Macs may be more expensive, and Mac users more elitist (ahem), but blind Apple loyalty aside, there are a number of neat features bundled into your Mac that make it super useful and fun. We’ve covered dozens of Mac tips over the years in these pages, but today we’re highlighting 10 lesser-known Mac tricks that come baked into Leopard. From pure eye candy to outright productivity-boosters, read on to get reminded of some of the more obscure things you can do with your Mac, fresh out of the box.
10. Say anything.
Turn on your speakers, launch Terminal and type:
Yes, your Mac speaks. If you’ve got a text file you want your Mac to read to you, try:
9. Show off Stacks and Expose in slow motion.
Pretend you’re Steve Jobs showing off Leopard’s incredible graphics capability on the big stage with a press of the Shift key. Hold down Shift and click on one of your Dock’s Stacks, or hit F12 to invoke Dashboard—and watch the action happen in slow motion.
8. Activate screen corners.
Assign actions to each corner of your desktop by activating screen corners. In System Preferences, Expose & Spaces, set actions for each corner of your desktop. Then, perform those actions with a swipe of the mouse. (original post)
7. Display custom hard drive icons.
ID your digital camera card, USB drive, and external FireWire drive at a glance in Finder. Assign custom icons to each one of your drives to pretty up your desktop and make them easy to see.
6. Look up words in the dictionary with a keystroke.
Highlight any word in a native Cocoa app and press Apple+Ctrl+D to look it up in the built-in OS X dictionary and thesaurus.
5. Launch applications from Spotlight.
If Quicksilver ain’t your cup of tea—or you just use it to start applications—Spotlight can do that for you without running another application. Simply set Spotlight to include Applications in its search results, invoke it with the (default) keyboard shortcut, Cmd+Space, type your app name and hit Enter to launch it.
4. Tab between all controls.
By default your Mac’s Tab key doesn’t move between controls on a page or form other than text boxes and lists. Click the “All Controls” radio button at the bottom of the Keyboard & Mouse pane in System Preferences to right this wrong.
3. Zoom WAY in on a page.
Examine small text up close or just zoom in on a huge image by using the two-finger trackpad trick. Hold down the Control key, then drag TWO fingers up your Mac’s trackpad to give it a try. Here’s how to set up two-finger zoom. For more “holy crap look at that” tomfoolery, press Ctrl+Cmd+Opt+8.
2. Show the date on the menubar.
If you need more than just the current time in your Mac’s menubar, you can add the date as well. Here’s how to edit your date and time format to keep yourself from having to click the time whenever you want to see what day of the month it is.
1. Double as an external drive.
Want to move huge files onto one Mac from another? Using the Mac’s “Target Disk Mode,” a press of the T key during startup transforms your Mac into an external FireWire drive. Plug it into another Mac with a FireWire cable and copy files to and fro, no networking required.
What are your favourite Mac tricks? Shout ’em out in the comments.