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9 Most Useful Built-in Tools In Mac That You May Have Forgotten

9 Most Useful Built-in Tools In Mac That You May Have Forgotten

Mac OS X comes with a number of practical and versatile built-in tools, which can help enhance productivity and simplify your tasks. We often end up overlooking some of these easily available and handy features, which are jam packed with potential. Here is my cheat sheet of the top 10 default tools that you may have forgotten about.

1. Grapher

Access: Finder – Utilities – Applications – Grapher

For math geeks as well as those intimidated by equations, Grapher is a powerful tool to visualize pesky formulae. The software sketches out 2D and 3D graphs in seconds from any mathematical equation. In fact, it can chart multiple equations at once. The interface is simple with three panes: equation editor on the top, equation list on the left, and the graph area. Use the Inspector button on the top right corner to change colors, line type and other attributes of the graph. Eliminate dabbling with your paper and pen, and add Grapher to your list of must-use applications.

Grapher2

    2. Dictation

    Access: Apple – System Preferences – Dictation & Speech

    Available in Mac OS X Mountain Lion and later versions, you can use Dictation to speak to your Mac and translate words into text. You have to be explicit with punctuations – like saying aloud ‘comma, ‘quotation mark’, ‘all caps’ or ‘new line’ will do as the name implies. The computer will listen to your dictation for 30 seconds at a time. OS X Mavericks also offers Enhanced Dictation without an active internet connection.

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    Dictation2

      3. Automator

      Access: Finder – Applications – Automator

      With Automator, you no longer have to repeat your daily and tedious tasks.  Many users shy away from this tool because it looks difficult to implement at first glance. But once you get the hang of it, it can significantly reduce the time taken for mundane activities. To name a few of its features, you can rename multiple files or images at once, automatically quit applications at designated days and times and convert a text file into audio in no time.

      Automator

        4. Screen Sharing

        Access: Apple – System Preferences – Sharing

        This robust and user friendly feature lets you connect to another Mac on your network and display its screen on your computer. It’s helpful when you want to remotely trouble shoot on a parent’s computer, collaborate on a project and access your home Mac on the go. If you have an iCloud account, you can use Back to Mac to share a Mac screen on a remote network as well.

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        ScreenSharing2

          5. Podcast Publisher

          Access: Finder – Applications – Utilities – Podcast Publisher

          Podcast Publisher enables you to record audio and video podcasts of professional quality. I particularly enjoy ‘trimming’, an editing feature that aids in removing unnecessary parts of my clip. For some of us, creating content is the easy part but distributing it efficiently is a taller task at hand.  With this application, you can easily share your podcast to iTunes, email it to another person, save it on your desktop or publish it on the Podcast Library. You can also record your Mac’s screen real time to demo something instantly.

          PodcastPublisher

            6. Preview

            Access: Finder – Applications – Preview

            Preview is probably the most underrated and unspoken treasures in the Mac OS X. Aside from the the basic PDF viewing utility, it is equipped with a host of other functionalities.  You can annotate files, insert new pages, magnify a specific portion of the document and sign PDFs without printing them. Besides, you can crop, rotate and resize popular image files such as JPEG, TIFF, GIF and PNG.

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            Preview2

              7. Terminal

              Access: Finder – Applications – Utilities – Terminal

              Analogous to the Windows command prompt, Terminal lets you communicate directly with the core of the Mac. It is more powerful than Automator and has a whooping number of useful features, that makes it worth even for a casual Mac user to learn a few basic commands. Have you ever been unsuccessful in permanently deleting a file because its locked and you can’t identify the culprit? Terminal will do it in a second using the ‘rm’ command. Want to have some fun and make your Mac talk to you? Use the ‘say’ command in Terminal.

              Refer to a more exhaustive list of Terminal commands here.

              8. Boot Camp Assistant

              Access: Finder – Applications – Utilities – Boot Camp Assistant

              Sometimes the most loyal Apple supporters need Windows on their Mac, be it for customized office software or the latest PC games. Boot Camp lets you choose between Windows and Mac OS X when you turn on your computer.  It will create the necessary Windows partition without erasing your existing OS X data. But remember, you still have to buy the Windows license!

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              BootcampAssistant

                9. Wi-Fi Diagnostics

                Access: Finder – Go – System – Library – CoreServices – Wi-Fi Diagnostics

                Diagnostics is a shy and lonesome tool but does wonders by tweaking your Wi-Fi for optimal performance. It monitors signal strength and noise by providing a real-time graph. Observing what makes your signal drop from time to time can prove to be an addictive pastime! If anyone attempts to connect to your network, the Record Events function logs it along with the date and time. For those into debugging a network, the Capture Raw Frames can seize all traffic on the wireless network for later analysis.

                Diagnostics

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                  Published on September 20, 2018

                  11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

                  11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

                  In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

                  Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

                  In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

                  Minimizing Tabs

                  Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

                  Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

                  Incognito Mode

                  Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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                  1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
                  2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
                  3. Download extension New Incognito Window

                  This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

                  Save Webpages as PDF Files

                  Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

                  Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

                  Open Recently-closed Tabs

                  Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

                  One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

                  The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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                  Solve Mathematical Problems

                  Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

                  For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

                  Play Media Files

                  Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

                  In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

                  Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

                  With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

                  Stay Focus(e)d

                  Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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                  Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

                  With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

                  This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

                  Grammarly for Editing

                  Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

                  You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

                  Loom

                  There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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                  There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

                  With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

                  Chrome Calendar Extension

                  No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

                  Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

                  Final Thoughts

                  Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

                  Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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