Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Seeing a Photo’s EXIF Metadata

When you take a photo with a digital camera, a boatload of background information is embedded into the file (called EXIF metadata), including when the photo was taken, the make and model of the digital camera, the exposure, shutter speed, lens focal length, whether the flash fired, and a host of other related info. Believe it or not, Preview can display all this EXIF metadata — you just have to know where to look. To see the EXIF data for the current image, just press Command-I, then click on the Details tab, and if you scroll down a bit, you’ll see a header for EXIF Properties, along with the full scoop on your image.

Screen shot

Friday, November 26, 2010

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

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Focusing Your Searches

By default, Spotlight pretty much searches everything on your Mac, from songs to email, to contacts and system preferences. It’s annoyingly thorough (if it were human, it would make a great book editor). Anyway, if there are certain areas you don’t need it to search (for example, if you don’t want it rummaging through your songs), you can tell it what to search through and what to ignore. You do this by first going to Spotlight’s Preferences. Just click on the Spotlight icon in the menu bar, type a search word, and from the bottom of the list of found items choose Spotlight Preferences. When the dialog appears, turn off the checkboxes for the areas you don’t want searched.

Screen shot

Friday, November 19, 2010

Faster Than Slide Show for Finding a Photo

By now you’ve heard that if your search results contain photos, you can see a slide show of those photos (by pressing Enter or clicking on Show All in the Spotlight menu once you’ve entered a search term, and then in the Spotlight dialog that appears, you can click on the little Play button to the right of the Images category).
Screen shot
The slide show thing is handy, no doubt, but you can also use it to get to a particular photo you want quickly. Here’s how: Start the slide show (click the little Play button), and then immediately click the Index Sheet icon in the slide show controls that appear along the bottom of your screen. This tiles thumbnails of all the photos in your slide show onscreen (giving you an Index Sheet view), so you can jump right to the photo you need, saving you the frustration of slowly wading through a slide show when you just want to quickly find one particular photo.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Narrowing Your Search by Giving Spotlight a Hint

If you want to narrow your search right off the bat, you can add a category when you type the term in the Search field.
Screen shot
For example, if you’re looking for a song named “Vertigo” (by the band U2), there’s no sense in having Spotlight bring you a list of email messages from your ear doctor, right? So if you give Spotlight a hint as to what you’re looking for, you can get just songs as your Spotlight search results. Here’s how: Type “kind:music” (with no space in between or quotations), then add one space and type “Vertigo” (again, you don’t need the quotes). So your search will look like this: kind:music Vertigo. Now it will only search songs, and you’ll only get song results. Schweet!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Drag-and-Drop Desktop Printing

Want the ability to print a document right from your desktop (without opening the application first)? Go under the Apple menu, under System Preferences, and choose Print & Fax. When the preference pane appears, click on the Printer Setup button, and when the Printer Info dialog appears, press Command-L to show the Printer List dialog.
Screen shot
Your printer will appear in this dialog. Click on it, then go up under the Printers menu (in the menu bar) and choose Create Desktop Printer. A standard Open/Save dialog will appear asking you where you want to save it (I save mine on the desktop). Click Save and an icon for your printer will appear on the desktop. To print a document, just drag-and-drop it on this icon. Some documents, such as TextEdit files and PDFs, will go straight to the printer. Other files will launch their default application and open the Print dialog.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Adding Automation Through Folder Actions

At the office, I’m on a network and I have a Drop Box where my co-workers (freaks that they are) can send me files. However, for a long time, if a freak put something in my Drop Box, I wouldn’t know it unless they called or emailed me and told me so. But now anytime one of them drops something in my Drop Box, a message dialog appears that says, “Something freaky is in your Drop Box.” This is a simple AppleScript (think of an AppleScript as a built-in automation for your Mac, just like Photoshop actions add automation to Adobe Photoshop). Mac OS X includes some cool sample scripts (actions), or you can download about a bazillion from the Web for free.
To assign a script to a folder, Control-click on that folder and choose Configure Folder Actions from the contextual menu that appears. This brings up the Folder Actions Setup dialog, where you toggle various scripts assigned to folders on and off, or even edit scripts (if you know how to write AppleScripts). Click the plus sign (+) button at the bottom left of the dialog to add your folder to the list (this actually brings up a standard Open dialog showing your folder, so click on your folder in the dialog and click Open). Once you do this, a window will pop down with a list of built-in sample scripts you can assign to this folder, and their names give a cryptic description of what they do. Pick the one that sounds like what you want to do (to replicate my Drop Box warning, choose “add — new item alert .scpt”) and click the Attach button (you’ll see your newly assigned script appear in the column on the right of the dialog). Now click the Enable Folder Actions checkbox at the top-left corner of the dialog.This is a global on/off switch, so any folder to which you’ve attached scripts is now “activated.”
By the way, once you’ve applied actions to a folder, you can turn Folder Actions on or off globally by Control-clicking on any folder and choosing Enable Folder Actions or Disable Folder Actions from the contextual menu.