How to iChat

Share, Present and Collaborate with iChat

Share, Present and Collaborate with Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6 iChat

I am a big user of Apple’s iChat, a built in chat client that comes with Mac OS X. I was a early adopter of iChat and have tried other software and web based services like Facebook, Yahoo and Google. Mac OS X iChat remains my go to chat application since it has a lot of features that integrate with the Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.6; most of which Mac users are not aware of.

Included with Mac OS X, iChat provides a comprehensive application that works with your AIM, Jabber, Mobile Me and Google Talk accounts. With Mac OS X iChat you can easily stay in touch, collaborate, show off your kids and share friends and family using text (SMS) sound or video. Even if the person you are trying to talk with doesn’t have a Mac you can still use iChat as long as they have an AIM or Google Voice account. Lets get started looking at all the cool features that are found in iChat.

Down to Basics
Start by setting up an account. When you launch iChat for the first time a dialogue will appear asking you to press ‘continue’. You can use iChat with your MobileMe, AIM or Google Talk accounts. In Account Settings you will need to:

  1. Select Account Type
  2. Enter Screen Name
  3. Enter Password
  4. Click ‘Get an iChat Account’

Facebook Connect Wizard

Facebook Connection Wizard

Use Facebook Chat (IM) with Mac OS X iChat.
This is a great way of taking advantage of all the features of iChat and combining it with the social networking reach of Facebook. Start by opening your iChat Preferences:

  1. Go to the Menu Bar iChat > Preferences…
  2. Click on Accounts Tab.
  3. Click + to create a new Account.
  4. Select Account Type: Jabber Account.
  5. Account Name: (Facebook usersame) – find it in your profile.
    Enter your Facebook Password.
  6. Click Done.

Once the account autheticates it will enter all the server information for you. Voila!

Show off Slideshows – Anywhere.
I have been in a lot of Skype interviews lately and and there is always a moment you wish the candidate could show a visual presentation. In most cases you need to be technically minded to get through a presentation; not to mention calm before giving a presentation online! With iChat you can give a Keynote presentation remotely using iChat Theater. To start select 1-4 buddies, next:

Mac OS X iChat

Using presentor tools in Mac OS X iChat!

  1. Click and Drag your Keynote presentation to the iChat window.
  2. Drop your file into the ‘Share with iChat Theater’ drop-box.

That’s it! Keynote will automatically launch your presentation and load up a presentation feed in the iChat window. You can also host a photo slideshow or play a movie this way. You control the slide show from keynote. When your done just quit Keynote and resume talking via video.

Screen Sharing: Get on the same page.
iChat also allows you to share your screen with your buddy. This way you and your buddy can observe and control a single desktop making it easy to collaborate, browse the web or look over documents. Sharing your desktop allows you and your Buddy access and control to each others desktops. To start up Screen Sharing all you have to do is:

  1. Select the Buddy you want to share with.
  2. From the Main Menu select Buddies > Share My Screen.
  3. iChat initiates an audio chat to start the screen sharing session. You can talk while you make the connection and work.

That’s it! Hard to believe that you can manage to do all this with only a few clicks.

Multiway Video iChat – Connecting up to Four Buddies in a Conference.
Video iChat is the best way to quickly get to know who is on the other side of the screen. With iChat you can connect up to an unlimited number of people in one text conference, up to 10 total people in an audio conference, and up to four total people in a video conference. Here is how:

  1. Select the buddies that you want to participate in your conference. (Tip: Hold down the Command key to select more than one buddy).
  2. Click the movie camera button to start a video conference; If you want to start a text conference click the “A” or the phone button to start an audio conference.
  3. Participants just need to accept your invitation and they will be able to interact with everyone who joins!

Having fun with iChat! – Video iChat Backgrounds
If you haven’t tried this your should! Try the video backdrops that are a part of iChat. After you start a video iChat you can make it look like you’re chatting from the Golden Gate Bridge or use your own custom backdrop. Here’s how:

  1. Select the Buddy(s) you want to chat with.
  2. Initiate the the video chat by clicking the movie camera button.
  3. Select View > Set Chat Background…
  4. Select the background you want to use. Tip: Make sure you are in front of a neutral background like a white or solid color wall.
  5. To clear the background just select View > Clear Background.

You can also add cool effects by selecting Video > Show Video Effects (Shift+Command+E).

No terms have been selected for this glossary.

Exploring Mac OS X Preview PDF Annotator

Exploring Mac OS X Preview Hidden Features

Exploring Apple’s PDF Annotator

In a previous post, Mac OS X Preview: Unlocking Previews Hidden Features, I point out some of the hidden features for managing your PDF’s in Preview. In this article I would like to point our some of the more advanced annotating and markup features hidden within Preview. Preview usually launches as you default image and PDF viewer and we close it sometimes as quickly as it opens. What you are missing is that Preview is a fast and efficient way to share comments and to mark up a PDF, even more effectively than working with Adobe Reader.

If you go to Preview’s Tools menu you will find sub-menus for Mark Up and Annotate. Mark Up allows you to highlight, strike through or underline selected lines within a portable document file. Annotate enables you to draw graphic and comment based elements such as rectangles, ovals, notes and links (hyper-link style).

Using Mark Up
To use the Mark Up tool start by selecting the text that you would like to either highlight, strike through or underline. Next to Previews menu at the top and select Tools > Mark Up and select you desired formatting type.

Add Shapes
Using the Annotation features such as oval and rectangle tools is simple.

  1. Select the Annoation Tool you would like to use: Circle or Rectangle
  2. Click anywhere in the PDF.
  3. A colored shape will appear in the document.
  4. Move, drag and size to your specifications.

Notes and Links
Using Add Note or Add Link annotation features are done in a similar manner as with the shapes. Simply select the annotation tool you would like to use: Add Note or Add Link. Click anywhere in the PDF where you would like to relate the note or the link.


  1. A box will appear in the side-margin.
  2. Double click into the box to edit.
  3. An annotations tool box will appear in the upper corner of your screen. You can also open this window by holding down Command+I.
  4. You can change the color of your note using the Inspector Window.


  1. Select the area within the PDF you would like to Hyperlink. You can drag the link square to any size you like.
  2. Double click into the box to edit.
  3. An annotations tool box will appear in the upper corner of your screen. You can also open this window by holding down Command+I.
  4. In the Inspector Window you can Link within the PDF or you can create a URL.

If you make annotations regularly you can add them to your Preview Toolbar. To add them select View > Customize Toolbar… from Previews menu. Drag the tools that you use the most to Previews toolbar.

Unlocking Apple Mail Hidden Features

Unlocking Apple Mail Hidden Features

Mac OS X Mail

Since the beginning of Mac OS X Mail has been a prepackaged along with the operating system. Apple Mail has had to compete with Eudora, Thunderbird and Microsoft’s Entourage. Mail is more than just an email program allowing you to send and receive, you can manage and track messages, guard against spam and even create Smart Folders that automatically organize your mail. Mac OS X Mail also utilizes Spotlight technology so you can find your email messages instantly and accurately. Since its early appearance Mail has become more powerful being coupled with MobileMe and allowing plug-ins from third-party developers. Here are some helpful tips for you to unlock some of Apple Mail’s Hidden Features.

Column Views in Apple Mail
WideMail 0.5.1 is a widescreen Apple Mail Plugin that allows for column views. The most recent version is only Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard compatible. Dane Harnett is working on a new version for Snow Leopard and you can keep tabs on the release at his site Click here to download (1.2 MB). Once downloaded simply launch the “WideMail Installer” inside the Disk Image (DMG) to install/upgrade. Be sure to sign up to get Dane Harnett’s RSS feed to find out about new releases. If you have any questions, queries or have found a bug, don’t hesitate to send Dane at email:

Got Headers? Show Full Headers in Apple Mail
Most users of Apple Mail don’t realize how full featured it is. Apple has toned it done to simplify the Application for the common users. However you can unlock a lot of features. This is a common feature I use for displaying and forwarding the full headers of a message using the Mail application in Macintosh OS X. With the Mail application open do the following:

  1. 1. Click on the “In” mailbox. You can also do this by selecting Mailbox from the main Menu > Show > In or press Command + 1.
  2. 2. Select the message you want to see the full header information.
  3. 3. From the Main menu select View > Message >> Long Headers or Command+Shift+H.
  4. 4. To forward the message click the Forward button or Select Message > Forward Message ( Command+Shift+F is also an option).
  5. 5. Complete the “To:” address field as well as the subject, then send the message.

Filtering Junk Mail
Gettting a lot of junk mail? Also called “spam” Apple Mail has great Junk Mail features. Junk mail filtering is on by default, but you can modify how Mail deals with your unwanted email after it goes through a little training period. When you first start using Mail the Junk Mail feature is enabled and goes through a “training period”. Messages that are suspect appear in brown text with a little bad icon in your Inbox. If Mail marks something as “junk” that isn’t simply select the Message and click the Not Junk button to help train Mail. If a message comes through that is junk but isn’t marked as “junk”, simply select the message and click the Junk button to help train Mail. To make further changes:

  1. 1. Choose Preferences from the Mail menu.
  2. 2. Click the Junk Mail button to display its settings.
  3. 3. To make certain types of messages exempt from junk mail filtering, select/deselect item check boxes below the line, “The following types of messages are exempt from junk mail filtering.”

Depending on how things are going with training Mail take some time to evaluate how well Mail is flagging your junk mail. If it’s working for you simply, select “Move it to the Junk mailbox (Automatic)” radio button in the Junk Mail pane of Mail preferences. This will create a Junk mailbox along the other mailboxes you have in the left column. Mail will now automatically move junk mail to this mailbox.

Remember to check your Junk mailbox periodically to make sure that you aren’t missing anything important. You can click “Not Junk” on the messages that was mistakenly considered spam.

Searching Mail
If you need to find a certain email message you can search for specific text in any message, mailbox or subject line by using the Search field in Mail. Coupled with Spotlight technology you will be able to find what you are looking for in or out of the Application. To get started:

  1. 1. Type the text that you want to search for, like “cupertino” or “Apple Computer”, in the Search field in the upper-right corner of the Mail window.
  2. 2. Mail displays a list of its search results. Click the All Mailboxes button to display results from all mailboxes, or click on a specific mail box and get all the related messages from it.

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