The Ultimate Guide for switching from a PC to a Mac
(Part 2 - coming soon)

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Controlling QuickTime with the scroll ball!

A great tip submitted by Jean-Pierre Nelson: controlling QuickTime with the mouse! Using a scroll ball like the one on the mighty mouse, you can easily change the volume and move through a video in QuickTime. Scrolling left and right will adjust the volume (the volume setting that is separate from the system volume control). Scrolling up or down will move forward or backward through the video. Thanks Jean-Pierre for the great tip!

A great QuickSilver tip is coming tomorrow!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Multiple lines iChat message!

A great tip submitted by Hunter Evans(Hunter's site - coming soon): multiple lines iChat message! When you press "Enter" (Return) in iChat, it sends the message making it impossible to send a message that contains multiple lines. There is a quick and easy way however, you simply have to press "Option - Enter" to go to the second line without having to send the first line right away. Thanks for the tip Hunter!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Snapped on the grid icons?

A great tip submitted by Ties Van Veelen! With "Snap to grid" selected in the View Options, every icons will be perfectly aligned on to an invisible grid. Sometimes, depending where you drag it to, it will just kind of choose where to put the file and not actually follow what you want. There is a way to force it to ignore the "Snap to grid" option and it is by holding down "Command". With Command-drag, you can put the files wherever you choose to while keeping "Snap to Grid" for when it's useful! Thanks Ties Van Veelen!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Even better screenshots!

I posted in January a tip with the quick shortcuts for taking screenshots: "Command - Shift - 3" for the whole screen and "Command - Shift - 4" for a part. Well here is a great tip submitted by Joseph that complements that. When you press "Command - Shift - 4", instead of selecting an area to capture, you can simply add a "Spacebar" and a little camera will pop up enabling you to take a screenshot of only one window without having to select precisely what to capture! Thanks Joseph for that great tip!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Force a running app not to appear in the Dock!

This is a pretty cool application that forces the applications that you choose not to be displayed in the Dock even when it's running. It's a freeware called Dock Dodger. You only have to run it to choose which app not to display. It doesn't have to be running non-stop. I like the app a lot especially for softwares that I always start from a file and not from the app icon itself. It's very useful if you are running out of space on your Dock. One of the things that I didn't like is that the icon disappears from the "Command-Tab" list of running apps. The menus at the top also disappear, but you can still use the keyboard shortcuts. Overall, I think it's a great little application that has a lot of potential especially considering it's the first public release. Because of the slight annoyance like no menus, I didn't choose this for all the apps I wanted to at first, but I still activated for many simpler applications such as the software for my scanner. Download here on MacUpdate.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Keyboard controls in iTunes!

There are a few pretty cool keyboard shortcuts that use the arrows in iTunes. First, you can change to the next or the previous track using "Command-right arrow" or "Command-left arrow". There is also a second volume setting in iTunes that is independent from the system sound. To change iTunes volume setting, you can use "Command-up arrow" and "Command-down arrow".

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Downloading Linked File in a single click!

A great tip submitted by Pablo Goldbarg: Downloading Linked File in a single click! In Safari, you can right click (or Ctrl-click) on any link and choose "Download Linked File" to download the target of the link. Instead of using this long key combination, you can simply press "Option-click" (Alt-click) and the download will start immediately. Thanks Pablo for the great tip!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Closing a widget quickly!

A great tip submitted by Hunter Evans(Hunter's site - coming soon): closing a widget quickly! Normally, to close a widget, you have to click the little plus in the lower left corner of the dashboard to bring up the list of widget that you can add and you then click the little x in the top left corner of any widget. There is a much quicker way however: you can simply hold down "Option"(Alt) and mouse over the widget to have the closing "x" appear!

The long way:

The quick way:

Also don't forget to take a look at the "New Mac Tip Every Day" Store. It is now available in the United States and in Canada! More countries are on the way.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Special icons for Mail!

Changing applications icons is a good and easy way of customising your computer and operating system. To change the icon, you simple have to select the downloaded icon and press "Command - I" or choose "Get info" from the Finder File menu. You then click on the small thumbnail of the icon in the upper left corner and press "Command - C" to copy it. With the application closed, you "Get info" of the app, click the small icon in the upper left corner and press "Command - V" to paste it in there. That's it. Thanks to Antony Ellam for posting the following great icons on his blog and thanks also to for the Canadian Mail Icon.

You can download the following icons here:

Royal Mail 'Textured'
England 1st class England 2nd class Scotland

 WalesRoyal Mail World WideRoyal Mail Europe
 ConcordeAmerican Flag

And this one here:

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Replying and fowarding only a fraction of an email!

A great tip submitted by Roel Van Gils: replying and fowarding only a fraction of an email! In the Mail application, instead of pushing reply or foward and then taking extra time to delete what you don't need anymore, you can highlight some text from the email you received and when you'll press reply or foward, only this portion will be in the new message. Thanks Roel!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sound options in your menubar!

One of the thing that bothers me most on a Mac Pro is to choose between the external and the internal speakers, you always have to go to System Preferences. I thought it wouldn't be an issue as I can always leave the output to the external speakers but when you want to use headphones, it doesn't switch automatically. This tip is also very useful for inputs when podcasting or recording audio. It basically brings all the input and output options to the menubar. It is a free download here on MacUpdate. It is really a timesaver for podcasting or if you own a Mac Pro.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Slow motion minimize and slow motion widgets!

Hey! One of the coolest and flashiest tip: slow motion minimize and slow motion widgets! This is actually complementing the "Flashy Expose" tip. The "Shift" can be added to F12 to get the widgets in slow motion as well. It also works when you minimize a window. You simply have to push "Shift", click on the yellow minimize button and Boom! It's definitely not a productivity tip but it looks really cool and most windows users are stunned when they see this!

A great new tip is coming tomorrow about sound inputs and outputs!

You can also expect a review (it won't count as a tip, it will be on top of the tips!!) of Joost in the coming weeks as I should enter the Beta testing very soon!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Solve accent issues on many websites!

This is another great tip submitted by Dominic Tremblay. The websites created in iWeb have issues with displaying the right accent in French, Spanish and many other languages. iWeb works great for creating websites and uploading them to .Mac but it's still not perfect with publishing it to a folder. Many North-American and European hosting are using Latin-1 as encoding. Latin-1 supports many languages including French, Spanish, German, etc but it does not support every languages. That is why Apple only offers Unicode(UTF-8) with iWeb and .Mac. The issue is iWeb forces you to use Unicode(UTF-8) but not all hostings support it. I received many email from peoples who had difficulty with their iWeb websites and it was because their hosting was only offering other encoding such as Latin-1. The solution is simple and it is to add a file called ".htaccess" that contains the following:

AddCharset UTF-8 .html

It is sometimes preferable to call it "htaccess" without the "." until it is
uploaded to the server because all files starting with a "." in OS X are hidden. You can rename it once it is on the server and the accent shoud then be displayed fine! Thanks Dominic!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Summarizing a long document into a few lines!

A cool feature hidden in the Services menu (for Cocoa apps only, not Microsoft apps!) is the "Summarize" function. It uses a complicated algorithm to transform a long text and summarize it into a short paragraph. I wasn't convinced this would really work at first, but after using it, it works great. There is unfortunately no keyboard shortcut but you simply have to highlight some text and choose "Summarize" in the service menu! Screenshot:

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Very nice non-apple screensaver!

This is one of the best non-apple screensaver: Fenêtres Volantes! It basically takes the running windows and make them fly around in three-dimension over a black Apple-like background along with the mirror Apple-like effect. It works very well. The only thing I noticed is that it requires a lot of system ressources. I have seen it work on a PowerBook G4 (last model), on a 2.33GHz C2D MBP (256 MB x1600) and on a Quad 2.66 GHz Mac Pro with the x1900 XT. It worked on all but it lagged on the PowerBook, it was better on the MacBook Pro but it still lagged sometimes when it starts and it ran smoothly on the Mac Pro. It still works very well on all these Macs. The built-in Core Animation in Leopard will apparently reduces the strong requirements for this screensaver! Check it out on the developper's site here.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Forcing an app to open a file!

On a Mac, files can easily be opened by dragging the file to the app in the Dock. The application will then run and open the file. Sometimes however, the apps won't become highlighted when you bring the file over it and it will refuse to open. This happens when the file is supposedly not supported by this app. This is not always true and it happened to me many times with VLC. The video file ran great but VLC didn't recognize it as supported at first. A cool fix exists however, when you drag an unsupported file, you simply have to push "Command-Alt" and boom the icon becomes highlighted and it will force the app to try opening the desired file. It worked with every application I tried it with.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Using Spotlight as a Dock replacement!

Spotlight indexing feature really speeds up searches and it makes it a possible Dock replacement. It basically acts as an application launcher. The shortcut "Command-Spacebar" brings up spotlight, you can type the first few letters of the app and the app will appear in the "Top Hit" section. You can just move down with the arrows and hit "Return" to launch the app instantly.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Transferring iWeb websites to another computer or another account!

This is a great tip submitted by Dominic Tremblay! iWeb has many issues: you cannot have many websites saved in different files where you can choose which one to open and the sites stay in iWeb forever until you delete it. It is also only saved in iWeb on one computer and on one particular account or it is exported as html. To transfer your websites to another account or to another computer, you can copy the file located in Users/accountname/library/Application Support/iWeb/Domain into the same folder on the other account (or computer). The only issue with this is that you cannot choose which one of your websites to copy and if the account to which you are copying it to has websites in iWeb, they'll be destroyed. This is not the best solution but it is one of the only way now since it isn't supported by the software. This is definitely one of the functions that Apple has to add in iWeb 2.0! Thanks for the tip Dominic!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Transparent windows!

A great tip submitted by Nick Brian: transparent windows. An amazing free application that can change the transparency level of any windows (in Cocoa apps) in a simple key combination! The productivity gain is remarkable as you can really quickly see what is happening in the windows under! The app is called Afloat and is a free download here on MacUpdate. Once the app is installed in System preferences, enabled and the app restarted, you can easily change the transparency of a window by clicking "Ctrl-Command-Page down" to increase transparency or "Ctrl-Command-Page up" to decrease. Thanks for the great tip Nick!

Monday, March 12, 2007

iChat away message!

This is a great tip submitted by Hunter Evans! iChat remembers your away messages by default. This can be changed in "Edit Status Menu...". There is another way however: you can keep the "Remember custom messages" checked and choose to apply one that is not going to be saved. To do this, when you type your away message, you simple have to press "Shift-Enter" (Shift-Return) instead of pressing Enter (or Return) and the message won't be added to the Status Menu. Thanks Hunter!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Reduce spam or get rid of unwanted mail!

A pretty cool function hidden in Mac OS Mail application is "Bounce". Basically, what it does is it resends the email to the sender and it looks like the message bounced back and the address doesn't exist. This can be useful to get off a mailling list that you're stuck in or simply for pretending you didn't receive a message you don't want. It can be added to the Mail toolbar by right-clicking on the toolbar and adding the "Bounce" icon to the toolbar. I tried it with both .Mac and GMail and it worked. Example:

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Saving an unsaveable file from a website!

This is a great tip submitted by Nick Brian: saving anything from any website! In Safari, in any website, you can click "Command-Option-A" (Command-Alt-A) to bring up a list of opened website with all the different files: pictures, video, audio, etc. One of the thing that this solves is on YouTube. YouTube doesn't let you download a video. With this, you simply have to use this keyboard shortcut, select the video file (I quickly spotted it as it was bigger than everything else (3 MB) and it was currently being downloaded) and double click to download it. The YouTube video file didn't play back in QuickTime but it worked just fine in VLC!

Friday, March 9, 2007

Best QuickTime replacement!

It happens many time that QuickTime just cannot read some video files with weird codec. It is always best to have an alternative on hand and I must admit that I am not using this cool app as an "alternative" anymore. I don't know why but many video simply looks better with this app: VLC. It works in almost every operating system and it is free. The only complain I have is that the control are not in the same window as the video. It works amazingly well and like FireFox is a backup when Safari doesn't work, VLC is the same for QuickTime! More details and download here on the developer's site!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Redirecting or fowarding mail?

A pretty cool feature that is not as known as it should be: redirecting. When I receive an email that really should be destined to someone else, I usually foward it. There's an even better way of doing that with redirecting. By either right clicking on an email to choose "redirecting" or getting it from the toolbar (it can be added by choosing "Customize the toolbar" when right clicking in the toolbar and dragging it in), you can foward an email but instead of it being sent as you, it is sent as the one who first sent it to you. Basically, the new receiver won't see "From: you" but "From: the original sender". The new receiver will still be able to see you redirected it, but it will look much cleaner and it'll be more straightfoward for the final receiver. Screenshot:

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Flashy Expose!

This tip is more aimed at impressing your friends than for productivity. You can use the traditional Expose buttons F9, F10 and F11 while holding down the "Shift" button. It will complete the same task it is supposed to do but in slow motion. The result can look pretty cool. Here are some screenshots showing what it does. If it was really moving in real time, I could never have taken these screenshots:

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

"Path" Finder options for a webpage!

In the Finder, you can browse with the back and foward button or with the path options. Both functions are needed and makes browsing through your files so much easier. The Back and Foward button have been used in web browser forever, but what about the path? Well Apple did implement this great functionality. You can simply hold "Command' and push on the title of the site just like in the Finder. This is very useful when you follow a link and end up somewhere on a site. You wish you could simply go back to the main page but the site is not clear about how to. Here is an example of what it looks like:

Monday, March 5, 2007

Quickly rearrange your dock!

Okay, so this is really an extension of the tip about the keyboard shortcut for the Dock (Ctrl-F3 or Fn-Ctrl-F3). I started using it a lot and I discovered that you can also use this shortcut to move applications around on the Dock. Once you used the same key combination, you can move the icons around with "Alt-left or right arrow" (or Option instead of Alt if you prefer, same thing really!).

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Dragging or copying files?

By default, when you drag a file, it simply moves it. Sometimes, it would be cool if you could drag it in the same way but decide to copy it instead. Well, it is possible. You can hold down "Alt" when dragging the files and the little green + icon will appear confirming that you are indeed copying it. I tried taking a screenshot with the nice shortcut but it wouldn't work while dragging the files.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Full screen video without QuickTime Pro!

I have to admit, at first I found the fact that the free version of QuickTime didn't support full screen viewing very disappointing. I finally bought QuickTime Pro and it solved the problem. The only thing is that I needed the other functionalities offered by the Pro version, but I think many people are forced to buy the Pro version only for the full screen option. A very cool AppleScript can solves this issue. It was sent to me by Jon Brackett who got it off

To create this script, you have to open Script Editor located in Applications, AppleScript. You than enter the following in the text box:

tell application “QuickTime Player”
present front movie scale screen
end tell

You than save the script where you want it to be when you'll need it. With a video open in QuickTime, you can simply launch the Script and the video will go fullscreen! Thanks to Jon and for this great tip!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Use the Dock without the mouse!

The mouse is really a slowdown for productivity compared to the keyboard. One of my greatest productivity boost came from using the tip about the menu bar (Ctrl-F2). I think this one is the next best one! It is a keyboard shortcut for the Dock. With this, you can easily access the Dock with "Ctrl-F3". You can then move around the Dock with the arrows and open up application in a snap! You can also leave the dock with "Esc". On a portable, you might have to use "Fn-Ctrl-F3" if the F3 button is already assigned. Example in the screenshot:

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Change the finder appearance!

The little button in the upper right corner offers two different Finder appearances. There is more to it than just that however! The main appearance we are used to is this one:

The other one it offers is this one:

What is really cool is that you can also have these appearances by holding "Command" and clicking the same button! You have different font sizes and the choice of icons or not in the toolbar.

Brain Toniq. Clear the head fog
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