Mac Tips Your Friends May Not Even Know

| Computing with Bifocals

I have some more Mac tips to share with this column. I’ve got one about others being sneaky with your Mac, one for when you want to be sneaky, and two to save you time.   

I Always Want The Dock To Show Except When I Don’t

I am a Dock slave. I freely admit it. I use it constantly. I open documents by dragging them across their app icon on the Dock. I currently have 34 icons on my Dock and can’t identify any one that I feel I can remove. But, every once in a while the Dock does get in the way when I need to get at something on the very bottom of a large page or I need to grab the page stretch element that is available in the bottom right corner of most pages.  

I recently discovered that I don’t have to go to the Apple Menu > Dock and temporarily move the Dock to the side of my screen and later move it back to deal with this problem. Instead I can temporarily hide the Dock by tapping Command-Option-D. The Dock remains hidden until I tap the same sequence a second time, when it reappears.

I Saved It, I just Don’t Know Where. Exactly. I Mean, I Can Find It. Just Give Me Time. 

I have a bazillion things on my Mac and I try, I really do, to keep them organized in folders. When I need something I usually search for it by name using Spotlight or Alfred, but doing that does not tell me where it is saved.  Sometimes I need to know where something is saved. Particularly when I get ready to save it again. 

So if you have a document open, here is a fast way to find out where you have saved it previously. 

Right clicking the icon at the top of the window

Location Icon

 reveals exactly where the file is saved. It’s handy for when you’re not sure where you’ve saved something and don’t want to search.

You will be able to see the exact path of the location via icons, no matter how deeply imbedded in your folder hierarchy it may be.

Illustrated Path

This image shows that on my computer, within my hard drives user files, in my home folders desktop, I have a folder named Documents, and within that I have a folder named CapMacOfficerStuff.  Inside that I have a folder named Membership Lists, and inside that I have the 09 lists, and there my document of interest rests. Beats the heck out of looking for it. 

Now, for those skeptics who ask why do you have to look for it when you have it open, I will reply that if you don’t know where you have it saved and you are making changes to it that you need in the near future, what you will probably do is just save a new copy to the desk top, thereby clogging up your computer with unnecessary stuff.

If you know where it is saved, you can make your changes and drag the original onto the desktop until you are finished with it.

Hide It Fast 

Sometimes you need to hide what you are doing really, really fast. I’m quite sure this occurs because you are ordering that special someone a gift and not because you are playing a game at work, but be that as it may, you have a reason to hide it quickly. Tap Command-H and your active application is gone.  Well, it’s really just hidden, but that’s the point here, right?

There’s another option for hiding open windows, too. Command-Option-M is a great key command that minimizes all open windows in the app you are using to the Dock. That keeps your application running and in the foreground, allowing you to open new windows or documents, while tucking all of the windows or documents you already had open safely away in the dock (you’ll need to click on each open window in your Dock to bring them back out).

If you are doing something really, really bad you can just tap Command-Option-Shift-Q to immediately log out. But you better memorize that one, because if you are doing something really, really bad and get flustered, you know what can happen. I’m just saying!

I Didn’t Tell Them They Could Do That! 

There may be third-party applications (applications made by companies other than Apple) doing sneaky things behind your back. If it seems that it takes longer and longer for your Mac to come up when you first turn it on, you can check to see if any of these sneaky behaviors are the source of your problem before you try harder testing. 

Open System Preferences.  (Apple Menu > System Preferences.) 

Now click on Accounts and make sure you are in your Administrator account. 

Now click on the Login Items tab. 

Login Items Tab in Accounts Preference

This pane lists everything that is directed to open when you turn on your computer. 

You might be surprised to see just how many applications plop themselves down in this pane so that they will open every time you turn on your computer. If you like that convenience, then leave everything as is, but remember that each one of those apps must open before your computer is ready to use. 

After a lot of experimenting I decided that it was much faster to put the apps I use the most on my Dock and open them from there than to have them automatically open while my computer is coming up.  

It is easy to deal with this. You can remove items from the login list by highlighting them and clicking on the minus button. 

If you designate more than one administrator on your machine you will need to do this for each administrator account.

I hope some of these tips are new to you and that will find them helpful. And, if it is a really good day, you will be able to pass one of them on to a child or grandchild who didn’t know about them.

If you would like to see more tips check out my manual.

__________________

A compilation of tips for beginners can be found in my beginners manual Tips, Hints, and Solutions For Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With Leopard and Snow Leopard The entire Table of Contents and a sample page are available for free review for anyone who wishes to see them.

The first is the more traditional printed book format, spiral bound. Cost is US$17.15 each, plus shipping. All the illustrations have been printed in black and white to reduce the purchase price.


The second option is a PDF download version. This is the full version of the book available in the same format as that available in the free review The contents are hyperlinked from the Table of Contents for ease of location. This version is US$9.85. After payment has been verified the purchaser will be sent a URL where they can download of the document.

Anyone wishing to pay with a money order or cashier check may contact me through TMO at nancy@macobserver.com


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Comments

MOSiX Man

Great tips, Nancy. Another great way to find where a document is, if you don’t happen to have it open, is to search for it via Spotlight, then option-click (navigating to the item, via the keyboard and then using option-enter works, too) on the item where it appears in the results list. This will open the folder in which the file resides. I also find it best to have the path bar enabled in the Finder, just in case the location of that folder, itself, is a bit murky.

dmuzzy

Nice article.

I wanted to add to your tip about finding documents. When you right-click to bring up the hierarchy list of enclosing folders, you can click on any of those folders to bring them up in the finder.

Nancy Gravley

Thanks for the input MOSiX.  Appreciate the additional information.

Torgo

I think your understanding of hiding applications is a bit off. Command-H does the same thing as going to the application’s menu and choosing “Hide <Whatever app name>”. It doesn’t close or save any windows; it merely hides all windows associated with the app. The application continues to run in the background, but you won’t see it.

When you click its icon again in the dock, all you’re doing is bringing the application to the front again, thereby showing it. All your windows should be in the same state they were when you hid it.

This also means that if your Mac crashes (in the rare case) and you have unsaved documents in a hidden app, you lose those changes.

Keith Smith

Nice tips.  I attended a presentation on iOS programming basics run by our regional Apple rep a couple of weeks ago and he showed us that trick on locating an open file that way.  He also demo’ed that you could make a copy of the file by drag-and-dropping that little icon to an open Finder window.  And, if you’re looking for a file you saved today, open a Finder window and scroll the sidebar down to “Search For” - the default shows options for “Today”, “Yesterday”, and “Past Week”, which will show you that time period’s activity in a Search window.  Cool stuff, and it’s been sitting there right in front of us the whole time…

Bryan Chaffin

I think your understanding of hiding applications is a bit off.

Thanks for the note, Torgo. I should have caught that in editing. I think I got too excited about command-option-m, and skipped over the command-h notes.

In any event, Nancy and I worked out what she wanted to say and we’ve edited the article accordingly.

Thanks again, and consider registering. We’d love to have you be a regular part of our discussions here. smile

Jim

I think that is supposed to be command-option enter, not option enter.

MOSiX Man

Ah, you’re right. Just double checked it. It appears that option-enter opens a Finder search for the same term entered into Spotlight. I sit corrected.

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