email in Apple Mail.
When your cursor hovers over a date in the body of an email, a dotted rectangle surrounds the date, and a small arrow appears. Hold on the arrow, and up pop two iCal options: Create New iCal Event and Show This Date in iCal.
Choosing Create New iCal Event generates a dialog box. Its default name is the subject line of the original email, though you can change it here. You can also specify the location and duration of the event and add additional notes. When you’re finished, choose Add to iCal. Leopard adds the date to your calendar—without even opening iCal.
Not sure if you’re available? Choose Show This Date in iCal. This opens iCal at the date in question, but doesn’t add the event to your schedule.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Go with the Flow

Leopard gives you the option of viewing your files in an iPod-style “Cover Flow” view—so now you can flip through your files like a stack of CDs. This view is especially useful for searching through photos and other graphics files.
You may already know how to switch Finder windows between Icon, List, and Column views by using the keyboard shortcuts Command-1, Command-2, and Command-3, respectively. (If not, try it! It’s guaranteed to accelerate your Desktop chops.)
To switch a Finder window to Cover Flow view, just type Command-4. You can also change views by clicking the Icon, List, Column, and Cover Flow icons at the top of each Finder window, but key commands are generally faster.
Cover Flow
Once you’re in Cover Flow view, here’s how to navigate:
  • Click any image to select it and bring it to the foreground. Double-click to open it.
  • Scroll through the images using your trackpad or your mouse’s scroll wheel, or by dragging the onscreen navigation bar beneath the images.
  • You can flick through the files one at a time using your Down- or Rght-Arrow key to move left to right. Use the Up- or Left-Arrow key to move in the opposite direction.
  • If your folder contains many items, you may it find it useful to scroll through the contents without changing your selection. To do so, move your cursor to the list view beneath the cover images, and scroll up and down with your trackpad or scroll-wheel mouse.
  • Clicking a Sidebar item in a Finder window jumps you to that location without exiting Cover Flow view. If you browse through certain folders on a regular basis, you may want to create Sidebar icons for them. To do so, just locate the folder in a Finder window and drag it into the Sidebar. To remove a Sidebar item, simply drag it out of the Sidebar.