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Power Up Your Mac With These Simple Hacks

Power Up Your Mac With These Simple Hacks

These simple Mac hacks will help you be more productive in OSX. By learning keyboard shortcuts, built in applications, and the Terminal, you will change the way you work, for the better. I’ve rounded up some of the simple hacks that I’ve found most useful over the years, and a few of the more obscure ones that are not as scary as they look.

Keyboard shortcuts

There a lots of keyboard shortcuts that make navigating your Mac easier, quicker and more productive. Here are the most useful:

The basics

  • ⌃CTRL + C for copying to the clipboard
  • ⌃CTRL + X for cutting to the clipboard
  • ⌃CTRL + V for pasting form the clipboard
  • ⌘CMD + ARROW LEFT for jumping to the beginning of a line
  • ⌘CMD + ARROW RIGHT for jumping to the end of a line
  • ⌘CMD + ⇧SHIFT + ARROW LEFT for highlighting everything to the left of the cursor
  • ⌘CMD + ⇧SHIFT + ARROW RIGHT for highlighting everything to the right of the cursor
  • ⌘CMD + A to select everything
  • ⌘CMD + Z to undo the last operation
  • ⌘CMD + ⇧SHIFT + Z to redo the last undo
  • CMD + SHIFT + 3 to save the screen as a PNG image file
  • CMD + SHIFT + 4 to save a portion of the screen as a PNG image file

Pasting without style

When you copy and past text, usually the style is retained as well. Sometimes, you only want to copy the text, and match the style of the sentence that you are pasting into. Instead of pasting into a text editor first and then copying again from there, use this shortcut. Hold down ⌘CMD + ⌥OPTION + ⇧SHIFT + V

Fine tune volume

To adjust the volume in smaller (than normal) increments hold down ⇧SHIFT and ⌥OPTION + F11 (or F12).

Silently adjust the volume

To adjust the volume without making that annoying clicking sound hold down ⇧SHIFT + F11 (or F12)

Quickly delete a file

This is probably my most used shortcut (after copy and paste). Hold down ⌘CMD + DELETE to quickly put files in the Trash.

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Use the delete button (like a PC)

If you’ve come to the Mac from a PC you might find it more than a little odd that you can only delete “backwards.” If you want to delete the characters to the right of the cursor hold down Fn + DELETE

Silently booting your Mac

Avoid the start-up sound when booting up your Mac by hold down the mute button (F10).

More audio options from the Volume icon

I make music on my Mac and this little hack is invaluable to me. Hold down ⌥OPTION and click the Volume icon to get all of the input and output options available.

Instant access to a dictionary and thesaurus

This is a newer mac hack that everybody should know about. Hold down ⌃CTRL + ⌘CMD + D while your cursor is over some text and a lovely little popup appears with a definition, a Wikipedia entry and alternative words via a thesaurus.

Terminal

The terminal in your Mac is one of the those scary places that feels like only the advanced users should tread. A few simple terminal hacks can save you a lot of time in the long run, so we’ll be careful and keep it simple.

You can find the Terminal app in your Utilities folder in Applications. Generally, with Terminal based hacks you will need to log out and then back in again.

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Free up your memory

If you feel that your Mac is running a little slow it could be that you need to free up some memory. Type “purge” into the Terminal and press return. If you want to see what is what is going on you can have open Activity Monitor at the same time. You might find it easier to use a small application like Memory Clean which makes this process even simpler and more visual.

Change default screen shot image format

Being able to grab the screen as an image is great and for most people saving in the PNG image format is fine. However some people have a preference for JPG or even PDF. With this quick hack you can change which format you want to default to.

Type:

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type file-extension

Where “file-extension” is, either jpg or png or pdf.

Where are my screen shots saved?

I find it really useful to have a folder called “screenshots” in my “Pictures” folder. Whenever I take a screen shot images get nicely organised into this folder instead of mixed in with my Desktop.

First make sure that you create a folder called “screenshots” in your Pictures folder and then type:

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defaults write com.apple.screencapture location /Users/myname/Pictures/screenshots

Application hacks

Display the date in the menu bar

How many times have you clicked the day and time to get today’s date? It’s such a simple hack. Open up Preferences, click the Date & Time icon and then click the Clock tab. Check the “Show date” box. It will instantly update the menu bar.

Date in the menu bar

    Date in the menu bar

    Instant access to foreign characters

    If you hold down a key (such as “a”) you will get a pop up with alternative versions of that character for different languages. Simply choose the one that you require by pressing the right number.

     

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    Instant access to special characters

      Instant access to special characters

      Tweet selected text instantly

      On Macs running Mountain Lion and later, you can tweet almost any text on your Mac easily. Select the text, right click it, and select Tweet (sometimes you may find it in the “services” sub menu). That’s it. Try it now on one of these hacks!

      Tweeting by right clicking

        Tweeting by right clicking

        Repair disk permissions

        When your Mac shuts down unexpectedly or a third party installer has been run, your Mac’s folder and file permissions can get a little screwed up. Generally, you won’t notice but it can affect the performance of your system. Launch the “Disk Utility” application, found in the Utilities folder inside your Applications folder.

        Repair disk permissions

          Repair disk permissions

          Summary

          I really hope that you find these useful. I know I certainly do. Of course there’s hundreds more hacks, if you have any more that you think I’ve missed, are more importnant, or that we should know about please share them in the comments.

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          Published on November 9, 2018

          How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

          How to Improve Your Computer Skills to Get Ahead in Your Career

          Technology has taken the business world by storm. People and businesses are progressively reliant on technology world these days. As a result, the people with impressive knowledge and experience with a computer are in demand.

          Considering this growing market trend, if you too wish to bag a profitable job, this article is apt for you. Here, we will dig deeper into the business and technology world to look into what are the best computer skills one should invest in and what resources to get help from.

          So, are you ready? Here we begin.

          6 Most-In Demand Computer Skills This Year (and Beyond)

          When talking about computer skills, following are the 6 computer skills that can fill your mailbox with endless job opportunities (besides, having an English and Hindi typing speed of 40+ WPM):-

          1. Spreadsheets and Databases

          Considering the treasure trove of data companies are handling these days, Spreadsheet and Database management skill tops the list. It is considered the most wanted job skill in the market, with a salary of around $53,129/yr for an entry-level position. However, the spreadsheet skill does not confine to auditing data from cells.

          To get hired based on this computer skill, you need to become a Spreadsheet ninja. From storing data to organizing them, applying complex mathematics formulas, and creating complex macros, you need to be an expert at all.

          In other words, you need to have an expertise at working with:

          • Microsoft Excel
          • Microsoft Access
          • Statistics
          • Data Analytics
          • Adobe Campaign
          • Quickbooks
          • XML Database management system
          • Filemaker Pro
          • MATLAB
          • Hive
          • FORTRAN
          • RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
          • SAS

          2. Social Media, Email, and Blogging

          Though people are socially active, not everyone knows how to use the social media tools on the professional front. In such a scenario, having an expertise at writing engaging yet professional emails, writing blogs, and managing social media activities is a ticket to entry in reputed organizations.

          Some of the skills related to social media, email and blogging that will have a leg up in the hiring process are:

          • Content Management System (CMS)
          • Google Analytics
          • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS)
          • Email Marketing
          • Web Page Design
          • WordPress
          • Digital Media
          • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
          • Campaign Management Software

          3. Graphic Design and Word Processing

          A solid grasp of skills to present the gained information in the much readable form is another market need. When considering this computer skill category, you need to enhance your skills at:

          • Adobe Photoshop
          • Adobe InDesign
          • Adobe Illustrator
          • AutoCAD
          • CorelDRAW
          • Microsoft Visual Studio
          • Maya
          • Microsoft Word
          • Microsoft Publisher
          • Operating Digital Cameras

          4. Software and Hardware Design and Development

          The Software and Hardware development, in simpler language, means designing, implementing, and testing the computer software/hardware applications. It is the most profitable computer skill, with a different job opening, including Software Architect, Software Analyst, Software programmer, Hardware configuration, etc.

          To be capable of developing and testing the software and hardware, you need to peruse your users’ needs and build an application that hits their pain points. You need to work with different web and mobile app coding languages for gaining the attention of your audience, some of which are:

          • HTML
          • C/C++
          • Java
          • Python
          • XML
          • UI/UX
          • LINUX
          • CISC and RISC architecture
          • Embedded Processor Hardware Design
          • Memory Management
          • PCB Layout
          • SQL

          5. IT Troubleshooting

          Working on computers is one thing and having a knack of looking into the associated issues and resolving them in real-time is another. There are various employees and graduates who work with computer systems in their daily lives, but get confused when it comes to dealing with frozen programs and performing routine maintenance.

          So, if you are familiar with the basic anatomy of computers and machines and know the tricks to perform such tasks to streamline the working process, enter the IT support arena. The prime IT troubleshooting skills one needs to work upon are:

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          • Backup management
          • Diagnostics
          • End User support
          • Client-Server management
          • Installation and configuration
          • Issue tracking system (ITS)
          • System administration
          • Tech support

          6. Enterprise Systems

          Many Enterprises have their own enterprise solutions like PeopleSoft for managing their data and operations.

          Becoming a master at using the enterprise solutions mentioned in their ‘Requirements’ area can also lessen the barrier to get a job.

          The Roadmap to Excel Your Computer Skills

          Now that you know the 6 most popular computer skills in the market, the first decision, you need to take is which computer skill you want to work upon. All the skills are equally considerable for making a career ahead. So, choose one as per your interest.

          Once done, look forward to the following resources for boosting your computer skills and getting a reputed, handsome job.

          Depending on the computer skill you opt, here are the online courses you can turn to for elevating your career opportunities:

          1. Become a Spreadsheet and Database Ninja

          a. Microsoft Excel Training Online Course – Basic & Advanced

          Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at working with spreadsheets, this online course has something new for everyone to become excel efficient users.

          Divided into 48 interesting lessons, the course empowers you to learn the technique of using mathematical, statistical, logical and text functions, sorting and filtering the data, creating Pivot Tables, building macros, finding a value with VLOOKUp, and much more.

          b. Excel- Online Courses, Classes, Training, Tutorials on Lynda

          This is another impressive course to unlock the power of Excel. Designed for people from all walks of life and familiarity with Excel tools. This course helps you gain in-depth knowledge from the experts about this data-analyzing tool and make the magic in spreadsheet creation and management process.

          c. SQL & Database Design A-Z™: Learn MS SQL Server + PostgreSQL

          Build a successful career in the data analytics world with this online course.

          Revolving around the two top databases, MS SQL and PostgreSQL, this course will give you a comprehensive knowledge of the working of the databases and understanding of all the related elements, including how to create, update, organize, and safeguard the data.

          2. Rule the Social Media World

          a. Free Social Media Course by HubSpot

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          Introduced by the top experienced inbound professors from Hubspot, here you will get a comprehensive knowledge of Social media marketing.

          From understanding how to build relationships on different social media platforms to creating a perfect strategy to engage them, leveraging the benefits of social advertising, and analyzing your social media ROI, this course will bring out the best out of you.

          b. Write Professional Emails in English by Coursera

          This online course will be the right weapon to look into the differences and similarities between different email styles, improve your English writing skills, write effective subject lines, maintain the formality tone in emails, and more to make a powerful impact on the receivers with your email.

          c. Ninja Writing: The Four Levels of Writing Mastery

          Founded by Udemy, this online course will excel your skills to build a masterpiece everytime you write.

          Here, you will get the guidance from the editors of the top newspapers and websites, and understand what kind of words and tone to use for leaving a spellbinding impact on the readers.

          3. Launch Your Own Software or Hardware Equipment

          a. Hardware and Software Courses by Coursera

          From Big Data to IoT, Sensor Circuit Design, Embedded Software and Hardware Architecture, and Motor Control Circuit, this course will give you a glimpse of all the hardware devices, equipment, and programming languages to build wonders.

          b. Free Software and Web Development Certifications Online by Alison

          Become the software developer market demands with Alison’s Java, C#, Python, R, PHP, or MySQL database course. From backend to frontend development and software testing.

          The course helps you to learn how to design, develop and test software and working in a team while contributing to the team success.

          c. Free Online Software Development and MOOCs Course by Class Central

          The Class Central online course will make you a master of software development. Here, you will learn the basic concepts of development like Agile, Design Patterns, and Version Control with Git, along with gaining experience of working with the top programming languages.

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          4. Live and Breathe Creativity

          a. Udemy: Introduction to Graphic Design

          It is a top-rated program for the new learners and designers to explore the Graphic Design world.

          From the history of communication to the design principles, the course will help the students to learn everything specifically and implement in the real world.

          b. Canva Design School

          From a beginner to advanced level, this course will provide you with an elaborated and comprehensive knowledge of graphic design. In the form of 4 modules, this course will help the interested graphic designers to try out their skills at Graphics, ranging from fonts to colors, backgrounds, images, shapes, and layouts.

          c. Microsoft Word – Basic & Advanced

          62 personalized lessons, premium video tutorials, and unlimited tests and quizzes – this certified course has everything that will make your entry to the business world easier.

          d. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel and Access Productivity Bundle

          The course will make you productive in Word, Excel, and Access through video lectures, articles, and various other supplemental resources.

          Besides, it will offer you exclusive tips and tricks to enhance your skills at using Microsoft office.

          5. Raise Your Reflexes to IT Troubleshooting

          a. IT Troubleshooting Skill Training by Udemy

          IT Troubleshooting Skill Training will upgrade your logical concepts over technical components to find and repair faults.

          It will provide you with a methodological approach to learn the basics of troubleshooting, practice them via exercises and drills, and enhance your IT troubleshooting intelligence.

          b. IT Help Desk Online Course on Lynda

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          The Lynda’s IT troubleshooting online course will train you how to respond to the issues related to Windows 10, Office 365, JIRA software, and more, from a local as well as a remote location.

          Mobile Apps and Websites to Enhance Computer Skills

          The aforementioned online courses will undoubtedly train you for a successful career ahead. But, in case you want a long-term support, turn towards the following websites and mobile apps:

          • Duolingo – Duolingo app will improve your spoken and written communication skills in different languages. With the magic of gamification added to the study, the app will make learning a fun and addictive task.
          • Hemingway – Hemingway app defines the length, complexity, and common errors associated with the sentences. In this way, it helps you to write effectively and go ahead in the career.
          • Udemy – The Udemy, with its 2000+ courses, is a great platform to master new skills, advance your career and explore the newer technologies and programming languages. Enrol a course as per your budget and make a brighter future.
          • eDX – eDX is yet another commendable platform you can look forward to. The platform offers you the best of the tutorials prepared by the business professionals and technology experts, ensuring a great boost in your computer skills.
          • Excel Easy – Excel Easy, as the name depicts, will make working with Excel easier for you via their detailed tutorials and 300+ real-life examples.
          • GCF LearnFree.org – It is a one-stop platform for accelerating your future in the computer world. From graphic design to Microsoft Office, resume writing, enhancing adaptability, and much more, the top experts will guide you with everything on this platform.
          • QuarkXPress – The QuarkXPress will aid you to add soul to your design with its unparalleled collection of font style, size, and typography. The best part is that it is avails all the options in different languages, including English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian to name a few.

          Bonus: Tips to Accelerate Your Approach For a Better Career Ahead

          Though these resources will make you stand out from the crowd and get hired at once, you need to focus on various other things, such as:

          1. Practice, Practice, Practice

          It is common to forget what we learn. To ensure that you do not miss any opportunity just because you forgot, keep practising.

          Make it your routine. Polish your computer skills and you will surely end up getting an offer letter from a recognized firm.

          2. Work on Your Efficiency

          Remembering what you learned is not enough; practice to enhance those skills to do better.

          For example, if you take around 50 minutes to create a design, target for 40 minutes.

          3. Look for Shortcuts

          Smart work rules over hard work more often. So, look forward to learning shortcuts to do any task. This will increase your chances to crack an interview and get selected.

          4. Apply for an Internship

          Last but not the least, apply for an internship to see what’s trending in the market and how much you are ready for it. While doing an internship, pay attention to your weak points and work on them. This will ensure a success when you apply for your dream job.

          By the late, it’s never too late to be an intern or grab whatever opportunity to learn something new! Here’s how:

          How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

          The Bottom Line

          Seeing the current market scenario, it is evident that having computer skills is a boon for a better career ahead.

          So, rather than struggling with thousands of other things and trying to crack interviews, focus on the computer skills mentioned in this article. Utilize the resources and experts’ tips shared and look forward to having a successful and prosperous future.

          Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

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