More Insider Secrets
|Mac OS X is full of little touches that, while sometimes silly, make the overall experience more fun. The first interface flourish most users stumble across is the genie effect: the silky-smooth way that windows glide into the Dock when minimized--not unlike a genie into a bottle, as the name suggests. As cool as the genie effect is, it's not the only one available. Choose Dock > Dock Preferences from the Apple menu. In the Dock Preferences pane, you'll see an option labeled Minimize Using. By default, it's set to Genie Effect, but you can change it to Scale Effect.
The scale effect causes minimized windows to shrink as they zoom toward their position in the Dock, but it doesn't deform their shape as the genie effect does. If you have a slower Mac, you might find that using the scale effect slightly improves the performance of window minimization because it is a little less taxing on the system. Even if you have a fast Mac, you might prefer the clean look of windows scaling toward the dock.
There's yet another minimizing effect, but it's hidden away, and you can't get to it through System Preferences. It's called the suck effect.
To enable this effect, open the Terminal (/Applications/Utilities), and type the following command after $:
defaults write com.apple.dock mineffect suck
Next, log out by choosing "Log out your name
…" from the Apple menu. When you log back in, the suck effect will be enabled. Minimized windows will have the appearance of being sucked into their spot in the Dock--perfect for all you Hoover lovers out there. You can turn off the suck effect by going back to Dock Preferences and reselecting one of the other effects. You don't need to log out again.
Exposing Windows with Exposé
You're probably already familiar with the basics of the Exposé feature introduced in Panther. By default, briefly pressing F9 reveals all currently open windows, allowing you to select one by clicking it with the mouse. Pressing F10 does the same, but it reveals only the windows that belong to the currently active application. Finally, pressing F11 temporarily pushes all windows aside to reveal your Desktop.
But did you know you can also use Exposé as a funky application switcher? First, press F10 to view windows in your current application. Then press Tab several times to cycle through all your open applications. Press Return to select the desired application when it comes around.
You can change the keys used to activate Exposé, and you can assign Exposé actions to extra mouse buttons (if you have them) by using the Exposé Preferences pane in System Preferences.
The Mac was the computer that brought the mouse and point-and-click computing to the masses. But even as powerful as the mouse is, the use of keyboard shortcuts is an important part of the modern computing experience. Let's face it, hitting Command+S is a heck of a lot faster than taking your hand off the keyboard, finding the mouse, then using the File > Save menu. But using the mouse and keyboard is not an either/or situation. There are a few ways in which you can use the keyboard and mouse together
to perform actions quickly.
Using the keyboard and the mouse to switch apps
Consider the trick mentioned above, using Exposé to switch between open windows. If you use the mouse and the keyboard together, you can switch windows even more gracefully. For example, if you've left the Exposé keyboard mappings with their default settings, press and hold down the F9 key. While all your open windows are spread out across the screen, mouse over the window you want to pop to the foreground. There's no need to click the window; just release the F9 key, and the window you selected will pop to the top.
We also found, much to our surprise, that this trick works when switching applications with Alt+Tab. Try it--press and hold down the Alt and Tab keys. Now, instead of hitting Tab repeatedly to move the highlight between applications, scrub across the applications with your mouse. When you've highlighted the application you want, release the Alt and Tab keys. Voilà! The application you selected will appear at the top of your screen.
Safari seems to be the Web-browsing choice of a new generation, leaving the good-for-its-time Internet Explorer far behind and relegating Mozilla and derivatives to experimental use. But are you getting the most out of Safari or just using the bare minimum (and what a bare minimum that is) of its features?
Bits and bobs
You may assume everyone is aware of the same helpful shortcuts and neat menu items that you are. And you'd often be wrong. In case you're not in the know about all of these, here are some favorite Safari tips and tricks.
- Activity (a.k.a. Context)
Open Safari's Activity window (Window > Activity or Command+Option+A), select all (Command+A), and copy (Command+C). You now have the URLs of all open tabs in the clipboard. Paste them into a sticky (Applications > Stickies) for safekeeping, in case Safari crashes, as it sometimes does, taking hours' worth of context with it. Paste them into iChat to share with a friend or colleague.
The same thing is true of Safari's Downloads window (Window > Downloads or Command+Option+L), where copying and pasting net you the source URLs for your recent crop of downloads. Save them as a download_log.txt file somewhere for a record of what you've downloaded and possibly installed. Copy a single download URL by Control- or right-clicking any item in the Downloads window and selecting Copy Address from the contextual menu.
At the bottom of each bookmark folder is an option to Open In Tabs. Click it to open all the bookmarks in that folder in a set of tabs in a single window. This is useful for setting up your day's context first thing in the morning or keeping an eye on sites you track on a regular basis but that don't syndicate their content.
With tabbed browsing enabled in Safari's Preferences pane (Safari > Preferences > Tabs > Enable Tabbed Browsing), Command+click opens a link in a new tab, Command+Shift+click opens it in a new tab and brings that tab to the fore, Command+Option+click opens a link in a new window behind the current one, and Command+Option+Shift+click opens a link in a new window and brings it to the fore.
Click, hold, and drag links or images to move them from Safari. You can place them on the Desktop, in any other folder or drive, or into the text bar of an iChat window or just about any document. You can also drag an image from Safari over your icon in the iChat buddy list to use it as your icon or drag it over the chat area to set it as the background for your conversation.
- Keyboard shortcuts
Safari provides a local file that lists most of its keyboard shortcuts (file:///Applications/Safari.app/Contents/Resources/Shortcuts.html); bookmark it in Safari for quick reference. You should also bookmark Dori Smith's extended list of shortcuts, which vastly improves upon Apple's default list.
|Submitted by: |
Rael Dornfest and James Duncan Davidson
|Rael Dornfest is chief technology officer at O'Reilly Media and series editor of the O'Reilly Hacks series. He has edited, contributed to, or coauthored Mac OS X Panther Hacks, Mac OS X Hacks, Google Hacks, and many other O'Reilly books. James Duncan Davidson is a freelance author, software developer, and consultant who is also the author of Learning Cocoa with Objective-C, Cocoa in a Nutshell, and Running Mac OS X Panther. |
This material has been adapted from Mac OS X Panther Hacks by Rael Dornfest and James Duncan Davidson, published by O'Reilly Media. Copyright O'Reilly Media, 2004. All rights reserved. O'Reilly makes no representation as to the accuracy of the materials provided by them. To purchase this or other O'Reilly publications, click here.