Nancy’s Tip-a-palooza

| Computing with Bifocals

It's time a plain old tips column. In fact, it has been way too long. I have been tied up reviewing cool products from Macworld Expo, but nothing really replaces tips for beginners. So here are some that have either come my way recently, or I have stumbled across them myself trying to solve problems. I hope you find them helpful.

Reset Safari
Last time I tried to make an entry into my blog, Safari was acting wonky. That's a technical term for it was acting up and I didn't know why. I would enter the information, hit the publish button, and everything would disappear. I asked my favorite expert and she asked me how long it had been since I had reset Safari.

Obviously it had been too long. I have been doing lots of research and the cache files were really full. As soon as I did the simple reset, everything started working again just fine. When you do a reset you get rid of all the accumulated cache files and other stuff that can slow down your browser

With Safari open, select Safari > Reset Safari. You get this window:

Reset Safari Window

It is really important that you uncheck the boxes next to things that you don't want cleaned out, such as your saved names and passwords, and other AutoFill form text. Once you have the boxes set to your satisfaction, you can hit the Reset button. That's all there is to it.

It's like getting the oil changed in your car.

Read Newspapers Around The World
A friend sent me a link to the Newseum Web site and I thought when I first checked it out that it would have been interesting to have during our recent presidential election. When you click on the URL it will take you to a Web site that opens to a map of the U.S. with tabbed links to other parts of the world.

The map has orange dots scattered across it. Each dot represents a major newspaper from the area. Click on the dot and the front page of the local newspaper will open. You only get the front page, but it certainly gives you the take on the news from the perspective of that area.

Reload Dashboard Widgets
Click on any widget in your Dashboard and then press Command-R. The widget will execute a whirling image and then settle back to its normal image. This reloads the widget and refreshes any data that the widget calls upon. It is as if you were just installing it for the first time.

If the widget has been updated since you originally installed it, you will get the latest version with little effort on your part.

Arrange System Preferences Icons Alphabetically It so destroys my image as someone who knows what they are doing when I can't find the System preference I need. You just have no idea! I blame it on being blind. Imagine my delight to discover that I could change the arrangement from the default listing of five categories (personal, hardware, internet and network, system, and other), to a straight alphabetical listing.

To do this to your list choose Apple Menu > System Preferences > View > Organize Alphabetically. Amazing.

System Preferences Window

Close the Printer Icon in the Dock After Printing

When you print something the printer icon shows up in your Dock. Then it takes root and doesn't go away, taking up real estate and making all your other icons a bit smaller.

To stop that from happening next time you print something, try this:

  • Click and hold on the printer's icon in the Dock
  • Choose Auto Quit from the pop-up menu
  • Click and hold on the printer's icon in the Dock again
  • Select Quit

Open Multiple Inspector Windows In An Application
I discovered this tip by accident and then couldn't figure out how I had done it. Fortunately, I kept experimenting and reproduced the effect because it is a handy tip.

Anyone who has ever worked with the Inspector windows has experienced this: Say you are in Pages. You position an image within a text block, so you go to the Wrap button. Then you want to put a shadow around the bottom of it, so you go to the Graphic button. Then you want to add a list and indent it, so you go to the Text button, and then you need to go back to... Well, whatever. When you open one Inspector, it closes the last one you had open.

There is a way to open the panels and make them stay open as long as you want. Instead of just clicking on the button, try Option-clicking. Such a time saver!

Create A Favorites List in The Character Palette
The Character Palette is the storage bin for all the symbols you periodically need when that are not built into your keyboard. Things like 〫© ™ ←↑→↓. You can create a list of favorites so that you don't have to search to find the ones you use frequently when you need them.

To access the Character Palette you want to put it in the menu bar, select Apple Menu > System Preferences > International > Input Menu. Put a check in the box next to Character Palette, and while you are there, put a check next to Keyboard Viewer as well. The Character Palette will now be in the menu bar, displayed under a flag of the language you selected as your language of choice.

Add To Favorites Menu

Now click the flag in your menu bar to select and open the Character Palette and find a symbol you frequently use. Click on the character you want so that it is highlighted. Look to the bottom left corner of the window and find the gear shaped symbol and click on it. A menu will open, and one of the options is Add to Favorites. Select that option and the symbol will be added to the favorites. Repeat as necessary to add all the symbols you wish to your favorites list. Whenever you add a symbol from your favorites list to your document it automatically adjusts to match the formatting of the document.

Sample Favorites Palette

If you find these tips helpful you might want to take a look at my tips and hints manual. Purchase information follows. Meanwhile, keep exploring all the fun things you can do on your Mac.

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My Tips and Hints Manual for Experienced Beginners is available for purchase. The entire Table of Contents and a sample page are available for free review for anyone who wishes to see them. I am making this book available in three formats:

The first is the more traditional printed book format, spiral bound. Cost is U.S. $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 U.S. $9.85 After payment has been verified the purchaser will be sent a URL where they can download of the document.
The third option is a CD format. It is the PDF version saved to a CD and the contents are also hyperlinked from the Table of Contents for ease of location. This version is $10.85 plus shipping.

Payment for any version must be made using PayPal. Clicking on the Buy Now button next to the version you want to purchase will take you directly to PayPal where you can place your order and make your payment. Payment can be made through PayPal even if you are not a PayPal member.

Anyone wishing to pay with a money order or cashier check may contact me through TMO at

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Comments

Paul

Great tip about the printer! That’s been bothering me since I upgraded to 10.5 (I think that’s when Apple changed the default behavior).

wpaolini

I really liked your tips and I have used a Mac since the Mac Plus. You can never learn enough. I preach to all my Mac friends to force the maintenance scripts and clean the caches. Many don’t know about these things that keep your system running clean.

macgenie

Thanks, Nancy! The tip about the printer was great! It’s been a slightly nagging problem that I’ve not bothered to look into, and now you’ve saved me the trouble.

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