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15 Mac Hacks You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

15 Mac Hacks You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

The Mac is one of the most powerful and versatile machines on the market today. There are so many great features included with your Mac that it’s nearly impossible to know every single one of them. From taking effortless screen shots to adding emoji to your messages, there’s a lot more to your Mac than meets the eye.

Check out the 15 Mac hacks below that you may have never seen before and get to know your Mac better than ever.

1. Master The Screenshot

Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 11.26.43 AM

    Screenshots on the Mac are pretty awesome, and there are three ways to take a screen shot with your Mac:

    • Command + Shift + 4 and you’ll get a crosshair that you can drag with your mouse to capture exactly what you want.
    • Command + Shift + 4 at the same time and then let them go, then hit the Spacebar. Now you can click on any window you want and take a shot of that entire window, shadow included.
    • Command + Shift + 3 to take a shot of your entire desktop. You’ll get a file for each display connected.

    2. Move The Dock

    First, hit Command + Option + D on your keyboard to instantly hide the Dock. Hit the keys again to bring it back. What if you have two monitors and just want to move the Dock to another display instead of hide it? Just move your mouse to the other display and hold the cursor at the bottom center of the screen. The Dock will jump over and make the new display its home until you do the same action on the original monitor again.

    3. Use Spotlight As A Calculator

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    Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 11.36.48 AM

      If you just need some quick math done, just launch Spotlight by hitting Command + Spacebar and type the problem out. When you’re all done just hit esc and you’re back to what you were doing.

      4. Make A Quick Apple Icon

      Just hit Option + Shift + K to make an Apple icon quickly and easily. You can use this in text messages, emails, Word documents and really anything that allows for keyboard input.

      5. Use An Emoji Keyboard

      Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 11.49.17 AM

        By hitting Command + Control + Spacebar, you can access an emoji keyboard on your keyboard. This doesn’t work in every text entry field, but when texting and emailing it tends to work seamlessly. If you use an emoji where it doesn’t show correctly you’ll see a triangle.

        6. Quickly Delete Files

        All you have to do is select the file, then hit the Command + Delete keys and the file will be moved to the trash. If you want to empty your trash quickly, just hit Command + Shift + Delete and approve the empty. No more files.

        7. Access The Dictionary In A Snap

        You can look up words fairly quickly by using Spotlight to find their definition, but did you know you can actually do this with a few taps of your MacBook touchpad? Just hover over the word in question and tap the touchpad with three fingers. Doing so will pop up the definition as well as a thesaurus entry for the word! Super useful for readers and writers.

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        Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 11.58.25 AM

          8. Create A Signature

          Signing documents electronically can be a major pain. If you have a Macbook with an iSight camera and OS X Yosemite you can create a digital signature and apply it to documents in both Preview and Mail. There’s a few steps involved in this, so check out this post for all the details.

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            9. Disable Notifications

            The Notification Center in OS X is the home for all the apps and websites on your Mac that need to tell you what’s going on, but if you want to disable notifications for your Mac you can click on the Notification Center icon in the OS X Menu Bar and turn on “Do Not Disturb” (DND) in the Today tab.

            Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 12.05.41 PM

              Even quicker, you just hold down the Option button on your keyboard and click the Notification Center icon in the Menu Bar and it will shade itself out. This means DND is turned on.

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              10. Use Incremental Volume Adjustment

              Hold down Shift + Option and hit the volume Up or Down keys to incrementally adjust the volume up or down.

              Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 12.11.26 PM

                11. Use Incremental Brightness Adjustment

                Hold down Shift + Option and hit the brightness up or down and you’ll get an incremental adjustment. This is perfect if you’re trying to attain just the right brightness in a dark room.

                12. Cycle Through Running Apps

                To do this just hit the Command + Tab keys on your keyboard and you’ll be presented with the window seen above. From here you can hold the Command key and cycle through apps by tapping the Tab key. Whatever app you release the Command key on will be selected.

                Screenshot_1_3_15__12_16_PM

                  13. Use Dictation On Your Mac

                  Believe it or not, your Mac can actually take dictation and make writing pretty easy. Out of the box this feature works fairly well, but if you have some extra space on your hard drive, you can do a quick update and make dictation nearly seamless.

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                  Open up System Preferences and click on Dictation & Speech.

                  Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 12.21.03 PM

                    From here, click the radio button next to Dictation so On is selected, and make sure Use Enhanced Dictation is checked. This will allow you to dictate when not connected to the Internet and make it much faster. To activate dictation, press the Fn (Function) key on your keyboard twice quickly.

                    Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 12.24.30 PM

                      14. Batch Rename Files

                      There was a time that you had to use a 3rd party app to rename files en masse on the Mac, but with OS X Yosemite the feature is built in. To batch rename files highlight the files you want to rename and right-click them. In the menu that appears select Rename x Items.

                      Screen Shot 2015-01-03 at 12.26.34 PM

                        You’ll see the rename utility pop up over your files. Just select the formatting you want and click Rename when you’re all done. The files will be renamed and you’re all set.

                        15. Type Special Characters

                        The last tip in our list is pretty important if you ever need to type special characters and letters with accent marks. To access these accent marks for letters, hit and hold the letter you want to see special versions of and OS X will pop up a list of available characters. Choose the one you want by clicking it or by hitting the number that lines up with it.

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                        15 Mac Hacks You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

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                        Last Updated on February 15, 2019

                        7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                        7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                        Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                        Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                        Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                        So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                        Joe’s Goals

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                          Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                          Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                          Daytum

                            Daytum

                            is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                            Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                            Excel or Numbers

                              If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                              What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                              Evernote

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                                I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                                Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                                Access or Bento

                                  If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                                  Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                                  You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                                  Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                                  All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                                  Conclusion

                                  I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                                  What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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