There are a lot of things out there that can be done to your Mac OS X. These 101 are just a small collection of those cool things. Since every single trick are too small to be compiled as single article, I decided to combine them all in a single post. Hope you can enjoy it.
Slowly Increase/Decrease Volume
Pressing modifier keys Option-Shift while increasing/decreasing (F4/F5 for MacBook) will slowly increase/decrease the volume bar by a quarter.
Searching by Lyrics
Spotlight in Leopard now supports searching music by its lyric.
Attach Files into Mail
Simple drag-and-drop to the Mail.app icon helps you done the attaching in New Message.
Working without Mouse or Trackpad
Using only keyboard shortcuts with modifier key Control and keys F1 to F3, you can do Turn on Full Keyboard Access, Jump to Menubar and Go to Dock respectively.
Assign a Shortcut to Multiple Actions
Mac allows you to assign a shortcut to multiple actions, e.g. you can assign Option-Space to invoke Quicksilver and LaunchBar (even though Quicksilver will be prioritized). This will be useful when you want to do toggling, such as turning on and off Private Browsing in Safari which have been assigned as different actions.
Movie Slow Motion
While in Quicktime, you can use your trackpad finger-scrolling or mouse scrolling to move forward/backward frame by frame or even stopping the movie.
Quick Hide/Unhide Dock
Using keystrokes Command-Option will help you quickly do the Dock hiding/unhiding.
Quote Level in Mail
Keystrokes Command-[ '] and Command-Option-[ '] can be used to raise/lower Mail quote level easily.
Open Minimized Windows
When you have one of your Applications minimized, you can maximize it by doing:
- Command-Tab until you reach the minimized Application
- Press Option
- Release Command
Besides showing your current position, pathbar can also be used to help you drag-and-drop some files to one of the folders shown in pathbar hierarchy.
Cropping Image in Preview
Draw the region you want to crop followed by pressing keystrokes Command-K will do the job.
“Hello” from Mac
Open your Terminal and use command line:
Your Mac will say “Hello” to you. Hello can be replaced with other words, eg. say Chunky Bacon.
Reveal Same Contact Group
Selecting one or more contacts in your Address Book and pressing Option help you reveal all contacts which are in the same group.
Quick Finding Folder when Saving
When you saw dialog box asking where the file should be saved, you can use keystrokes Command-Shift-G to open another Go To dialog box to help you easier jumping to targetted folder (even hidden folder can be accessed).
Scrolling with Mouse
If you have mouse that can only scroll vertically, you can press Shift and scrolling to get your horizontal scrolling ability. However in Photoshop, this cannot work. Instead, you need to press Command.
Add Startup Items
Select one of your applications sitting on the dock to be added to startup items, right click on it and choose Open at login. That particular application will be opened starting from next startup.
New Tab in Safari
Double-clicking on empty area in Safari tab bar will return you new tab bar just like in Firefox.
Zooming In/Out Display
Press Control and scroll up/down with your mouse will get your display zoomed in/out.
Ripping Apart Terminal Tabs
As in Safari, you can split Terminal tabs by dragging it vertically out of tab bar.
Hide All Others Windows
Keystrokes Command-Option-H will help you hide all others windows except the window you’re currently working at.
Transparent Hidden Apps on Dock
defaults write com.apple.Dock showhidden -bool YES killall Dock
When executed, command lines above will make your hidden Applications showed transparently on the Dock.
Drag Items to Finder Toolbar
Yes, you can do it by drag-hold-release item on the toolbar of Finder. To drag them out again, use modifier key Command before dragging the item.
Delete Songs from iTunes Library
You need to use Option-Delete to delete selected songs completely from your iTunes library.
Force Open in Tab
defaults write com.apple.Safari TargetedClicksCreateTabs -bool true
With above command line, you can force Safari to open all sites (even the sites that don’t want to be tabbed) in new tab.
Quick Empty Trash
If you don’t want to see any confirmation dialog box when you need to empty your trash, you can use keystrokes Command-Option-Shift-Delete.
Import Icon to Preview
- Choose and highlight an icon
- Hit Command-C to copy that icon into clipboard
- Open Preview
- Press Command-N
- You should be able to see your icon
Remove Zoom Anti-Aliasing
When you zoomed in your display, pressing Command-Option-Backslash will reduce the blur by turning off anti-aliasing.
Move Bookmark Item into Bookmarks Folder
You need to drag that bookmark item out of bookmark bar first before you can drag it into bookmark folder. Press Command to enable the dragging.
Eliza’s Psychiatrist Office
- Open Terminal
- Type emacs
- Press Shift-Escape
- Write xdoctor
- Be nice and answer all of her questions
- It’s for free
Quick Subscribe RSS to Mail
If you click on RSS button next to your Safari address bar, at the bottom right corner you will see Actions: Subscribe in Mail. That particular feed will be added to your Mail RSS.
Copy Font Style in TextEdit
Unlike normal copy-paste with Command-C and Command-V, if you want to copy-paste the style of the font, you need to use Command-Option-C and Command-Option-V.
In most of Applications, if you use Leopard’s help Command-Shift-Slash and search term shortcuts, you will be able to see all available shortcuts of that Application.
Organizing PDFs with Preview
- Open the file with Preview
- Show Sidebar (Command-Shift-D)
- Drag-and-drop page or delete with Command-Delete
Use Small Buttons in Firefox 3
- Open Firefox
- Go to View ▸ Toolbars ▸ Customize..
- Check Use Small Icons
To schedule shutdown, you can go to Energy Saver Preference Pane and press Schedule.. button.
Use keystrokes Command-L to quickly make alias of selected items.
Open Two or More Similar Application at the Same Time
open -n /Applications/Safari.app
You will have two Safaris running at the same time. You can also do that for other applications by replacing the path with Application’s path. Unfortunately, Firefox doesn’t allow it.
For MacBooks, the display brightness can be easily set to zero with keystrokes Control-Shift-Eject.
Shortcuts for Adium Status
Open you Adium and go under Status menu. You will see shortcuts have been assigned to some display status.
Create Print Button in Safari
Open Spotlight Searching Result in Finder
Instead of pressing Return, pressing Command-Return on Spotlight search result will bring you to Finder where that item is enclosed in.
Drag Items to Safari
Directly from Finder, you can drag-and-drop file to Safari without using Choose File Dialog Box.
Auto-Change Background Images
Inside Desktop & Screen Saver Preferences Pane under Desktop section, you can tick Change Picture checkbox to let your Desktop background changed every x minutes (you choose).
Quote Message with Mail
If you want to quote particular part of message, highlight that part and click on reply. That part will be automatically quoted in your reply message.
Split Adium Contact List
While holding Command, you can drag out your Adium Contact List header.
Screensaver as Desktop Background
/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/ScreenSaverEngine.app/Contents/MacOS/ScreenSaverEngine -background &
Command line above will make your screensaver as Desktop background. Take note the process ID. If you want to stop the screensaver, you can use:
kill PID 478
Where 478 is the ID number you took note before.
Enable Safari Inspector
defaults write com.apple.Safari WebKitDeveloperExtras -bool true
Use above command line to enable Safari Web Inspector, it’s like Firebug in Firefox.
Change Main Language
You can change your Mac main language with these steps:
- Go to System Preferences
- Inside International Pane
- Click on Language
- Choose your language
Access Anywhere in Safari with Tabs
If you want to be able to tab through all checkboxes and radio buttons, pressing Control-F7 will do you the favor. This keystrokes toggles between textboxes-lists control and all controls inside Keyboard Shortcuts Preferences Pane.
Processing Microsoft Word Files
.doc or .docx files can be opened and edited with TextEdit. After you’ve finished editing the file, save it again as Word Format and the file can be opened again with Microsoft Word.
Wrap around Finder
When you’ve reach the end of the files list of your Finder, pressing another ArrowDown won’t do anything for you. If you want to wrap around and start over again from the top of the list, pressing Tab will do that for you.
Hide Hard Disk from Desktop
If you want your Desktop to be very clean, you can also hide the Hard Disk. To hide Hard Disk:
- Open Finder
- Go to Preferences.. (Command-Comma)
- Choose General section
- Untick All Items
Move Finder Highlight Alphabetically
Pressing Option-Tab when you’re inside Finder will help you jump through files alphabetically.
Hiding Finder Sidebar Items
Go to Finder Preferences under Sidebar and untick all unnecessary items by unticking the checkboxes.
Hiding Other Applications via Dock
Holding Command-Option while opening an Application will turn all other applications hidden, left alone that Application opened.
Add Sidebar Items
You can highlight items and press Command-T to put those items on the Sidebar. To remove them, simple right-clicking and choosing remove would do.
Auto-Adjust Finder Sidebar Width
Keystrokes Command-Option-Control-T can help you auto-adjust your Finder sidebar width.
Change New Finder Behavior
Go to your Finder Preferences under General section. There you will see New Finder windows open, change the folder to Applications. Next time you open new Finder window, the folder displayed will be your Applications folder.
Differentiating Single and Multiple Pages PDF Icons
Multiple pages PDF icons will have black binder at the left side of the page, while single page PDF files don’t have.
In help bar, pressing Option-Return will do new searching instead of Return which shows the result.
Assign New Alias Link
Open your alias file Get Info Pane and click on Select New Original button to assign new link to your alias file.
Jump Category of Spotlight Result
If you press Command followed by Up/Down Arrow, you can jump between categories of all your Spotlight search result.
Search Spotlight by Date Modified
If you want to search for files modified before 2nd January 2008, you can use search term modified:<=1/2/08. The date can be changed accordingly.
Spotlight Finder Search
Keystrokes Command-Shift-F help you to quickly jump to do searching by name.
Slow Motion Mode
By pressing Shift while executing some commands, will give you slow motion mode of the execution. As far as I know, those commands are:
- Closing Widgets
- Opening Stack and Fan
Force Dock Magnification
Even though Dock magnification is turned off, you can force the magnification by pressing Control-Shift. The good side here is, the magnification is still set to be turned off.
Restarting Dock Settings
If you accidentally (or deliberately) put up hundreds of items into your Dock, it will waste your time to drop them out one by one. The fastest way to restore your original Dock is to delete your com.apple.dock.plist and relogin to your account.
Attach Item to Mail with Dock
If you press Command-Option while dragging item on Dock to your new mail pane, that particular will be attached to the mail.
All of these default menubar items are located inside Mac HD ▸ System ▸ Library ▸ CoreServices ▸ Menu Extras.
Combine Exposé and Space
While in Space mode, you still can Exposé selected Space.
Moving All Windows to Other Space
When pressing Shift, dragging a window will affect every single window of the same Application.
Collecting All Opened Windows in One Space
While Space mode is turned on, pressing C will help you collect all opened windows in a single Space.
If you see a crossed-out pencil icon at the bottom-left corner of your Finder, it means that particular folder is set to be Read-Only.
In most of Applications, especially Cocoa Applications, you can use Command to combine several separated blocks of selection. This also can be done while selecting blocks of text.
You could set your Mac to announce the time for you every period of time. It can be done inside Date & Time Preferences Pane.. with checkbox labelled Announce the time.
Get Current Date and Time
Above command can be used inside Terminal to get current date and time set inside your Mac.
Above command returns current date and time also, but it’s according to UTC time.
Quick Jump to Settings Pane
Pressing Option along with one of brightness keys will bring you to Display Preferences Pane while pressing it along with one of volume adjustment keys will take you to Sound Preferences Pane.
Maybe you haven’t noticed it, there is 1-2 milimeters black frame around your display. There is nothing to do about it, it’s normal.
Mute Volume Adjustment
Holding Shift while increasing/decreasing volume will shut the tapping sound.
Quick Accessing Applications Folder
When you select your Finder, pressing Command-Shift-A will do the trick.
Auto Replace Equation
If you highlight an equation, e.g. 5*15+20.5, and then press Command-Shift-8, your Mac will automatically replace it the correct answer, i.e. 95.5 in that particular example. Note: Script Editor will be launched.
Rotate Through Calculator Mode
Clicking Calculator’s Zoom button won’t enlarge the view pane. Instead, it will rotate your Calculator’s mode: Basic, Scientific and Programmer.
Quick Word Definition
Hovering a word and pressing keystrokes Command-Control-D will have a definition window popped up. Holding Command-Control after, and hovering over another word will display the definition of that word.
Adjust Outline Thickness for Extract Shape
When you’re using Extract Shape feature in Preview, after drawing several enclosing areas, pressing +/- will increase/decrease the thickness of the pink outline.
Curly Quote in TextEdit
Go to Edit ▸ Substitutions and tick Smart Quotes. You will get your curly quotes in your TextEdit document.
Maybe you haven’t noticed this, pressing Option while opening Dialog Box: Find will change the button to In Selection. So the results will only be limited to the selection.
Taking Snapshot with Grab
Unlike usual screen capture, the pointer can be shown when you capture your screen with Grab. Pointer type can be chosen inside Grab Preferences.
Your Mac Serial Number
Go to Apple ▸ About This Mac and click on the version number (the one below big Mac OS X title) twice. You will see your Mac serial number.
Built-In Image Effects
If you happen to go inside Developer ▸ Applications ▸ Graphic Tools, you will see an Application called Core Image Fun House which inside got a lot of ready-to-use image effects.
If Administrator Forgets Password
In this case, Mac OS X DVD Installer will be needed. Restart your Mac while pressing C on boot up. After that, choose Installer ▸ Reset Password. Follow all the steps and hopefully you can get new password.
defaults write com.apple.finder DesktopViewOptions -dict IconSize -integer 256 killall Finder
Command lines above will make your Desktop icons very big (256×256). You can use command lines below to reset it to medium size (64×64).
defaults write com.apple.finder DesktopViewOptions -dict IconSize -integer 64 killall Finder
There is a good news: you can edit the display name of your Trash folder. Follow these steps:
- Go inside folder: System ▸ Library ▸ CoreServices
- Right-click on Dock and Choose Show Package Contents
- Open Contents ▸ Resources ▸ English.lproj ▸ InfoPlist.strings
- Change the value of variable named TrashName
Here is the bad news, it’s a Read-Only file.
Change Dock’s Menu List
In the same folder as before, you will see another file named DockMenus.strings. All the naming of Dock menus are inside this file. If you want to change your Dock’s menu naming, changing the right value of the variables will do the trick.
Translucent Menu Bar
Go to your Desktop & Screen Saver Preferences Pane under Desktop section, tick checkbox labelled Translucent Menu Bar to get your menu bar translucent.
Mail can help you do the auto-completion when you want to send message out. In case you don’t want the auto-completion to be done for certain address, you can go under Mail: Window ▸ Previous Recipients and remove contacts from the list.
Quick Forward in Mail
Hold Option while double-clicking the message will do you the trick.
Blind Carbon Copy
In your default Mail settings, you won’t see this address field, but it’s exist. Turn it on by using keystrokes Command-Option-B or by enabling View ▸ Bcc Address Field.
Click on the button left to your Subject Field and enable Priority Field. Now, you can send your Mail with three priority: Low, Normal and High Priority.
You can have more than one signature for your Mail. And the fun thing is, you can set your Mail to select one of your signatures collection randomly. You can do so:
- Go to Mail: Mail ▸ Preferences… ▸ Signatures
- Find Option Box labelled Choose Signature
- Choose At Random
Make your Mac Delivers Speech
When you’re too lazy to read document by yourself, select some portions of the text, choose Edit ▸ Speech ▸ Start Speaking and your Mac will read the text for you.
Quick Shut Down
The last trick, quick shut down which is used almost every day: Command-Control-Option-Eject.
How many of them you’ve known? How many of them you haven’t noticed before?