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

OS X Finder

Working with Mac OS X Stickies

Looking at Mac OS X Stickies

In the OS X Finder Mac OS X Stickies are sometimes an unappreciated program. It has been a part of the Macintosh OS since 1994 with the release of System 7.5. The current version allows you to save reminders, to-dos and other bits of information that you might collect. There are a variety of stickies settings you can apply to one or every note that include, overall display, color, formatting, floating, opacity, and linking. Even if you’re a current user or have never tired stickies before they are definitely better than your analogue post-it.

Here are two things you can try out to show you what a great tool they are.

Searching Stickies

Searching stickies is a great way to find something you’ve noted that might not be visible. Simply use Command-F and you can search for words in a single note or all notes. You can also perform a Find and Replace.

Embedding Links

Embedding links from your browser is common practice, but what about email and media files? Next time you have a note that relates to a specific email just drag and drop it into a sticky. It forms a link to that email so that you can reference later on. The same is true for images and PDFs too.


Dragging a Quicktime movie onto a Sticky note will embed the movie into the note, complete with the usual play/pause controls.

Try that with a regular old post-it

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