Advertising
Advertising

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!

    Advertising

    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.

      Advertising

      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.

        Advertising

        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!

          Advertising

          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)

          More by this author

          10 Awesome Alfred Actions to Speed Up Your Day Top 10 Camera Apps For iPhone + 4 Bonus Photo Editing Apps Top 10 Mac OS X Tips Top 5 Extensions for Alfred Review: PDF Expert 3 for iPhone [Contest]

          Trending in Technology

          1 10 Smartest Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance 2 5 Best Language Learning Apps to Master a New Language 3 11 Meeting Scheduler Apps to Boost Your Productivity 4 To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System 5 7 Best Project Management Apps to Boost Productivity

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising
          Advertising

          Last Updated on November 19, 2019

          10 Smartest Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

          10 Smartest Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

          Productivity is the ability to perform tasks efficiently and in a timely manner. In today’s busy and competitive business world, productivity is paramount for any business, organization or corporation.

          Productivity is more than just performing tasks successfully. It is about investing and allocating resources, so the company or business can perform to meet its core goals.

          As part of 2019, it is important to commit to new goals. When shopping around for new productivity software keep in mind the following things: cost, reliability, cross-platform compatibility, on the go, technical support, etc.

          In the subsequent sections, we will examine the most recommended productivity software in the marketplace. In addition, we will look at what makes them tick and what separates them from the rest of the pack.

          Projects and Tasks Management

          1. Monday dot com

            Monday dot com was founded to create a team management solution so people connect to workplace processes across any industry. The productivity tool is used in more than 140 countries.

            The user interface is intuitive and impressive. It makes collaboration productive and fun because of its simplicity.

            The tool is deemed to have one of the best user experiences across the mobile and online project and task management platform.

            The product includes usability, customization, admin control, group management and control, private or public control, in-group messaging and more.

            Check out the software here!

            2. Asana

            Advertising

              The mantra behind Asana’s product is to enable teams from across different organizations to work together effortlessly.

              The software comes with lots of customizations. When you create a project as a user, you can choose between a traditional task view and the kanban-style board view. The dashboard allows you to see the progress on a project, and it includes an excellent advanced set of search tools.

              Also, Asana’s Android and iOS apps do retain the web interface’s clean look and feel.

              Check out the software here!

              3. Trello

                Trello was founded in the summer of 2010 and two years later the platform added 500,000 members. Anyone within sales, marketing, HR and operations can collaborate successfully with this product.

                Moreover, the tool has over 100 plus integrations with Google Drive, Slack, Jira and others. The product works flawlessly across various platforms.

                Some of the well-known features includes is speed, easy-to-use, and set up. The interface includes due dates, assignments, file storage, checklists and more.

                Check out the software here!

                4. Jira

                  The Jira software is flexible and heralded as the next-generation project.

                  Advertising

                  The software allows teams to design and adapt the software to an organization’s needs. This includes having visibility into long term goals, project roadmaps, status of work, real-time release information and more. In addition, the interface is customizable.

                  The Atlassian Cloud does not support multiple separate domains, subdomains or domain aliases in Google Apps.

                  Check out the software here!

                  5. Evernote Business

                    Evernote was founded in 2008 and reached 11 million users by 2011. The company was founded on the premise that their product should address the ever-increasing volume and speed of information.

                    The product helps bring together groups of teams because of versatility and functionality. It creates documents, collaboration on projects, store information all a single location.

                    Moreover, you can find information quickly and includes effective search capabilities and integrations with existing tools you may already use.

                    Check out the software here!

                    Communication

                    6. Slack

                      Slack was founded in 2013 and the tool is heralded as a collaboration hub. Slack is where productivity happens. When you start a new project, hire new staff, deploy a code, review a sales contract, finalize on a budget, Slack covers all of these. Some of the major highlights include highly customizable notifications and seamless integrations with other collaboration and office tools. The free version of the software comes loaded with features, but does not archive old message. So, you have to review what are the best options for your organization or business.

                      Check out the software here!

                      Advertising

                      7. Spike

                        Newcomer Spike makes emails more conversational by helping teams maintain productivity, communication, and collaboration. All of these are achieved from within their inbox.

                        Spike works on top of any existing email (O365, G suite, and IMAP) turning it into a real-time messenger and making your communication much more functional and efficient.

                        Spike’s features include built-in groups and channels, voice and video calls, email encryption, instant access to all your files, and much more.

                        Check out the software here!

                        Creation

                        8. Office 365

                          Microsoft’s Office 365 could not be excluded from the conversation and especially as it pertains to productivity software.

                          Of course we are all familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. But there is more capabilities that come with it.

                          You have business-class email, online storage space, and teamwork solutions. These services can be accessed from just about anywhere.

                          Within this suite is Microsoft Sway, which is a presentation software and a step above PowerPoint.

                          Check out the software here!

                          Advertising

                          9. Grammarly

                            Grammarly helps to cut down time on editing. Professionals in several industries like law, healthcare, academia, marketing, engineering and journalism use it to provide instant feedback on the accuracy of writing in English.

                            Once you install the extension from Google Chrome, you can get corrections when you are drafting an email, using social media and other apps.

                            Grammarly is AI powered and it’s a wonderful tool to have to check spelling and grammar before a presentation.

                            Check out the software here!

                            Team Analytics

                            10. ActivTrak

                              ActivTrak is a business intelligence tool that allows you to access team behavior analytics. In other words, it is data-driven.

                              The pros include two-factor authentication with active directory integration. You can also automate your alerts and it has an intuitive interface with easy-to-use admin controls.

                              Furthermore, it comes with Google sign-in, iOS app, productivity track, and more. The bottomline is the product offers employee productivity metrics along with team behavior analytics.

                              Check out the software here!

                              The Bottom Line

                              Depending on the size, budget, resources, and immediate needs of your company, not all productivity software will exactly solve your problem. You will have to contact any of the providers above and probe extensively to find the right product that is made for your business.

                              More Productivity Tools

                              Featured photo credit: Domenico Loia via unsplash.com

                              Read Next