Thursday, January 27, 2011

Go Directly From Your Video Camera Into QuickTime

There’s a very cool feature that sneaked into QuickTime Pro 7 that has kind of flown below the radar so far. It’s the ability to record directly from your digital video camera (or a microphone) right into a QuickTime fIle, without having to go through iMovie, Final Cut Pro, or a third-party application.
Just connect your digital video camera (or even your iSight camera), launch the QuickTime Pro Player, then from the File menu choose New Movie Recording. A QuickTime window will open showing you a preview of what your camera is seeing. Now just click the round red record button at the bottom of the QuickTime window and it starts recording. Click the stop button when you’re done and you’ve got an instant QuickTime movie. It works the same way for recording audio using your Mac’s built-in microphone (provided of course that your Mac actually does have a built-in mic), but instead of choosing New Movie Recording, you’ll choose New Audio Recording. Note: you have to upgrade from the standard QuickTime to QuickTime Pro to have access to this feature.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Where Did That Download Come From?

If you download a file from the web, you can usually find out exactly where that downloaded file came from (including the exact web address) by pressing Command-I when you have the file selected. Once the info dialog appears, click on the right-facing arrow beside More Info to expand that panel and it will display a Where from header, and to the right of that it will show the exact web address from which the file was originally downloaded.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Can’t Remember the Password?

If you can’t remember a password for a website (or anything else for that matter), all your passwords are saved in the Keychain Access utility (which probably isn’t news to you), but the cool thing is you can do a Spotlight search from right within Keychain to quickly find the password you’re looking for.
Start by looking inside your Applications folder for the Utilities folder, and inside of that double-click on Keychain Access. When it opens you’ll see a search field in the upper-right corner. Type the name of the site you’re looking for, and it will appear. Double-click on the result and an info dialog will appear, and to see your password, turn on the show Password checkbox.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

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

Friday, January 21, 2011

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

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Type Like a European

Do you know the simple way to add accents, tildes, umlauts, and other non-English diacritical marks to your text document?
In Apple’s Pages and TextEdit applications, go to the Edit menu and choose Special Characters. In Microsoft Word for Mac, go to the Insert menu and choose Symbol.
Up pops a cool Character Palette that includes most of the symbols you’re ever likely to need. Just place your cursor where you want the symbol, select your desired symbol from the palette, and click Insert.
So much for the simple way. How about the fast way?
You can drop symbols right in line as you type — without interrupting your flow to sift through special menus — by memorizing a few simple key commands. If you frequently type foreign words, it can be a real time-saver.
When you want to add a letter with a symbol in just about any Mac OS X application, hold down the Option key and press the appropriate symbol key. Release the keys and type the letter you want to receive the symbol. Take café — you type c, a, f, then press Option-E (to get the right-leaning acute accent), then e. Same for résumé, fiancée, or blasé.
As in most of these combinations, the acute accent key command is linked to the letter most likely to need the symbol in question — in this case, the letter e. But if you need to type the Italian limóne, say, you press Option-E, then o. For Spanish está, it’s Option-E, then a.
The left-leaning (grave) accent is simple to remember, because it has its own key: the ` above the Tab key. Just press Option-`and then the target letter: Voilà!
Some more easy ones:
  • Option-C produces the cedilla in façade and curaçao.
  • Option-N plus n yields the tilde in España and mañana. For the tilde in São Paulo, press Option-N plus a.
  • Option-I plus i creates the circumflex in huître, while Option-I plus e gets you fenêtre.
  • Option-U plus u puts the umlaut in German words like Übermensch. Follow Option-U with an o or an a to get the umlauts in Götterdämmerung.
  • Option-O gives you the stroked o in Nordic words like the Norwegian nevø.
  • Option-? and Option-1 create the inverted question marks and exclamation points that start some Spanish sentences. ¿Comprendes? ¡Sí!
Need to type a capital letter with an accent or other diacritical mark? Just press Option plus the appropriate key for your symbol, then press Shift as you type the letter you want. For example, to type Évian-les-Bains, use Option-E followed by a capital E.
The Special Characters window in Apple Pages and TextEdit.
The Symbol window in Microsoft Word for Mac.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Immaculate Desktop

Are you the sort of neat-freak who abhors Desktop clutter? Who keeps all apps and docs in carefully organized folders? Consider diving deeper into onscreen clean by making your mounted drives and discs disappear from the Desktop and accessing them instead via Finder windows.
Here’s how to try it: From the Finder, pull down the Finder menu and select Preferences — or just press Command-comma [⌘ ,] from within the Finder. Click the General tab and uncheck Hard disks; CDs, DVDs, and iPods; and Connected servers.
Next, click the Sidebar tab and check the boxes next to all the items you unchecked under the General tab.
When you want to access a drive, disk, or server, just open a Finder window by pressing Command-n [⌘ n] from within the Finder. And when you close the Finder windows, your desktop will be spotless. (Remember, Command-w [⌘ w] closes a Finder window, and Command-Option-w [⌘ ⌥ w] closes all Finder windows at once.
Immaculate Desktop

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

ColorSync Utilities

Mac OS X contains a number of useful utilities that can enhance creative workflows. In the root-level folder /Library/Scripts/ColorSync are editable AppleScript utilities that perform various common design tasks.
Say, for example, you have a collection of images in a directory that you would like to prepare for the web by embedding the sRGB color profile. Rather than open the images individually to assign the profile, you could use the "Embed chosen profile" script instead by simply dragging-and-dropping your collection of images on that script's icon in the Colorsync folder. A real time-saver when dealing with hundreds of images. And, because these scripts are editable, you can customize them to be specific to your workflow needs.

Screen Shot Screen Shot

Monday, January 17, 2011

Editing Word Files — Without Word

It’s easy to work with Microsoft Word files on your Mac, even if you don’t have Microsoft Word installed on your computer.
TextEdit, your Mac’s built-in word processing program, can open MS Word files (which are often distinguished by a “.doc” or “.docx” suffix). Simply double-click the document icon. It will automatically open in TextEdit if that’s the only word-processing program on your computer. If you have several, you can specify which program to use by Control-clicking on the file icon (or right-clicking if you have a two-button mouse) and selecting your desired program.
Screen 1 Now you can edit the file just like any other document. However, if you want to share your file with MS Word users, be sure to save your work in Word format. Here’s how.
From the File menu, choose Save As… or type Command-Shift-s. Click-hold on the File Format tab and choose one of the Word formats. Press Save.

Screen 2 If you own iWork ’08, you can use similar techniques in Pages, Apple’s advanced word processor. But instead of using the Save As… command, select Export from the File menu. Choose the Word option and press Next.
Screen 3 Finally, navigate to the destination where you’d like to save the document, and press Export.

Adding a Photo as Your Window’s Background

As long as your Finder window is in icon view, you can add a photo as its background. You do this by going under the View menu, under show View Options, and in the background section (at the bottom of the dialog) choose Picture. Click on the select button and the standard Open dialog will appear in which you can choose the image you’d like to appear as the background of your window. Click OK and that image will appear. Note: This works only when viewing the window in icon view. if you change to list view, the image will no longer be visible.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Email Attachments Made Easy

If you want to attach a file to an email message, you can drag the file directly to Mail’s icon in your Dock. This opens Mail and creates a brand-new email message window with that file already attached. Sweet! Better yet, even if you drag multiple attachments, they all attach to just one email message (rather than creating one message for each attachment, as in previous versions of Mac OS X).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Unlock More of Your Mac’s Power!

Wouldn’t it be cool if there were extra built-in automation power already on your Mac, and all you had to do was turn it on. Yeah, that’d be cool. Anyway, here’s something completely different (just kidding). Actually, you can unlock this automation by just doing a little digging.
Start by opening your Applications folder, and then look inside your AppleScript folder (don’t worry, you’re not going to be doing any scripting — they’re already written for you). Now double-click on the AppleScript Utility icon, and in the resulting dialog, turn on the Show Script Menu in Menu Bar checkbox. Close the Utility dialog, and then go to the menu bar and click on the Script icon — a list of all sorts of cool automatic functions are now just a click away.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Copy and Delete at the Same Time

If you’re archiving a file to disk (let’s say to an external FireWire drive for example), you can drag the icon of the file you want to archive directly to that drive and the Mac will write a copy to that drive. However, your original file still lives on your current hard drive. If you want to have that file deleted from your drive as soon as it’s copied to another drive, just hold the Command key as you drag your icon, and the Mac will do two tasks for you — copy the file to the new drive and delete the original from your drive.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Power Copy-and-Paste

In previous versions of Mac OS X (and Mac OS 9 for that matter), if you clicked on a file, copied it (Command-C), then opened an application (like Mail) and pasted it (Command-V), it would only paste that file’s name. Now, in some applications it pastes the actual file, so you can copy-and-paste a file from a Finder window or the desktop right into your application. Okay, so what if you do want just the name (which happens from time to time)? Just click directly on the selected file’s name (to highlight it) and press Command-C to copy it. Now you’re copying just the name. It’s a Power Pasting thing!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Two Seconds to Sleep

Want the fastest way to put your Mac right into a deep, sleepy-bear hibernation-like sleep (no whirling fan, no dialogs, no sound — nuthin’ — just fast, glorious sleep). Just press Command-Option and then hold the Eject button for about 2 seconds and Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. It doesn’t get much faster than that.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Where Does That File Live?

If you found the file you were looking for, and want to know where it is on your hard disk, just move your cursor over the result in the Spotlight menu, and in just a second or two, a tiny dialog will pop up showing the path to that file.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Getting a Transcript of Your Chat

There are a dozen reasons why you might want a written log of your text chats; maybe someone gave you instructions, a recipe, or just typed a bunch of stuff that cracks you up. Well, luckily, you can ask iChat to keep a running log of your text chats — go under the iChat menu, to Preferences, then click on the Messages icon, and turn on Automatically Save Chat Transcripts.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Your Buddy Doesn’t Need a Camera

If your buddy doesn’t have a camera connected, but you do, you can still have a one-way video chat. That way, your buddy gets to see and hear you on his end. The only downside — you don’t get to see him.
Here’s how it works: Click on your buddy’s name in the Buddy List, and then go under the Buddy menu and choose Invite to One-Way Video Chat. Again, your buddy will see and hear you, but not the other way around. Well, technically, if he has a Mac with a built-in microphone (many Mac models fall in this category), then you’ll be able to hear your buddy, too.