Friday, December 31, 2010

Checking for Bad Fonts

If there’s one thing that can bring a document (or your system) to its knees, it’s using a corrupt font (meaning a font that accepts bribes — sorry, that was lame). Anyway, finding out which fonts on your system might be corrupt was no easy task, but in Tiger, it just got a whole lot easier. Here’s how to search for rampant font corruption: Go to your Applications folder and launch Font Book. You can either click directly on any font that you might think is suspect (look to see if the font is sweating), or Command-click on the fonts you want interrogated, then go under Font Book’s File menu and choose Validate Fonts. This brings up a Font Validation window and if your fonts are on the up and up, you’ll get a little round checkbox beside them. If there’s reason to believe something may be wrong, you’ll get a yellow warning icon beside a font. If it’s corrupt, you’ll get a round icon with an X in it, telling you not to use this font. Click the checkbox beside that font, then click the Remove Checked button to remove this font from your system.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Stickies: Saving Your Text Colors

You’ve been able to colorize text in Stickies since at least Mac OS 10.1, but did you know that you could save your favorite colors and apply them with just one click? (Obviously, I’m hoping you didn’t or it really kills this tip.)
To do so, just highlight a word, then go under the Font menu and choose Show Colors. When the Colors dialog appears, choose the color you’d like. Then, click-and-hold in the horizontal color bar up top (where the color you’ve created is displayed), and start dragging slowly — a tiny square will appear under your cursor. Just drag-and-drop this square onto one of the white square boxes at the bottom of the Colors dialog.
This saves that color for future use, so when you want it, all you have to do is click once on that square (no more messing with the color wheel). This is a great place to save commonly used colors like red, solid black, white, etc.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Smart Mailbox Idea: Mail Older Than One Year

If you’ve got email that’s more than a year old just clogging up your Inbox (and taking up valuable space), you can use a Smart Mailbox to help you do some fast email house cleaning.
Just Control-click on the email account (or your Inbox if you don’t have multiple accounts) that you want to clean up, and then choose New Smart Mailbox from the contextual menu. When the Smart Mailbox dialog appears, from the first criteria pop-up menu on the left, choose Date Received. From the next pop-up menu over, choose “is before the date,” and in the final field, type a date that is approximately one year before today. Click OK and all your email that is one year old (or older) will appear in that Smart Mailbox. To delete that old email, just click on the Smart Mailbox, press Command-A to select all the email, then press the Delete key on your keyboard.
Now, the nice thing is that tomorrow more one-year-old email will appear in that Smart Mailbox (thanks to its live updating), and the next day, and the next day, and so on, so your mailbox never has more than one year of archived messages. So, about once a month, click on that Smart Mailbox and easily delete all the old email.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Secret Screen Capture Shortcut

Okay, you probably already know the ol’ Command-Shift-3 shortcut for taking a screen capture of your entire screen, and you may even know about Command-Shift-4, which gives you a crosshair cursor so you can choose which area of the screen you want to capture. But perhaps the coolest, most-secret hidden capture shortcut is Control-Command-Shift-3 (or 4), which, instead of creating a file on your desktop, copies the capture into your Clipboard memory, so you can paste it where you want. (I use this to paste screen captures right into Photoshop.)

Friday, December 24, 2010

See-Through Notes

One of my favorite Stickies features is the ability to make a sticky translucent. Just click on a sticky and press Command-Option-T (Translucent Window). Then you can see right through your sticky to the items behind it. This is really handy if you want to see items in Finder windows that would normally be covered by any open Stickies. To turn off the transparency (pardon me, translucency), just press the shortcut again when Stickies is active.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Opening? Saving? Spotlight Is There

Okay, it’s time to save a file, so you choose Save As and the typical Save dialog appears. You want to save your document in a particular folder, but you can’t remember exactly where that folder is. No sweat, because Spotlight lives in the Save (and Open) dialog as well (it’s everywhere!). Just type the name of the folder you’re looking for in the Spotlight field in the upper right-hand corner of the Save As dialog and all the folders with that name appear in your Save window, so you can get right where you want blindingly fast. Nice.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sending Huge Attachments

Most email servers have a limit to how large an attachment they’ll accept. Most limit an attachment size to 5MB (some even less), and if you email somebody a 6MB file, it’s probably going to get “kicked back” to you as undeliverable. Want to get around that? Use iChat instead. Once you have an iChat session started with someone, you can go under the Buddies menu and choose Send File. Navigate your way to the file you want to send, click OK, and the file will be sent to the person you’re chatting with (and a link to download your file will appear in their iChat window). No matter how big the file size is, it’ll get there.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Create Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts are such huge timesavers, but sadly, not all Finder commands have them. But they can, because you can create your own. Here’s how: Go under the Apple menu, to System Preferences, and choose Keyboard & Mouse. When the dialog appears, click on the Keyboard Shortcuts tab, then click the plus (+) sign at the bottom left of the dialog. Another dialog will appear. Choose Finder from the Application pop-up menu, and then type the exact name of the menu command you want to add a shortcut for. Now type the shortcut you want to use and click the Add button. It’s that simple.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stickies Will Spell It for You

If you’re working in Stickies and you’re not sure you’ve spelled a word correctly, just Control-click on the word and a contextual menu will appear. At the top of this menu will be choices for what it believes to be the proper spelling of that word (if it’s actually misspelled and it recognizes the word in the first place). If you agree, just move your cursor over that word, release your mouse button, and your misspelled word will be replaced. Mighty handy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Is That Task Done Yet? The Dock Knows

Let’s say you’re working in a power-crunching app like Photoshop, and you go to apply a filter to a high-res image, and it’s going to take a minute or two to process your command. You’re going to get a progress bar so you can see how long the process is going to take, right?
Well, thanks to Mac OS X’s way-cool Dock, you can switch out of Photoshop to work on something else and the Dock will let you know when the filter is applied. How? Well, when a progress bar appears in Photoshop, the Dock automatically adds a tiny little progress bar to the bottom of the Photoshop icon in the Dock so you can keep an eye on the progress, even when you’re doing something else (like checking your mail, shopping online, or writing a letter).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Saving Spotlight Searches

Spotlight also lives in your Finder windows (right where the old Search field was in previous versions of Mac OS X), but when you search here, you get a little bonus — savable searches.
Screen shot
So, for example, you search for all the email, images, and other junk sent to you by your friend Alan. When you do this in a Finder window, the Finder window updates to show the results right there in your window. Oh, but there’s more. Now you’ll find a Save button near the top-right side of your window. If you click it, it saves your results in a folder in your sidebar, where you can re-access those files at any time. How cool is that! But this is no ordinary folder, my friend. This is a Smart Folder, which means the next time Alan sends you something (or you mention Alan in a document, email, etc.), it will automatically be added to that Smart Folder. It’s live, baby!