Safari 5: Swapping tab sets in a window


I recently finished my latest ebook, Take Control of Safari 5. Of course, “finished” is a relative term – it goes to an editor or two, and comes back with comments. And it’s a good thing there was a delay of a week or two between when I finished and when it was finished, because in that time period I discovered a trick – totally by accident – that fixed a problem I had given a red Warning! notice to in the penultimate version. Read the rest of this entry »


Finder smart folders and Word documents


“Smart folders” are an under-utilized feature of Mac OS X. You define search criteria and make a smart folder that forever (sort of) after will display all the items that match those criteria (the items aren’t moved into the folder—the “folder” is just a list. But the apparent lack of enthusiasm for smart folders may just be from a lack of understanding the more powerful and flexible features of Spotlight: if you don’t construct complicated search criteria, there’s no need to store them. My recent tips article in Macworld (so recent that I won’t have a URL for it for a day or two – but I have to post this so I’ll have a URL to put in the article!) shows a search construct for recent Word documents, something that must take into account that a general search for Word documents by file type also grabs Word templates and (for Word 2011) settings files, as well as auto-recovery and “work” files. That’s four types of files that you don’t want in your search, two of which need to be excluded by their “Kind” and the other two by their names. Even if you don’t use Word, or need to find Word documents, take a look at all the components of this search setup because it’s infused with all sorts of valuable Finder search techniques. Read the rest of this entry »

Finally, a use for the Help menu’s search field!


I find the search field in the Mac’s Help menu generally useless: it searches only the menu commands in the current application for a match—and a best-guess as to which menu the desired command might be in, followed by a quick scan of the commands in it, is an easy way to find a command whose location has slipped your mind. (Although I suppose you could get lost in InDesign menus…). But the feature seems made for Safari.

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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!

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TIP: Jump to the Finder from an Open Dialog


I love it when I discover something in the Mac interface that’s probably been lurking there for almost ever, and I just didn’t realize it. I don’t even know what prompted me to try this, but the spirit moved me and now I have another trick in my arsenal.

You’re in an Open dialog and you’ve selected something in the list—but is that the item you really want? You’d rather move to the Finder and peruse the folder the item’s in. It’s in a deeply nested folder, though, and you’ll have to do some digging. Or not: with an item selected, press Command-R (mnemonic: “Reveal”) and you’re moved to the Finder with the item’s folder opened.