OS X Tips and shortcuts

This is a discussion on OS X Tips and shortcuts within the OS X How-To's, Tutorials, Tips & Tricks forums, part of the Mac OS X category; If you want quickly expand (or minimize) all of the detail sections within a Get Info window, just Option-click a single arrow . Instead of ...

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Thread: OS X Tips and shortcuts

  1. #21
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    Expand or Shrink All Details in Get Info Windows with an Option Click




    If you want quickly expand (or minimize) all of the detail sections within a Get Info window, just Option-click a single arrow. Instead of only expanding (or shrinking) that subheader section, all detailed sections will expand or shrink concurrently.

    This may be an addition to OS X Lion only, at the least I didn’t know about it before Lion existed.

    Update:

    It is actually 10.5 and later.
    I just read that.
    12-26-11

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  3. #22
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    Use Finder Back & Forward Buttons to Show Folder History in Mac OS X Lion





    The Back and Forward buttons in Mac OS X Lion’s Finder work much like their respective buttons in Safari or another browser, that is, they now track folder history.

    After you’ve visited several folders, click and hold on the Back button to display a pull-down menu of the past directories you have recently been at. The Forward button works the same way, with a held click showing the history forward, although the forward directories generally only exist after you have gone backward, again functioning like a web browser.

    The folder history doesn’t follow the traditional parent/child hierarchy, if you jumped directly to a single folder deeply embedded in the Finder, the Back button will show nothing. In this case, hitting Command + Up Arrow will always go to the parent directory of the currently active folder though.
    12-27-11

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    Remove Shadows from Mac OS X (Lion Too)




    Ever wanted to remove shadows from windows, menus, and box items in Mac OS X? You can with a free tool called ShadowKiller, and it works in Mac OS X 10.7 too. All you need to do is launch the app, the screen will flicker briefly, and all on screen windows will appear shadowless. You can get the shadows back by just relaunching the app again. If you want to have the window shadows always disabled, you’ll need to throw ShadowKiller into Login Items.

    Download Shadowkiller for free from Unsanity

    Why would you want to do this? At this point it’s probably a matter of preference, but Shadowkiller was created to speed up performance of Mac OS X on older and slower hardware, and it reportedly works fairly well for that purpose. Frankly, leaving window and box shadows enabled looks much better, so unless you have a compelling reason to do so, you’ll probably want to keep them around.

    Remember this disables the window and menu shadows all the time, not exclusively in screen captures. For the latter, you can disable the shadow in screenshots only with a defaults write command or by using Grab or the Terminal to take a one-off screenshot minus the 3D look.
    12-27-11

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    Show an iOS App in the Mac OS X Finder




    We recently showed you where iOS apps are stored locally on the computer, but if you just want to quickly access that folder or get to a single app in the Mac OS X Finder, you can do so with a right-click within iTunes:

    Open iTunes and click on “Apps” under the library listing

    Right-click on the app icon and choose “Show in Finder”

    The Mobile Applications folder will immediately open with the selected app highlighted. These .ipa files can then be backed up manually and copied to other computers that are authorized with the same iTunes account that originally purchased the app.

    12-28-11

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    How to Check Wireless Signal Strength and Optimize WiFi Networks in Mac OS X Lion




    Wi-Fi Diagnostics is an incredibly useful utility to troubleshoot and optimize any wireless network and the signal strength of computers that are connecting to it. This utility comes bundled in Mac OS X Lion and works with all wireless routers and not only the Apple branded ones, meaning you can improve the performance of just about any wifi network by using it and making some adjustments along the way. It’s easy to use and we’ll walk you through the process of getting the best wireless signal using the app, but first we have to uncover the tool itself.

    The Wi-Fi Diagnostics app is buried within Mac OS X 10.7, here’s how to access it:

    From the OS X desktop, hit Command+Shift+G and enter the following path:
    /System/Library/CoreServices/

    Sort alphabetically and find “Wi-Fi Diagnostics”, if you plan to use the app even somewhat frequently it’s recommended to drag Wi-Fi Diagnostics into Launchpad for easy access
    With Wi-Fi Diagnostics now in the easier to access Launchpad… wpen Wi-Fi Diagnostics.app and check the radiobox next to “Monitor wireless performance” then click on the “Continue” button.






    Now is when the fun begins. The chart you see is a live wireless signal strength and noise meter, you want the yellow signal strength bar to be as high as possible. Pay attention to the green line of noise as well, you want that to be as low as possible in relation to the yellow line of signal strength.






    If the signal strength is high and noise is low, you’re already good and you don’t need to change much. For most of us, signal will be lower than we want it to be, depending on where the wireless router is stored in relation to our computer gear.

    Here are some tips to try out and to improve signal strength, keep an eye on the signal as you make adjustments:

    Tweak the physical antennas on the wireless router and aim them in different directions

    Move the wireless router away from walls, fireplaces, etc – even just a foot or two of space can make a big difference

    Move the wifi router away from TV’s, microwaves, refrigerators, and other electronics that may interfere with signal

    Relocate the Mac in relation to the router, this is obviously easiest with a MacBook Air or Pro

    Once you have arrived at a reasonable compromise to how your hardware is physically configured and signal strength, enjoy your newly optmized wifi network.






    Some important things to remember here: not all internet connections are capable of transferring data at optimum wireless speeds, so you may not notice much of a difference in internet connectivity speed if any at all with these adjustments. This basically means that a weaker wireless signal may be more than adequate to transfer data at your ISP’s maximum bandwidth. Regardless, you’ll want the noise level to be as low as possible, since large amounts of wifi network noise can result in lost packets, reduced speeds, quirky behavior, random wireless connection dropping, and a variety of other problems.

    If a wireless network is configured well and you continue to have problems with connectivity, check out some of our past articles on resolving such issues:

    Solution to common Mac OS X Lion wi-fi problems

    Tips to troubleshoot & fix dropping Wi-Fi connections in OS X Lion

    General guide on Mac wireless network troubleshooting

    Using Wi-Fi Diagnostics I discovered my wireless signal to be much weaker when keeping the wifi router out of sight behind an LCD TV, simply moving the router away from the TV a few feet dramatically boosted signal strength. Run the app yourself and see what kind of performance boost you can get by adjusting your own wifi network.
    12-28-11

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    Move Apps Out of the Applications Folder in OS X Lion




    Have you noticed when you try and move an application out of the /Applications folder in Mac OS X Lion you will end up creating an alias of the app instead? This is a security feature that is new to Lion, intended to help prevent accidentally deleting or moving apps, and in some ways it’s convenient way to quickly make an app alias.

    If you want to move an app out of the Applications folder, hold down the Command key while dragging the app.

    You will continue to need to enter the administrator password if you attempt to uninstall an app by dragging it into the Trash though.
    12-29-11

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    Manage Clipboard History in Mac OS X with ClipMenu




    ClipMenu is an awesome free clipboard history manager for Mac OS X that keeps track of nearly anything copied into the clipboard, ranging from plain and rich text, URLs, images, even files. ClipMenu defaults to remember 20 items but can be set to whatever you want, each clipboard item is then stored for easy retrieval from the menu. Just select an item from the menu and it gets copied into your active clipboard buffer ready to be pasted or used elsewhere.

    Rather not add another menu item to OS X? No problem, you can have ClipMenu enabled but the menu hidden, instead opting for the history manager to be accessible via a keyboard shortcut instead (default is Command+Shift+V). Hit the key combo and a contextual menu will pop up anywhere the mouse is located. The app also supports saving “Snippets” of data that you use or access frequently for pasting, these are stored outside of the standard clipboard history and can be also be retrieved by a keyboard shortcut.

    ClipMenu is powerful yet easy to use, and surprisingly customizable, right down to the menubar icon itself. It even works fine with the command line pbcopy and pbpaste tools. If there is a better clipboard manager for Mac OS X, I haven’t seen it.

    Download ClipMenu for free – compatible with OS X Lion and Snow Leopard

    Do yourself a favor and download ClipMenu, set it to launch at Login, and never lose another copied item to the clipboard again.








    12-30-11

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    Burn Folders And How To Use Them




    A burn folder is specifically used to assist the user in burning documents to optical media.

    The uniqueness of the burn folder is it will create shortcuts to your original files or folders. As such each time you make a change to a file or add documents into a folder and then proceed to burn onto a disc. The latest edition of changes or new files will be burnt.

    This is extremely helpful for users who burn multiple copies of files and folders or users who modify files and folders on a regular basis and need to burn to optical media for backup or forwarding on to other people.

    In order to create a burn folder simply go to your finder and go to any area on your hard drive and choose File-New Burn Folder.

    Give the folder a name and then proceed to drag and drop files and folders into that burn folder.

    As an alias will be created for each file and folder. You can easily rename or delete anything within that burn folder without the worry of deleting your important files.

    Please note you can not create a burn folder inside of an existing burn folder.

    Once your files are ready simply insert your blank media, click burn and follow the onscreen instructions.

    Once the burn has completed you can get back to work making modifications on those files or folders knowing they will automatically be updated on the next disc you burn.
    12-31-11

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    Manage Drives & Mounted Volumes from the Mac OS X Menu Bar with FreeSpaceTab




    FreeSpaceTab is a free utility that lets you manage hard disks and mounted volumes directly from the Mac OS X menu bar.

    With an attractive and simple GUI, you can pull the menu down to see all mounted drives and partitions, arranged by volume type (local drives, disk images, network volumes, etc) as well as free space available on each volume. Drives can ejected on a per disk basis, or mass ejected if you want to unmount everything. Also nice, the menubar icon itself can be set to display available disk space on the default boot volume, allowing for an quick way to see available drive capacity.

    These menubar apps are especially useful if you hide the Mac OS X desktop to reduce clutter, because they give you information and functionality that you’d otherwise need to access the desktop or a Finder window for.

    Download FreeSpace Tab from the Mac App Store (free)

    FreeSpaceTab is a better solution than the recently discussed a hidden eject menu that can be enabled in Mac OS X, containing additional functionality as well as the ability to eject disks. All in all a worthwhile app to download, check it out.

    12-31-11

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    Enable a Hidden Disc Eject Menu in OS X




    If you use a lot of DVD’s or CD’s on a regular basis, you may find some use enabling a hidden disk eject menu item. Once enabled, you’ll have a Finder pull down menu that lists discs, and selecting a disk from the menu ejects it:

    Hit Command+Shift+G to bring up the Go To Folder window, using the following path:

    /System/Library/CoreServices/Menu Extras/

    Locate and double-click the menu item named “Eject.menu

    To remove the Eject menu, just hold down the Command key and drag it out of the Mac OS X menu bar.

    The Disk Eject menu works in OS X Lion but is probably only going to be useful for Mac owners who have a CD or DVD drive, because it doesn’t seem to show external USB devices in testing. It also seems to be connected to the same eject mechanism of just dragging a disk to the Trash, so if you have a stuck disc it’s probably not going to be as effective as a forced eject.

    On a side note, once you’re in the Menu Extras folder you will find a variety of other menu bar items you can add by double-clicking. Most of these are also available by enabling various settings in System Preferences, but Eject seems to be unavailable elsewhere.

    12-28-11

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