Mac OS X Quick Tips

Top 10 Tips From Mac User Guide

Mac Users Guide brings you a series of Mac OS X Qucik Tips via its feed on In the next phase of Mac Users Guide we are opening iLearn by Mac Users Guide, a training program designed to bring valuable information through hands-on instruction. The workshops are designed to expand on the concepts and how-to articles found on Mac Users Guide and offer you, the user, the opportunity to learn with a real Apple professional who can answer your questions about Apple’s Mac OS X and wide range of equipment and applications. We offer 1-hour private classes or weekly 2-hour group classes that focus on specific applications and help beginners get started or experts deepen their knowledge of Apple hardware and software concepts. Learn more at

The following are a series of Mac OS X Snow Leopard quick tips that we will be covering in our upcoming workshop.

Language and texts in Snow Leopard
Ever run into needing a symbol shortcut…like lets say the copyright symbol. I do almost on a daily basis. To solve this problem simply open System Preferences, choose Language & Text. In Leopard a new tab was added called Texts and it has a Symbol And Text Substitution feature. For instance type ( c ) and you get © among other commonly used symbols. You can also make your own custom shortcuts! Like type “awesome” to substitute it for Carl Berkeley! Also comes in handy for your name or address.
iLearn by Mac Users Guide

Selecting Multiple Files
Most of us long time Mac users know that if you want to select something you just click on it to open or move it. What if you want to move or open more than on file? To select groups of items select the first item in a folder and while holding down shift select and click on the last one. If you want to be more specific hold down Command and Click on only select items in a folder. While selecting items in this manner you can also select groups of items next to one another. Simply hold the Command and Shift buttons down at the same time as you click. With a little practice you will be a power selector!

Set a poster frame in iTunes
What is a poster frame? It is a still based frame taken from your video. You can add them to new movies and TV shows in iTunes or iTunes automatically creates an image to display as that video’s icon. What if you want to customize this image? I have had a a studio logo come up or the auto select landing on something not very descriptive. A simple solution to this problem is to choose another frame of the movie to use as the poster frame. To do this, just start the video playing in iTunes, go to the frame you want to use and then pause it. Then just right-click on the video and choose “Set Poster Frame.”

Cisco VPN Support
If you work from the road, or from home, you know how important Cisco VPN is. Did you know that Snow Leopard has it built right into the OS. To set up your VPN start my getting your setting from your IT Department. Next navigate to System Preferences > Network. Click on the small plus sign (+) in the lower-left corner. Choose VPN in the Select Interface drop-down. This is much better than opening a third-party application to get on the office server from home.

Image Capture Device Control
Image Capture transfers images between your digital camera, iPhone or scanner and your Mac for use in iPhoto and other applications. You can download all or any portion of the contents of your digital camera, crop images to a variety of sizes, and delete unwanted pictures from your camera. You can also set iPhoto to open for one device, and Aperture for another… or nothing at all.

Dock Exposé
One “ooooohhhh, aaaaaahhhhh” feature in the Snow Leopard is that you can simply click and hold an icon in the Dock to trigger Exposé to show all of the select application’s windows. This way you can avoid having to use a keyboard shortcut. This can be especially useful if you’re trying to quickly sort through all your Finder, Web browser, or word processing windows.

Battery Status
If you’ve secretly suspected that your MacBook’s battery isn’t working correctly, Snow Leopard can tell you what your geek senses have known all along. Now in the menu bar you can not only check the status of your battery but also see if it needs service. Just hold down Option and Click. Hopefully you not see the “Service Battery” warning :(

Screen Saver Photos
Here is a quick way to customize your Mac. As Apple users we have always had the option to shuffle through different Desktop pictures, but now you can set your screen saver to shuffle through different iPhoto, MobileMe, Flickr, Facebook, and Aperture Library. Simply organize your photos in either iPhoto or Aperture libraries and add your favorite social networking outlets or add them directly to Desktop and Screen Savers by click on the plus sign. Check Use Random Screen Saver then click on Shuffle. Then just check the boxes of the image libraries you want shuffled as screen savers.

Get Specific with Spotlight
If you use Spotlight a lot to find files, you know it’s slightly annoying when you type a file name into the Spotlight search field in your Finder window, only to have it search everywhere. In the Finder navigate in the menu bar to Finder > Preferences, click on the Advanced tab, and change the default search location from Search This Mac to Search the Current Folder.

Put it back!
Accidentally put an item in the trash? Simply select the item in the Trash. Right-click on the item and select Put Back from the contextual menu. The file will return to its original location before you throw it away.

Mac OS X Quick Tips

Top 10 Tips From Mac User Guide

Every week I bring you a series of Mac OS X Tips via my feed on I was recently asked by one of my readers for a top 10 list of tips for new mac users to get started. These tips are ones that I found to be the most useful in getting to know Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and 10.6 Snow Leopard. Tips that only work for Snow Leopard have a comment next to them.

1. Mac OS X Finder Submenu (10.6 Only)
Unleash Snow Leopards hidden menus by holding down the Option click your Finder items: Sound, AirPort, Synch and Time.

2. Set Your Wallpaper with Safari
Quickly set your wallpaper by dragging the image into Safari. Right Click the image and “Set As Desktop Background…”

3. Secure Empty Trash
For those occasions when you want to permanently delete files. Go to Finder > Secure Empty Trash…

Customize your search results by reordering your categories.

Customize your search results by reordering your categories.

4. Set Spotlight Search Result Categories
Open the System Preferences menu under the Apple icon, then click on Spotlight. A list of search result categories appears. You can rearrange the order in which Spotlight lists these types of data by simply dragging the category names up or down in the list.

5. Using Get Info Window
Get Info displays individual windows for each selection up to 10 total, unless you use Control+Command+I to view the summary window. With more than 10 files selected, you always get the summary window. The only way (that I know of) to see more than 10 individual Get Info windows is to select files in batches smaller than 10, then do Command+I on each batch.

6. Customize the Finder Toolbar
Use your Finder Toolbar as your second Dock. From the Finder Menu Select View > Customize Tool Bar… or Left/Control Click the Finder Toolbar. You can drag Applications, Files or Images to the Toolbar. To further customize the Finder Window add Sidebar Items. You can highlight any item and press Command+T to put it on the Sidebar. To remove them, simple right-click and choosing remove.

7. Clear the Finder
Hide every open program except the one that’s currently active (make sure its a spreed sheet if your at work) by typing CMND+OPTN+H.

8. Dynamic Definitions in Apple Apps
Hover over a word and hold CMND+CTRL+D. A definition window popped up. Works in most Apple Application except Safari.

9. Get Your Functions Keys Back
Do you have the new Aluminum Keyboard? Want your Function Keys to the the primary keys instead of Sound and Brightness? Go to System Preferences > Keyboard and Mouse, click the Keyboard tab and check the box that says “Use the F1-F12 keys to control software features”. Now when you press F9, it will bring Expose and when you press Fn+F9 it will change the keyboard light intensity.

10. Deleting files as soon as their copied
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 begin dragging the item. Your Mac will do two tasks for you — copy the file to the new drive and delete the original from your drive. Want to cancel your current Drag-and-Drop? To cancel a drag-and-drop by pressing the ‘Esc’ key while dragging and release the mouse button.

BONUS: Quick, Shut Down… This is handy when you need to move in a hurry. Hold down Command+Control+Option+Eject

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