One of the ongoing benefits of hanging around the Mac community for a couple of decades is the abundance of knowledge which can be tapped to solve any problem, or just to help make your Mac a better experience.
Everyone who’s used a Mac for a decade or more knows a few tips and tricks which improve the day-to-day workflow, make setup and configuration easier and faster, and generally improve how a Mac feels. Here’s my list of a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up through the years.
Mac Secrets Revealed
Way back in the day I would buy those killer tips books and devour my way through page after page of the latest functions in OS X or various apps. For some reason, Apple likes to keep some functionality entirely a secret. What’s with that? Where’s the official ‘tips and tricks’ list, Apple?
Secret Cut and Paste – Everyone knows how to cut and paste, right? Command-X to cut, Command-C to copy, and Command-V to insert (paste). Everything copied or cut goes onto the single page clipboard. Funny thing. True story. OS X has two clipboards. This one is more like a Move command from the keyboard. Select some text, use Control-K to cut the text, and Control-Y to paste the text elsewhere. That’s Control, not Command. There’s no copy. It’s cut only. Strange, no?
Caffeinate – If you’re afraid of Teminal.app and the command line then you may not want to muck with the Caffeinate command, but it works. What does it do? It keeps your Mac from going into sleep mode, hence the caffeine-like name. Open Terminal.app, enter ‘caffeinate -di’ and hit Return. Keep Terminal.app window ope and the Mac won’t go to sleep. Close the Terminal.app window or hit Control-C and everything goes back to normal.
The Locked File – What if you have a valuable file that you want to make sure doesn’t get changed? That can be a Word or Excel or PowerPoint document, or any kind of file that you want to be sure never gets changed. How? Lock it. Command-I brings up the GetInfo popup window which displays file details, and a little control to lock the file and prevent changes. It’s called… insert drum roll here… Locked. Click it and the file is locked.
While some of these tips have been around awhile, Apple hasn’t exactly been resting upon laurels. OS X El Capitan has a few useful and somewhat hidden tips of its own.
Find Cursor – I love this one because most of my waking day is devoted to a small MacBook with a tiny screen, and a larger 27-inch iMac with Retina 5k and finding the little mouse cursor can be pain on both. El Capitan has Find Cursor built-in. Jiggle mouse or move your fingers across the trackpad and the pointer gets bigger so you can see it.
Split View – Honestly, I did not like the Split View option at first but now I use it all the time. Apple did the split-screen routine different than third party utilities. Click and hold the green zoom button in an app’s window and drag the window into place. Voila! A split window, perfect for viewing two apps and two pages side-by-side.
Hide The Menubar – Again, this is one of those options that I did not like at first, but grew on me over time. It’s called Hide The Menubar and all it does is give the app you’re using a bit more screen by hiding the Menubar (works much like hiding the Dock). Open System Preferences, select General, then select Automatically Hide and Show Menubar.
Notes – Just use it. This is one of the most improved Mac apps (also syncs up with similarly featured Notes app on iPhone and iPad) which works more like a mini-word processor. You can even draw on it.
There are a few new features in OS X El Capitan that I do not care for, including Pin Tabs in Safari. It’s an easy and simple way to visit websites you frequent with little more than a click, but with a few dozen favorite websites you’re better off with an RSS reader because Safari can get cluttered with pins.
Every Mac user has a few tips and tricks to use to improve the Mac experience, but what we need is a place that gathers and categorizes all such tips, product by product. I’m thinking MacKillerTips.