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Dock Tips and Tricks

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Mac OS X Basics

The Dock

Used to show currently running and frequently used applications and folders:

Dock Tips and Tricks:

  • Use the Dock to hold icons for your most frequently used applications.

    • Rearrange icons by dragging them left or right

    • Mouse over an icon to see what it is

    • To get rid of an icon, drag it up off the Dock

    • To add an icon, find the application and drag it onto the dock

  • You can add folders and links to web pages on the Dock

  • You can customize your Dock

    • To Resize: Move the mouse over the little vertical line (watch for it to change shape), then drag to resize

    • The Apple Menu has other dock options (hiding, magnification, position)

  • Other Tricks

    • Click on the Finder icon while holding down the option and command keys to hide all running applications and open a finder window

    • Hold down the control key while clicking on an icon in the Dock for more options

The Apple Menu

Useful features:

  • System Preferences – change desktop, energy saver, set up printers, set sharing options, and lots more

  • Location – useful for setting networking preferences easily for laptop users

  • Recent Items – Stores your ten most recently used applications and documents

  • Force Quit – Force a non-responding application to quit (without losing any of your other work)

OS X File System

The file system in OS X is significantly different than the OS 9 file system, for a couple of different reasons:

  • The OS X file system is designed from the ground up to support multiple users on the same computer

  • Compared with OS 9, there are very few reasons to mess with any of the system files

Looking at the overall file system, there are only a few folders at the top of our hard drive that we will normally be interested in:

  • Applications – where all of your applications are stored. Look here if you want to use an application that’s not in your dock (or if you accidentally remove an application from your dock)

  • Users—the starting point for all the “Home” directories for users on this computer.

    • One way to share information between users on the same computer is to save it in the “Shared” folder inside the “Users” directory.

Your “Home” directory

Your “Home” directory has a few folders in it:

  • Store all of your word processing documents, spreadsheets, and other documents in the Documents directory

  • Use the Music, Pictures, and Movies folders for multimedia. iTunes and iPhoto automatically use the Music and Pictures folders.

  • You can try out web pages using the Sites directory

  • Your Public directory can be used both for sharing information with another user on the same computer, and other users on the network.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Use the three-column folder view to get a better sense of the file system organization

  • Use folders! Don’t just put all of your files in one place.

  • When dragging a file from one place to another, a green plus indicates you will be copying a file.

    • Or use cut/copy and paste (under the Edit menu in Finder) to move/copy files.

  • Need another finder window? Double-click on your hard drive icon

  • Take a minute to look at other Finder options:

    • Under the File menu, you can create new folders, create aliases, get additional info about a file or folder, and add a file or folder to your favorites

    • Use the View menu to change how you are viewing your files and folders

    • Use the Go menu to quickly open a window for a particular location

Working with Windows: Tips and Tricks:

  • Three buttons in the upper-left corner

    • Red: close window (might not close application!)

    • Yellow: minimize window to Dock

    • Green: change window to alternate size

  • Resize window by dragging lower-right corner.

  • Move window by dragging title bar

Working with an Application

Work and Home Macs

If you have a Mac at home and a Mac at work, there are a few ways to move files back and forth between computers:

  • Invest in a USB Flash Drive. They’re small enough to fit on your keychain, and can store large amounts of data (anywhere between 64 and 256MB for $25-$60)

  • For a more automatic option, consider investing in a .Mac membership. Among other features, you’ll get your own iDisk— a disk on an Apple server that you can access from both home and work.

Other Apple Applications

  • iCal—Calendar software. With a .Mac membership, you can publish a calendar for online viewing.

  • iSync—synchronize address book and iCal calendars between your computer, a .Mac membership, a Palm-type device, even a phone.

  • Backup—automatically back up documents and other information.

Other Neat Tricks

  • Need to send somebody a document via email, but not sure that they have the right application to open it? Create a PDF of it! Click on the “Save as PDF” button on the print dialog box of any application.

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