13 things you for­got your Mac could do

Mac Format - - 2016 -

1. Dic­tate off line

OS X Yosemite and El Cap­i­tan sup­port off­line dic­ta­tion (Moun­tain Lion and ear­lier re­quire an in­ter­net con­nec­tion). You’ll have to down­load an ad­di­tional batch of data though, which for English-lan­guage users to­tals around 440MB. Press ƒ twice to start dic­ta­tion and then se­lect the op­tion to en­able En­hanced Dic­ta­tion and press OK to start the down­load.

2. Type spe­cial char­ac­ters eas­ily

You’ll al­ready know that hold­ing å, ≈ or ß with cer­tain keys lets you type spe­cial sym­bols, but a lot of fonts in­clude char­ac­ters that aren’t di­rectly ac­ces­si­ble this way. To make find­ing them eas­ier, add the Char­ac­ter Viewer to the menu bar by open­ing the Key­board pane in Sys­tem Pref­er­ences, click­ing its Key­board tab, and then check­ing the box be­side ‘Show Key­board, Emoji & Sym­bol View­ers in menu bar’. Click the new menu bar icon and pick ‘Show Emoji and Sym­bols’ to call up the viewer, find the char­ac­ter you want to use and drag it into your doc­u­ment or dou­ble-click it to en­ter it at the in­ser­tion point’s lo­ca­tion.

3. Share work with your iOS de­vice

If you’re us­ing an iOS 8 or iOS 9 app that has an OS X Yosemite or El Cap­i­tan equiv­a­lent (or vice versa) you can hand off tasks be­tween de­vices, as long as they’re signed in to the same iCloud ac­count. On the Mac, an app’s icon ap­pears to the left of the Dock, ready to be clicked, while on iOS you’ll find a prompt at the bot­tom of the app switcher, wait­ing to be tapped. Hand­off needs a Mac and an iOS de­vice listed at http://ap­ple.co/1I34axX, and to be en­abled in Sys­tem Pref­er­ences’ Gen­eral pane and on iOS in Set­tings > Gen­eral > Hand­off & Sug­gested Apps.

4. Re­verse scroll di­rec­tion

OS X Lion in­tro­duced ‘nat­u­ral scrolling’, which scrolls con­tents so that it tracks the di­rec­tion of your fin­ger move­ment. It’s log­i­cal, but if you switch be­tween OS X and Win­dows or Linux you might want to re­verse it so that all of your com­put­ers match. Click Mouse or Track­pad in Sys­tem Pref­er­ences and uncheck ‘Scroll di­rec­tion: nat­u­ral’.

With ev­ery re­fresh in­tro­duc­ing great new fea­tures, it’s easy to

forget about some of OS X’s ex­ist­ing and in­valu­able tools

5. Re­in­state Dash­board

Dash­board has fallen out of favour of late (we’re still hop­ing to see it rein­car­nated as a place for run­ning iOS apps). If you still want to use it and it’s not show­ing up in Yosemite or El Cap­i­tan, re­in­state it by open­ing the Mis­sion Con­trol pane in Sys­tem Pref­er­ences and turn­ing on the Dash­board op­tion.

6. Open hid­den menus

You’ll al­ready know that click­ing the sta­tus icons on the right of the menu bar lets you pull down menus for chang­ing the vol­ume and switch­ing Wi-Fi net­works, but did you know that do­ing the same while press­ing å on the key­board opens up a world of ex­tra op­tions and hid­den info? å- click Blue­tooth, for in­stance, and you can see the MAC ad­dresses of your de­vices and cre­ate a di­ag­nos­tics re­port to help in­ves­ti­gate prob­lems; on the vol­ume icon, this lets you re­di­rect the out­put to al­ter­na­tive speak­ers; å- click­ing the Wi-Fi icon shows a raft of in­for­ma­tion about con­nec­tion speed, chan­nel and so on, all of which helps when you’re try­ing to se­lect the best con­nec­tion among com­pet­ing net­works. å- click­ing No­ti­fi­ca­tion Cen­tre’s icon tog­gles Do Not Dis­turb off or on.

7. Tap your track­pad

Ap­ple’s pref­er­ence is for phys­i­cally click­ing a track­pad (as such, it’s the only way you can se­lect a user ac­count at the lo­gin win­dow). How­ever, we pre­fer gen­tle, quiet tap­ping. If you’re like us, open the Track­pad pane in Sys­tem Pref­er­ences and check the box be­side Tap to click in the Point & Click tab.

8. De­tach the Dock

If you’re run­ning Google Hang­outs, or any­thing else that pops up no­ti­fi­ca­tions from the bot­tom of the screen, you run the risk of un­in­ten­tion­ally drop­ping some­thing – per­haps a file des­tined for the Trash – into your Hang­outs stream. To re­lo­cate the Dock, ≈- click its di­vider and se­lect Left or Right from the Po­si­tion on Screen sub­menu.

9. Change your de­fault ap­pli­ca­tions

Don’t like Sa­fari? Then don’t use it. Chang­ing your de­fault web browser is easy: open Sys­tem Pref­er­ences, click Gen­eral and pick one from the list of browsers in­stalled on your Mac. If you want to use some­thing other than Mail for han­dling email, launch Mail (yes, we know!), open its pref­er­ences, switch to the Gen­eral tab and pick an op­tion from the pop-up list of in­stalled apps la­belled ‘De­fault email reader’. You can’t spec­ify a web­mail ser­vice, so if you rou­tinely use Gmail out­side of an app, con­sider in­stalling some­thing like Go for Gmail (free, Mac App Store). To switch your de­fault in­stant mes­sag­ing app, open Mes­sages’ Gen­eral pref­er­ences, and make a choice from the list la­belled ‘De­fault IM ap­pli­ca­tion’.

10. Cap­ture shots of the screen

Take a screen­shot by press­ing ç+ß+3. Cap­ture an area of the screen by press­ing ç+ß + 4 and then drag­ging the crosshairs through that area. The im­age will be snapped as soon as you release the mouse or track­pad but­ton. To cap­ture a win­dow, press ç+ß+4 fol­lowed by the Space­bar and then click on what you want to grab.

11 Force Quit

If an app freezes, open the Force Quit win­dow by press­ing å+ç+oe. Se­lect the un­re­spon­sive app and then click Force Quit. If you’re cer­tain which app is the prob­lem, hold å+ ç and click its Dock icon, then choose Force Quit.

12. Switch Spa­ces

You can move apps from one (work)space to an­other by press­ing the Mis­sion Con­trol key (F3) to shrink their win­dows and then drag­ging them to an­other space to the row at the top of the screen. If you only want to move them one space left or right of where they al­ready are, it’s eas­ier to drag from a win­dow’s ti­tle bar all the way to the left or right edge of the desk­top, avoid­ing Mis­sion Con­trol en­tirely.

13. Vol­ume vari­a­tions

If you’ve unchecked the op­tion ‘Play feed­back when vol­ume is changed’ in your Mac’s Sound pref­er­ences, hold­ing ß while press­ing the vol­ume keys tem­po­rar­ily re-en­ables the pre­view sound un­til you release the key. Hold­ing ß+å lets you make smaller changes, mov­ing up or down the scale by a quar­ter-step rather than the usual full step you’ll jump with the vol­ume keys alone.

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