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Top 10 Mac OS X Tips

Top 10 Mac OS X Tips


    Ever watch someone who really knows how to use a Mac and OS X? Sometimes it just seems like magic how they can make windows move, images appear, apps launch, and all kinds of cool stuff—and their fingers never even seem to leave the keyboard. I can’t claim to know that many Mac tips and tricks, but I do have a bunch of tricks up my sleeve that you might find useful. Some of these are pretty common and a few a little obscure, but they will all do something great that you bring you a step closer to being a Jedi Master of your Mac.

    Yes, padawan, here are my top 10 Mac OS X tips:

    1. Shift-Click Maximize Button to Fill Screen

    You know the red button on a window is close and the yellow one is minimize and the green one is maximize, right? Okay, so you also know that some apps (like Chrome and Word) don’t fill the entire screen when you click the maximize button. Sure that’s find most of the time, but sometimes you actually want the window to fill the screen. Next time you want the current window to fill the entire screen, just hold down the shift key when you click the button. Poof! Big window!

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    2. Terminal Tricks—Purge

      One of the essential tools in a Mac Jedi’s toolkit is Terminal. Oh Terminal, such power you hold over the entire system. A lot of people are a wee skittish about using Terminal. All the horror stories of people typing rm * in the wrong place and wiping out their Mac will have that effect on people. Okay, fair enough, but here’s a simple command that will…well it’s pretty cool. The command is “purge” and it does one very simple thing—it frees up RAM on your machine. As your Mac is running and you’re launching apps, surfing the web, and all the normal stuff you do on your Mac, RAM (memory) is allocated to do that. Sometimes when an app has been running for a while it doesn’t release all the RAM it was given, even if it doesn’t need it any more. Before I learned this tip I would just reboot my Mac if RAM was running short (and I had quit all the apps I didn’t need), but with purge… Purge forces apps to release RAM they might be holding on to (that they don’t need). All you need to do is launch Terminal from your Utilities folder and type “purge” (no quotes) at the prompt and hit return. It’s 100% safe and can get back a bunch of RAM. I’ve gone from a few megs of few RAM to a couple gigs in a few seconds! (Important: While purge is running your Mac will be unresponsive for a minute. Don’t worry! This is normal and okay!)

      3. Launch Spotlight with Command-Space

      Looking for something? You know Spotlight can help you quickly find files, emails, look up words, even launch apps…but do you know that a quick tap on command-space will open up Spotlight on the menubar for you to start typing? Simple as that you can quickly type command-space then something like safari then return and launch Safari…and your fingers didn’t even touch the mouse! Want to turn that up to an 11? Then just download Alfred for free from the Mac App store and do all this and more! Once you do, don’t forget my 10 Awesome Alfred Tips!

      4. Drop Files onto the Dock to Open in an App

      I like to keep Preview as my default app for opening images. Preview is pretty fast and easy when I need a quick look at something (or just need to resize the image quickly), but when I want to edit an image I use Acorn. So how do I open an image in Acorn? You’re thinking, launch Acorn, go to the File menu… Nope, easier. I have Acorn on my Dock all the time, so all I need to do is drag and drop an image file onto the icon and … Acorn launches (or comes to the front) and the image is opened! This trick works with just about all apps and can save you a ton of time.

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      5. Custom App Stacks

        My dock was getting pretty cluttered. Lots of apps that I “needed”, but you know I didn’t use them all that often. So I made a custom App stack for them. This is a multi-step process:

        1. Make a folder somewhere (I made it in ~/Applications which is different than the system-wide Applications folder (see tip 7 for more on these directories).
        2. Open your Applications folder in another Finder window.
        3. You’re going to make aliases to your real apps in this step. Hold down command and option and drag an app you want quick access to and drop it in the folder you made.
        4. Repeat for as many apps as you wish
        5. Drag the folder with all the aliases to the right side of your Dock, just to the left of the Trash.
        6. Enjoy! That’s it. The folder will have aliases to all your apps!

        6. Remove Icons from the Menu Bar

        I know we like to have icons on our Menu bar, but sometimes it gets a little crowded. For some icons on your Menu bar (mostly System related ones), just hold down the command key, click the icon and drag it off the Menu bar! Come on, you don’t really need the volume/speaker icon there did you?

        7. Get to your Library Folder

        One of the “improvements” in Lion was to hide your Library folder from you. Okay, I get it. You shouldn’t need to muck about in your Library very often, but hey sometimes you do. Sometimes you need to clean out stubborn files or something. Here’s the easy way to get to your Library folder (and the Applications folder from tip 5 too). With the Finder active hit command-shift-g and you’ll get a Go to folder: window. Just put “~/Library/” (no quotes) and click Okay. That’s it. For tip five use ~/Applications/ instead.

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        8. Finder Sidebar

        Since we’re talking about the Finder, I’m sure you noticed all those folders and items on the left side of your Finder windows (if not go to the Finder and from the View menu and select “Show Toolbar”). You know you can add your own folders there right? Yeah, just drag any folder to the side and that’s it. Now the cool part isn’t just that you now have one-click access to that folder, but anything you drop onto that folder will be copied or moved there! Nice!

        9. Take a Screenshot

        Ever need to take a screenshot of something on your screen? Maybe it’s an error, maybe it’s just a graphic, but you need it…but how? Easy. Command-shift–3 will take a picture of the entire screen and command-shift–4 will let you select a part of the screen or a window. Of course if you want to step things up, just download Skitch for free and crank up your screenshots a few notches.

        10. Control the Apps that Launch at Startup

          You know after a while your Mac seems to be taking longer and longer to finish starting up. Oh you see the Desktop okay, but then app after app loads. You have control over this. Just go to System Preferences -> Users and Groups. Then look for the Login Items button. Yep those are all the apps that launch for me. But if I get tired of waiting for one app or another to start, I just select the app from the list and click the “-”. Gone! Faster startup here I come!

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          These are just a few of the tricks I have up my sleeve. I’m sure you have a few you’ve picked up over the years, so…

          What are your favorite OS X tips? Share them in the comments below.

          (Photo credit: Question Mark on Mac Keyboard via Shutterstock)

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          Last Updated on August 15, 2018

          25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

          25 Most Useful Excel Shortcuts That Very Few People Know

          Imagine if you could use 5 simple shortcuts while working in Excel, and increase your productivity without wasting time for searching information in huge tables, writing long formulas, and sorting the data.

          Or even better:

          What if you would get 25 useful shortcuts… and each of them could simplify your work, so you could do much more every day?

          You’d definitely feel excited to read about them.

          Today is your lucky day because we are going to share with you in this article 25 great Excel shortcuts you can use in your work every day! This is your lucky chance, so go ahead and become a real professional in Excel without wasting your time.

          How important are Excel shortcuts for you?

          The most effective thing to check out if people really need something is to release a survey and look at the results. So, according to the anonymous survey, 99% of people said Excel shortcuts are critical or important for them.

          In general, there are more than 200 shortcuts in Excel. But when we have analyzed the data about how many shortcuts people know, we got the next results:

          • 26% of people know 10 or fewer shortcuts;
          • 61% of people know 10-50 shortcuts;
          • 10% of people know 50-100 shortcuts.

          As you can see, not so many people know a lot of shortcuts. Probably, some of them never think about increasing their productivity in such a simple way.

          Of course, it depends on how deep you use Excel. Some people use this powerful application just for making simple tables or graphs, others use it for everyday work to count something.

          Most of the accountants and businessmen use much more Excel functions for more complex tasks such as creating VBA macros, managing PivotTables, recalculating huge workbooks, outlining data, etc.

          But even those people who work with Excel every day very close may know a few shortcuts. Needless to say, they can do their job without shortcuts, but it usually takes for them much more time. T

          his sounds not funny, especially if you must finish a huge amount of work urgently. There is a great opportunity for you to increase your productivity in Excel and do your job faster with our useful shortcuts.

          5 Main reasons to learn excel shortcuts

          Many people don’t understand why they should use shortcuts if they can work without them. Of course, if you use Excel twice per year to make a simple table or a graph, it is probably not so important for you to know many shortcuts.

          But if you work in Excel every day, sorting huge tables and managing with tons of data, then shortcuts will help you to reach the next five goals:

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          1. Work efficiently and faster in Excel
          2. Manage big amounts of data easily and fast
          3. Stay calm and concentrated even while doing a tedious job
          4. Make your work accurately and properly without errors
          5. Get a better understanding of Microsoft Excel

          Who can use Excel shortcuts?

          There are a lot of people who can simplify their life with Excel shortcuts, and here are the groups that will definitely love using them:

          • People who work in banks, finance organizations, etc.
          • Businessmen who make tons of various reports and presentations in Excel for meetings and briefings.
          • Students who usually are lazy and impatient to make their homework because they don’t want to waste a lot of time working in Excel.
          • Private entrepreneurs who keep various data in Excel tables.

          Whether you are a student who hates Excel because it seems a time-wasting and boring application, or you are an accountant who must recalculate huge worksheets every day without making errors, we recommend reading and learning these Excel shortcuts to make your work simpler and save some time.

          With these simple but useful tricks, it is so easy to finish your job and get more time for yourself.

          25 Excel shortcuts to increase your productivity

          Here are 25 great Excel shortcuts you should learn and use for work or studying to make your job faster and simpler. Try to use them all and you will realize you were totally blind before while working in Excel:

          1. Format whatever object fast with Ctrl+1

          If you select any object in Excel – a cell, a chart, a chart axis, a drawing object – then press Ctrl+1, and you will get the Properties dialog for the certain object. This shortcut offers a very quick and easy way to format whatever object you’re working with.

          2. Use range names with Ctrol+G or F5 key

          If you use range names (which we strongly recommend to do) and you want to choose the range with a specific name references, press either Ctrl+G or the F5 key, which launches the GoTo dialog.

          If the name is simple, you can click on it in a list in that dialog. But if it’s at all unusual, Excel won’t list it; so you will need to type in the name. Then press OK.

          3. Use a range name in a formula with =sum( and F3

          Suppose you want to use a range name in a formula. For example, you want to sum the Sales range. Enter…

          =sum(

          …and then press F3.

          When you do so, Excel launches the Paste Name dialog. Just choose “Sales” from the list, press the OK button in the dialog, then enter the SUM function’s closing “)” to complete the formula.

          4. Launch Function Arguments dialog easily with Ctrl+A

          Suppose you want to check the help topic for a worksheet function. For example, you want to read about the MATCH function. In a cell, type…

          =match(

          …and then press Ctrl+A, or click the Insert Function (“fx“) button to the left of the formula bar.

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          When you do so, Excel displays the Function Arguments dialog, which might offer all the help you need.

          But if you still want to see the complete help topic, click the blue “Help on this function” hyperlink in the lower-left corner of the dialog. This technique works with all documented Excel functions.

          5. Copy stuff down the column without scrolling with Ctrl+D

          If you added a formula in a new column on the right of a huge dataset, and you want to copy that formula down without scrolling, do these steps:

          • go to the right to the column that has data (the column to the left of the new column with the formula);
          • press Ctrl+Down – to get to bottom;
          • move one cell to the right (with arrow key naturally);
          • press Ctrl+Shift+Up to select the new column, at the top of which is the formula you just created;
          • press Ctrl+D to fill down the formula.

          6. Quick access to any function with Alt+

          By customizing the quick access toolbar, you can create simple shortcuts to commands that you would otherwise have to find in the Ribbon tabs, or macros you have created yourself.

          The keyboard shortcut is simply selecting Alt+ (the number of the command you wish to select).

          For example, if you have customized your quick access toolbar to have Calc Sheet, Save, Open. To calculate sheet you would hit Alt+1, for save Alt+2, and for open Alt+3.

          A lot of people are unaware of this useful function, and it’s a great time saver.

          7. Format cells with Ctrl+1

          When you need to format cells, use Ctrl+1. Most people know this as the shortcut for the Format Cells dialog, but you can also use it to format almost anything in Excel, without a care about the state of the ribbon. Try this amazing and simple shortcut!

          8. Choose visible cells with Alt+

          When you need to choose visible cells only – use Alt+. This is the trick to copy only what you see. It is a priceless shortcut when you’re manually hiding rows and columns in the table.

          9. Use filtering

          Filtering – it is a powerful way to slice, dice, and sort through a huge table of information.

          It’s amazingly effective when you’re participating in a meeting to discuss something like a sales forecast, and everyone is looking in real-time at your spreadsheet projected on a screen (or on their monitors).

          To some people, you will be seen as the God of Spreadsheets, and this is not a joke!

          10. Insert or delete column/row easily with the Ctrl key

          Some people waste a lot of time even for simple operations, for example, when they need to insert/delete columns and rows in Excel.

          Use this shortcut to insert: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl+Shift ++.

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          To delete: with an entire row or column selected, use Ctrl + –.

          11. See formula results with F9

          If you want to check formula results within multiple formulas, highlight the formula and select F9 to see formula result.

          Don’t forget to undo before exiting the formula.

          12. Use ALT+Enter for more text within a cell

          If you want to add a second line of text within a cell, use ALT+Enter.

          13. Use EDATE to move a date on by a full calendar month:

          Here’s how to use EDATE:

          =EDATE(15/01/16,+1) = 15/02/2016 (15th Feb 2016)

          =EDATE (15/01/2016,-2) = 15/11/2015 (15th Nov 2016)

          14. Use EOMONTH to move a date onto the end of the month:

          Here’s how to use EMONTH:

          =EOMONTH(15/01/2016,0) = 31/01/2016 (31st Jan 2106)

          =EOMONTH (15/01/2016,-2) = 30/11/2015 (30th Nov 2015)

          15. Remove spaces with TRIM

          TRIM is a useful function known by few people. It removes any spaces at the beginning of a value. This is useful if you are pulling in values from somewhere else.

          16. Repeat commands with F4 or Ctrl+Y

          In many cases, you may need to repeat your last action. Use F4 or Ctrl+Y; you can repeat many commands like applying the same borders, format, or insert a worksheet again.

          17. Quick access to cells with the Ctrl key and Shift key

          When you need to go to the first or last cell of a worksheet, no matter where you are, use Ctrl+Home, Ctrl+End combinations.

          And here is a pleasant bonus for you: add the Shift key to select everything on the way!

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          18. Use Ctrl+ to create a timestamp

          If you need a date stamp and/or a timestamp in your document, there is no need to type a date and time! Use shortcuts Ctrl+ ; (date) Ctrl+Shift+ : (time). It works like a magic and helps to save your time and nerves.

          19. Use autosum shortcut for sum function anywhere

          Autosum shortcut – use Alt =. It is a “magic” shortcut of Excel to automatically insert a sum function.

          You can use this shortcut to sum rows, columns, or even an entire table in one step without wasting your time.

          20. Use data validation

          This is an amazing but underutilized tool in Excel, which can be used for a variety of things:

          • Create dependent drop-down lists;
          • Create drop-down lists;
          • Protect/restrict data input of specific cells (without the need for VBA macros).

          21. Use conditional formatting

          It can be used for various purposes such as color format or cell format of cells, rows or columns based on dependent cell values or formats.

          22. Use formula auditing

          This is a great tool to analyze and trace precedent or dependent cells, check errors and evaluate formulas.

          The “Watch Window” is a feature to keep a snapshot of an area of the spreadsheet, and then move to another area of the workbook – particularly valuable if you’re managing large spreadsheets or don’t have a second screen.

          23. Use Scenario Manager to generate summary outputs of a spreadsheet

          Scenario Manager (under “What-if Analysis”) enables users to generate high-level, summary outputs of a spreadsheet – without the need to replicate the entire workbook.

          It will present multiple scenarios of a spreadsheet in a succinct, high-level summary worksheet.

          24. Use INDIRECT to set up large tables

          INDIRECT makes it easy to set up tables which reference larger tables without a lot of referencing work or cutting and pasting; especially for dynamic spreadsheets.

          25. Use OFFSET for complicated calculations or formulas

          OFFSET can be useful for things like calculating YTD numbers or creating formulas that take data in rows and using in columns.

          The bottom line

          As you can see, when you have a boring or tedious job to do, the best way to do it fast is not looking for a way how to avoid it, but searching for the shortest variant to do it!

          That is why we suggest keeping in mind these Excel shortcuts that will help you to save a lot of time and nerves.

          If it seems hard for you to remember all them, you can print out the list of shortcuts and keep it on your worktable. Use it to search for some help when you need it, and over time, you’ll remember all shortcuts easily.

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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