Monday, August 30, 2010

iCal: Your Powerful Personal Assistant

When you add an event to your iCal calendar, you can do much more than simply name it and specify a date and time. Like a good personal assistant, it can remind you of upcoming events, help round up others for meetings, and even ensure that you have essential files in front of you at just the right moment.
To access iCal’s hidden superpowers, just double-click on the event’s name (or select it and type Command-i), then click the Edit button.
To invite other participants to an iCal event, just type their email addresses into the Attendees field. If you prefer, you can open iCal’s Addresses panel by typing Command-Option-a, and drag names from your contacts list. When you’ve added the desired contacts and event details, click Send, and Apple Mail will email the event request. If the event changes, you can send an update with the revised information.
Ical Assistant
There are many options here. For example, you can assign customized, color-coded categories to help keep track of work projects, personal appointments, and other commitments. You can set up recurring events via the repeat menu, which allows for custom recurrences (say, the last Tuesday of May every ten years) in addition to daily, weekly, monthly, and annual events. To create an event that continues over one or more days, click the “all-day” checkbox.
You can ask iCal to remind you of your upcoming events through a powerful alarm function, which issues one or more event reminders via pop-up messages or email. When pop-up reminders appear, you can “snooze” them for as little as one minute or as much as a week. You can even schedule the iCal alarm to automatically run a script or open a file on your computer at a specified time.
You can also attach documents, graphics, or other files to an event — pictures, maps, spreadsheets, or whatever — and include any relevant URLs. Finally, you can insert additional text into the Note field: anything from a phone number to an entire meeting agenda. (Though this field initially displays as a narrow strip, you can type or paste in as much text as you like.)
When you’re finished, click Done. All the data you added will appear next time you double-click on the event.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tame Your Tabs With Key Commands

If you sometimes find your desktop cluttered with multiple browser windows, try using tabs in Safari.
Tabs let you open multiple web pages in a single Safari window, so you can easily flip between them. They’re one of the best ways to amp up your web-browsing experience — especially once you’ve tamed them via a few simple key commands. This tip covers the basic moves.
First, make sure Safari is configured for tabbed browsing. From the Safari menu, select Preferences and click on the Tabs icon. Select the “Opens a link in a new tab” option, but leave the others unchecked for now. But take a moment to read the fine print, since it covers some of the tricks we’re about to tackle.
Now open a web page in Safari and try it out. Click on a link while pressing the Command key, and the link opens in a new tab nestled behind the current page. Holding down Command-Shift creates a new tab and brings the new page to the front. You can also open an empty tab by typing Command-t, then type in a URL or load a bookmarked web page. To close a tab, select it and type Command-w, or click on the small x on the left side of the tab.
You can reorder tabs within the Tab Bar simply by dragging them to the left or right. And you can switch from one tabbed page to another via key commands: Type Command-shift- ] (or Command-Shift-Right Arrow Key) to move forward to the next tab to the right, and Command-shift- [ (or Command-Shift-Left Arrow Key) to go to the next tab to the left.
For more cool tab tricks, try Control-clicking on any tab. Or simply right-click Mighty Mouse, and use the contextual menu that appears to create new tabs, close them, move them to new windows, reload them, or bookmark them.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Annotating PDFs in Preview

Annotating PDFs in Preview

You may already know that Preview is a terrific application for viewing PDF files. But did you realize it’s also great for annotating PDFs? It’s a fast and efficient way to share comments when collaborating on group projects.
Under Preview’s Tools menu, you’ll find the options Mark Up and Annotate. Mark Up lets you highlight, strike through, or underline selected text within a PDF. Annotate allows you to draw circles and rectangles around parts of a PDF, append Stickies-style notes, and add hyperlinks.
PDF Annotation
To use Mark Up, choose the Text tool from Preview’s Toolbar. Select your target text with the cursor, and then choose a Mark Up option from the Tools menu (the choices are Highlight Text, Strike Through Text, and Underline Text).
To add shapes, links or comments, select a command from the Tools menu’s Annotate list (the options are Add Oval, Add Rectangle, Add Note, and Add Link).
If you’ve selected Add Note, simply click anywhere on the PDF. A colored tag appears in the left margin alongside the spot where you clicked. Its default text consists of your user name and the date, though you can alter or add to this by double-clicking on the note. To move notes, double-click their icons (those little cartoon-style balloons) and then drag them. When you double-click a note icon, you can also specify the note’s color and other attributes. To remove a note, double-click its icon and press Delete.
All Mark Up and Annotate tools can be summoned via key command. Also, if you use these tools frequently, you may want to add them to Preview’s Toolbar. (By default, they are not shown.) To add them, select the View menu’s Customize Toolbar command, then drag the tools you want from the pop-up onto the Toolbar.