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Computing With Bifocals
by Nancy Carroll Gravley

A column for people who remember what
the world was like before there was color.....

More Shortcuts & Other Reader Hints
November 29th, 2000

Letters, We Get Letters, We Get Stacks and Stacks of Letters

There was lots of great reader feedback this past week with additional shortcuts as well as other information. Without exception, everyone was thrilled with the list of shortcuts that I included in last week's column. That list was supplied by reader Chris Gleeson of Ontario. Since Chris has now been mentioned three consecutive weeks in this column he informs me that he has totally developed a big head. Without wasting another moment I want to get right to the reader comments.

Guillaume Gete wrote from France with this shortcut.

"Hit command at startup to turn off virtual memory."

Phillip Young also shared a shortcut. Boy, how I wish I had this capability at work where I use Windoz. Sometimes it takes forever to get through all the required folders to find what I need and then to close all the ones I don't want open.

"This only works if one has multiple programs open aside from the Finder. So, for instance, one has Sound Jam and Netscape open, and Netscape is in the foreground. If one holds down the Command + Option key while mouse clicking anywhere in the Finder, it will make Netscape hide. Alternatively, say Netscape (in the front) and SoundJam are both open and showing, one can use the same Command+Option while clicking in a SJ window and it will hide Netscape. Or (same latter situation), one can go up to the application menu, select any running app while holding those two keys and the uppermost app will hide. This is particularly good if one has five or more running applications."

Daniel Decker wrote with this shortcut for ejecting disks, floppies, etc. from your machine.

"Holding down the mouse button ejects inserted media in any drive, floppy, CD-ROM, DVD ROM. It's the only way to get a disk out of a slot loading iMac if you don't want it to mount at start up."

This shortcut came from David Burney.

"With a window in list view, hold down the option key and click on the "triangle" to expand a folder. Holding down the option key opens every enclosed folder, and every enclosed folder inside of those folders, etc., etc. I don't know how far down the folder hierarchy that will work. The same goes for closing the folder. Option-click on the "triangle" to close the folder will close all enclosed folders. This is good if your and avid "triangle" clicker like myself. I'll go through font folders and just leave them open and go to the root folder, option-click, and they're all closed the next time I go those folders. It's also handy in server situations where someone has opened every folder inside of every folder in list view on a shared folder or drive. Just option-click the root, and they all close."

I tried David's tip and it works like a champ. I have folders that go 4 deep and it worked for all of them. I can see this being a real help when trying to find something for which you don't remember the name.

Back in early February of this year I wrote a column about PDF files. (If you are not familiar with PDF files I suggest you review that column because more and more things on the net are available in that format.) As part of the column I mentioned IRS forms available on the Internet when I wrote:

"The IRS has built in the option of either downloading files to your desktop which you can then print and fill out, or the option to fill out the forms first and then print them out. If you want to just save the forms to be printed you should get them from If you want to fill in the forms while they are on screen and then print them out you can do so from This second option doesn't allow you to save your completed form. I guess if you want to get that ambitious you will have to purchase one of the commercial tax programs available for your computer."

Later in the year Brent Hoffman wrote to say that he thought he had seen fillable PDF forms on the IRS site, but his memory was not clear. This week Brent again wrote to say:

"Curiosity finally got the better of me and I went to Adobe's site. and They even cite that the IRS in 1999 went to fillable PDFs. For some reason the 1999 1040 downloads in a non-fillable form, but the others are fillable. You can not save them unless you have Acrobat, as opposed to the free Acrobat Reader."

Brent also included this handy tip which came from the Adobe site:

"How can you tell if a PDF form can be filled in electronically? In Acrobat, select the Hand tool and place it over the text-entry field. If the cursor changes to a text I-beam, then you can fill in the form on-screen. "

That's all for this week. Thanks to everyone for sending in those letters. Keep 'em coming! :-)

If you have any tips, suggestions, or other comments about this, or any other Mac topics, send them to me so that I can share them with other readers.

Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions  for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping.   To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.

Post your comments below.
Check out Nancy's complete index of all her columns for the most complete list of tips anywhere. The list is categorized and is a great reference when you are looking for help!

A Capacious Catalog Of Computer Tips

Talking to a generation that remembers what the world was like before there was color, covers issues for people who don't care how their computer works, but rather what their computer and the internet can do for them.

Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.

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