Mac User Guide: Tips & Tricks
If it’s one thing we have heard about Apple computers it is that they are expensive, can’t be customized and everything is made for someone without a brain. However, Apple in truth provides one of the most customizable and feature rich operating systems currently on the market. In an attempt to redeem the Mac OS I’ve compiled a list of tips tricks and features.
One of the more interesting features about a Mac is it’s unique dock. Applications are placed in the left of the dock to allow easy access to your most used programs. Folder are placed in the right of the dock for ease of access. Here are a few pointers for customizing your dock.
- By default when applications are minimized they go into the right part of the dock. This can be redundant and kind of annoying. To have your applications minimize into the application icon in the dock simply navigate to System Preferences (This is by default in the dock. If not click the Apple logo in the upper left then click System Preferences.) Inside System Preferences you’ll find under the Personal options Dock. By clicking it you’ll be presented with all the options for your mac dock. To enable windows minimized to the application icon tick the box “Minimize windows into application icon”
- Stacks are a really cool feature in OS X. Not only does it make the folders placed in the dock look really bad ass it also gives you the ability to customize the look of your folders in the dock. Simply find a photo any photo and place it in the folder you want to customize. Rename the photo to *.jpg (Yes that is an asterisk.) This will ensure the photo you select is always in the front of the stack. That is it! You have a completely customized icon for your stack.
OS X is a clean OS. Everything has a purpose and is finely tuned for accuracy and aesthetic appeal. The menu bar is no exception. This bar give you access your you the foreground application menus and preferences it also gives you access to important system information such as wireless, bluetooth, sound, battery life, time and date, and spotlight.
- So you want to customize those little icons on the left? Maybe you don’t want them at all. To move or remove them just hold down the command key while you click one. You will see the icon turn grey and you can move its location on the menu bar or move it out of the menu bar to rid it from view. You can always add it back to the menu bar via its preferences.
- Want a little more information? Are you a power user? Simply hold down the option key as you click on one of the menu bar icons. The Time Machine icon will give you options to verify backups. The wifi icon will give you detailed stats on the wifi network which you are connected. Most importantly the sound icon will give you options to change your sound output and input devices. Totally awesome right?
Any seasoned Mac user loves Spaces. It allows you to place application windows on different “Spaces” basically it gives you 4+ monitors in one. You can use the Spaces icon in the dock to open spaces or use the control key plus the direction arrows to move between spaces. It is disabled by default. (Oh why Apple, why!) To enable it just head over to your System Preferences and in the personal section click “Expose and Spaces”. We will talk about Expose later but for now lets get some “Spaces”. Click on the Spaces tab and the “Enable Spaces”.
- By default spaces is an amazing feature. However, you might find yourself not using it very much as your windows start to fill up your screen and get crowded. Managing Spaces manually is a bit of a pain and can be quite annoying. Now don’t worry Apple has created a solution. Under the Spaces tab you’ll see many options. You can select the number of spaces you want (up to 16!). You can modify the keyboard shortcuts that allow you to jump between spaces, but most importantly you can assign applications to a certain space. Simply open the application you want to assign and click the plus sign in the Spaces Preferences. It will add the application and give you options above the little plus sign to change the default space. You can also add an application and assign it to every space. What this does is show the application regardless of the space you’re on. This is good for System Preferences or your IM application.
The Mail Application is one of the best mail readers ever created. It is jam packed with so many features it could take an eternity to save them all. So we’ll just go over a few.
- Smart Mailboxes is one of the best features of mail. It allows you to create a mailbox and fill it with mail based on certain requirements. It is a little hard to explain but you can mess around with it by opening the Mail Application and navigating to Mailboxes in the menu bar and click on “New Smart Mailbox”. In that you’ll find what could be a million different rules for adding mail to your smart mailbox.
- If you get spam messages or just messages from someone you don’t care to much for Apple has your back. A nifty feature exists called “Bounce”. If you ever have sent an email to someone and got a message back that shows the mail could not be delivered that is what this is. A message built into the Mail Application that allows you to send a mail undeliverable back to the sender. Thus making those annoying pests think your email address does not exist.
Well that sums all the features for now, but bookmark this page and look back as more will be added.
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[Image Credit: thevolumerocker]