Opening apps on your Mac
EXPLORE THE MANY WAYS TO OPEN YOUR PREFERRED SOFTWARE.
WHAT’S BETTER THAN having an app able to handle whatever kind of file you want to open? Answer: having a choice of ways to run your apps. Such flexibility is one of the characteristics of the Mac, enabling it to suit whatever you need to do right now or the way you like to work.
So to find an app you want, you can browse the Applications folder in Finder, and create desktop aliases or add favourites to the Dock for easy access. If you’re more familiar with iPad or iPhone, the macOS Launchpad presents large app icons in an iOS-like grid. You can use Spotlight or Siri to find apps for you. To open a file with a specific app, drag-and-drop the file onto the app icon or alias in Finder or the Dock.
At the other end of the scale, you can use the Terminal utility to launch apps from the command line, or to open files with a specific app. To run an app, type the open command, for example: “open/Applications/Mail.app”. Add ‘-a’ to open a named file with a specific app, for instance: “open -a Preview ~/Pictures/ pumpkins.jpg”.
If you’re a keyboard fan but don’t feel ready for Terminal commands, consider setting up app shortcuts to open selected items using a key combination. To do this, create a Service using Automator, another tool that comes free with your Mac, then set up a keyboard shortcut for the Service in System Preferences (see steps 8–9 opposite).
How about not having to open apps yourself at all? You can configure your Mac to open specified apps automatically when you log in to your user account, so they’re already running when you need them. Go to ‘System Preferences > Users & Groups’, and click the Login Items tab for your user account. (You can also do this for other user accounts you manage.) Click the plus sign beneath the right-hand pane to add an app. Click the Hide checkbox next to an app if you want its windows to be hidden even though it has launched in the background.