Not only is Mac OS X becoming the darling of Windows and Unix users, most of us who were die hard OS 9.x users now can’t remember the last time we used OS 9. Still, there’s much to learn about OS X.
Every day I come across a couple of different (seemingly new, but they’re not) Tips and Tricks. Frankly, there’s too many to remember them all. Someone should write a book and call it Tips and Tricks or something.
Here’s 5 of the most recent tips and tricks that I now use everyday.
Love it or leave it, the dock is here and here to stay. Personally, I had little use for the dock, preferring DragThing as my personal launcher. Then one day I found out you can drag a file to the icon on the dock that you want to open the file.
At first, that seemed logical. For example, drag a Microsoft Word document from the Finder to the Word icon in the dock. It opens. What if you don’t want Word to open that document? Drag it to TextEdit instead. It’ll still open.
Tired of Preview always opening the wrong graphic file? Drag the file to whatever graphic application you use. For example, I use Fireworks. Lots. Those screen shot PDFs usually open up in Preview. Now I can just drag them to the Fireworks icon and they open up in Fireworks; right where I want them.
Secret Info In The File
I’m surprised at how many Mac users don’t know about this one. Maybe it’s that “single-button mouse” problem. Since I’m using a Microsoft mouse with multiple buttons, I get to experiement more with what Windows users call, “right click.”
It’s the same thing as Control-Click with a Mac mouse. I use “right click” to get more information about a file before opening it up. Think “Show Item Info.” With the Finder window minimized (in the Dock), Click the menu View, then select Show View Options. Then click Show Item Info. Guess what? You get more info.
No More Password Questions
Are you the only one who works on your Mac? No sharing, right? If so, isn’t it annoying that your Mac is always asking you for your Password?
The cat’s out of the bag on this one. The horse is out of the barn. Elvis has left the building. You see, when you set up Mac OS X (Panther) the first time, the Setup Assistant asked you for a Password. You didn’t need to give one. If you left it blank there’d be an annoying message telling you about being insecure (aren’t’ we all?), but Mac OS X wouldn’t ask you again.
How Do You Know If The File Got Saved?
I love this one. I can’t count how many times I’ve “saved it again” because I couldn’t remember saving a file after altering it. Actually, Mac OS X tells you. With an open document or graphic file that’s not been alterned, note the Red Button in the upper left corner of the window.
It’s solid red, right? Right. Now, make a change to the document or file. That little red button now has a dark spot in the center. Save the file. The dark spot disappears and the button is all red again. Cool.
Stop Using The Mouse
This one is scary, so I’m not going to have you unplug your mouse. Still, did you know you don’t need the mouse? Mac OS X lets you navigate just using the keyboard. It’s a bit tricky at first, but it works.
First, in the System Preferences, turn on Full Keyboard Access. Now, click on a menu (do not “click and hold”) just once. That will open the menu. Now use the arrow keys to navigate up and down or left and right. Look closely, and you’ll see that many Mac OS X applications have keyboard shortcuts, too.
Just like Windows, huh?
Stickies has more uses that just Post-It Notes on your screen. For example, there’s times when you’re in Safari (or some other non-word processing application) and you need to check the spelling of a word. Keep Stickies open. Type the word in Stickies. Then, either Right-Click or Control-Click the word.
Bang. A little pop-up menu appears with a Spell Checker.
Mac OS X Panther is loaded with neat little tricks but it takes some work to find them and put them to use. More to come in Tips and Tricks.