Get Address Book phone numbers in the Spotlight menu


Spotlight in your menu bar hooks nicely into Address Book. Type a name in the search field, and the contact(s) will show up in the Spotlight menu. Point to the contact, hover for a few seconds, and get all the phone numbers for that contact in a help tag, so you don’t have to open Address Book itself. But, wait – that’s not the tip, because there’s a slight problem: all the phone numbers show up, unidentified as to which is work, home, cell, and so on. Read the rest of this entry »


TIP: What DVD formats can your Mac handle?


There’s a plethora of DVD formats: DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, double-sided, dual layer… Unless you have a new-ish Mac, which can handle almost anything you throw at it, how can you tell which DVD formats your Mac can write to? Read the rest of this entry »

TIP: Unicode Characters in the Calculator


The Calculator—the real one, in your Applications folder, not the wimpy orange wannabe in the Dashboard—has some nifty subtle features. It can even display a character if you give the character’s Unicode ID number!

Read the rest of this entry »

TIP: Close All Font Preview Windows without Quitting Font Book


When you have lots of Font Book Preview windows open for various fonts, either for a pre-install inspection or to compare various faces, it would be nice if you could use Font Book’s Close All command (by holding down Option as you open the File menu for the Close command) to close them. But Close All also closes Font Book’s main window, which, because Font Book is a one-window application, quits the program, too.

So, minimize Font Book’s main window (bring it to the front first, if necessary, with Window > Font Book). Once it’s safely in the Dock, Close All closes all the Preview windows without quitting Font Book, and then you can retrieve its main window from the Dock or with Window > Font Book.

TIP: Make a Finder Toolbar Item “Permanent”


When you narrow a Finder window so much that it can’t display everything on the toolbar, the rightmost items get dumped into a menu that dangles off the right edge of the toolbar. If you’d rather keep the items at the right (the Search field, for instance) on the toolbar and let other things be dispatched into the menu, set them to remain visible in a shrinking window (this is a new feature in Snow Leopard). Read the rest of this entry »

TIP: New Finder Commands #7: Select Startup Disk


[One of a series regarding Snow Leopard’s new Finder menu commands.]

Another addition to the Go menu, which shows up when you press Shift, is Select Startup Disk on Desktop. At first I was practically thrilled about this—until I realized I had misread its intent: I thought it meant you could select a disk/volume on the Desktop and make it the startup volume—a procedure otherwise necessitating a trip to System Preferences.

But, noooo… All this does is, literally, select the startup disk on your Desktop: if you have more than one volume with an OS on it, and you don’t remember which one is running the show (which one you started up with), choosing this command selects the icon of the startup disk. Big deal. (Did the sarcasm come through?)

TIP: New Finder Commands #6: Go to Desktop


[One of a series regarding Snow Leopard’s new Finder menu commands.]

Snow Leopard has fixed what seemed to some of us a glaring omission in its Go menu—a way to open a window for the Documents folder. Why glaring? Because it’s a folder that gets heavy use—you’re supposed to put all your docs in it, for heaven’s sake!—and because all the other items you can turn on for the sidebar in Finder Preferences have keyboard commands assigned to them.

Of course, Command-Shift-D is already taken by the Go to Desktop option, so, according to a venerable convention of Mac keyboard-command assignments, the second letter of Documents is used for this: Command-Shift-O.