Sunday, April 24, 2011

One-Click Long-File-Name Fix

If you’re working in a window set to Column view, you’re going to run into this all the time — files with long names have the end of their names cut off from view, because the column isn’t wide enough. That doesn’t sound like that big of a problem, until you start working with more descriptive file names, and you can’t see which file is “European Front End Silver Car” and which is “European Back End Silver Car” because everything from “European” to “Silver Car” is cut off.

Luckily, there’s a quick fix — just double-click on the little tab at the bottom of the vertical column divider bar, and the column will expand just enough so you can see even the longest file name of any file in that column. Option-double-click on the tab, and every column expands to show the longest name in each column. Pretty darn sweet!

Monday, April 11, 2011

See Your File’s Hidden Info

Want more info on your files than the standard icon view provides (after all, it just gives you the file’s name in icon view)? Then turn on Show Item info. This adds an extra line of information below many files and folders that can be very useful. For example, now not only do you get a folder’s name, but just below the name (in unobtrusive light-blue, 9-point type), you’ll see how many items are in that folder.
If the file is an image, the Item Info shows you how big it is. MP3 files show how long the song is, etc. To turn on Item Info for your current Finder window, press Command-J to bring up its View Options. Then turn on the checkbox for Show Item Info. If you want to show the item info for every window (globally), then choose the All Windows button at the top of the dialog.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

PDF: The Smaller PDF Secret Control

This is another one of those “secret, buried-in-a-vault” killer tips that addresses something Mac OS X users have complained about: The file sizes of PDFs that Mac OS X creates are sometimes too big (vs. Adobe’s Acrobat PDFs). believe it or not, there’s a way to get smaller PDFs. Here’s how: launch TextEdit, then choose Print from the File menu. From the PDF pop-up menu in the bottom-left corner of the dialog, choose Compress PDF. That’s it. It’ll compress the PDF and call it a day.

However, if you’re charging by the hour, and let’s pretend you are, you have a wonderful time-consuming option: Choose Print from the File menu, and from the second Presets pop-up menu choose ColorSync. From the Quartz Filter menu that appears, choose Add Filters. Click on the three-oval icon in the top-left corner of the dialog that appears, click on the filter named Reduce File Size, and then click-and-hold on the arrow button to the right of the filter and choose Duplicate Filter. This creates an unlocked filter you can edit.

Now click on the triangle to the left of the duplicate filter to show its options; this is where you choose what you want. I recommend clicking on the arrow to the left of Image Compression and dragging the magic slider that lets you control the amount of JPEG compression your PDF images receive. For smaller file sizes, drag the Quality Slider toward Minimum. Now go back to TextEdit and in the Print dialog, choose Colorsync from the second Presets pop-up menu, choose your new filter from the Quartz Filter pop-up menu and click Print. That’s it. (Whew!)