@ilegal blogs

Mac Kung Fu

Someone said to me many years ago that the less you need to use your mouse, the more adept at using a computer you are. She didn’t call me Grasshopper but, whether right or wrong, it stuck with me. Although I use a Trackpad rather than a mouse these days, I’ve noticed that I can maintain my train of thought more easily and, get things done much more quickly, with the little tips and corner-cutting tricks you pick up over time

So, here are a few little bits of Macintosh Kung Fu that I particularly like myself. They’re either just handy to know or, can seriously speed up your workflow

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 

Ever needed to hide what you’re looking at – quickly remove all open windows from the screen? It’s a doddle: hit Command + H. Try it. Click on the app’s icon in the Dock to bring it back up as it was

Fists of Fury

I frequently take screen shots, usually when I think something in my browser might be deleted and I want to keep a shot of it ‘for the record’. To take a shot of your entire screen, hit Command+Shift+3. It will take the shot and then nicely drop it as a on your desktop as a PNG file. It’s fast and it’s neat

To take a shot of a selected area, hit Command+Shift+4. This activates your mouse cursor, which you can then drag and select whatever it is on your screen you want to keep a shot of. Don’t forget also the useful little ‘Grab’ application (in your utilities folder), which lets you do the same things but, in addition, take shots of selected windows, timed shots etc

Once you have your shots (through whichever means) you can crop, rotate and do other basic editing on them and/or save as different file types using Preview

Seven Samurai

Quick keyboard shortcuts: select the text or object, hit Command+C to copy and then Command+V to paste it elsewhere. Command+B is one I use a lot (emboldens selected text), Command+I (italics), also Command+A (select all), Command+Z (undo – back one step). Another one I use a lot, especially when I’ve lots of apps open is Command+Q, which closes whichever app happens to be in the foreground

There are TONS of other keyboard shortcuts out there and plenty of sites and webpages that list them, here’s one I just turned up on Google

Kung Fu Hustle 

Also known as ‘selecting multiple files that are not sequential in a list’. This is incredibly handy when you want to perform bulk actions with lots of different files but, for whatever reason, they are not all listed next to each other

Just hold the Command key down whilst selecting each of the files individually (mouse or trackpad click on each as you would normally select a file). Once you’ve got your lot, perform your action eg delete them all or move them or copy and paste them elsewhere

I use it often in Finder but have found it also works just as well in Outlook for Mac (2011) when selecting multiple emails that aren’t sequential

Ip Man

There are a few ways of seeing what applications you have open. This one allows you to both see them and to very quickly cycle through them, selecting the one you settle on. Very handy, as it means your fingers never even need to leave the keyboard. Hit Command+Tab. This brings up all your open apps, which you can then cycle through by continuing to hit tab (whilst keeping Command held down)

Enter The Dragon

There are plenty of ways to open an app and you will no doubt have settled into one habit or another. Here’s a very very quick way and yes, I know you keep your main apps in the Dock for easy access but, occasionally, you’ll want to open something that isn’t in there and saving a few seconds could be the difference between life and frustration!

Hit Command+Spacebar. This brings up Spotlight – start typing the name of the app you want and just hit Return when selected. Spotlight automatically gives you likely candidates so it’s quicker than you think. Try it!


Use ‘Column view’ in Finder? Get annoyed with how narrow the default column width is and how many times you have to extend the columns to see the full file-name? Well, the solution is at hand and, it’s easy

Before adjusting your column width, hold down the Option key (usually to the left of the Command key and may also have ‘alt’ written on it (I’m using a Mac keyboard with USB connection to the iMac – I blew my wireless one up using mixed strength batteries)

Whilst holding it down, drag the column width to the desired width. Let go and, hey presto, you’ve set a new default column width so it will remain like this unless you go and adjust it again

Well, I hope there is at least one here that proves useful to you! If you have any good ones yourself by all means share your wisdom in the replies. Thanks for reading

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This entry was posted on October 9, 2012 by in Apple including iOS, Useful tools and tagged , , , .
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