3 Tips for your Mac: Finding Files, Rebuilding Your Inbox, Adding Emoji

So, did you know you could trace a downloaded document back to the source? 

There may be times when you download a file and later would like to go back to the source. That happened to me recently when I filled out forms on-line and then needed to get back to the exact same spot when I found out I made a mistake. Fortunately, I had downloaded copies of the forms when I filled them out. There is an easy way to trace back to the source of documents you have downloaded.

Click on the document in question. Don’t open it up, just click on it once to highlight it. Then hit the Command key and the "i" key. That is going to open the Info dialog box.

Where From?

Portion of "Get Info"
Note the "Where from:" under "More Info"

In situations where you are getting information about a downloaded document you will be able to look under the row called More Info and you will see an option called “Where from”. There you will find the exact URL from which you originally found the document.

In the example above, it shows that I downloaded this product shot of Apple's iMac from Apple's public relations site.

So, did you know you there is something you could do when your Mail app starts running slow?

If you use Apple's Mail app on your Mac and notice that it seems to have slowed down, you can try rebuilding the message index databases to see if that will help. The more email you save, the more likely rebuilding the index is likely to help if Mail is being slow. It will take a while to complete, and some messages will be unavailable while it's happening, but it is worth doing periodically.

Also note that this will help if you're seeing some attachments corrupted or seeing some messages not format properly. Once you rebuild the index, both issues should be fixed.

Here's how to do it. With the Mail app open, select the Inbox or individual folder you want to rebuild. Most users will have just an Inbox, but if you have multiple email accounts that you check, you can select an individual Inbox. By the same token, you can select any individual folder.

Once you have the right Inbox or folder selected, go to the Mailbox pulldown menu and click Rebuild at the bottom of the menu (Mailbox > Rebuild). Repeat this step for each mail account or folder as needed.

Rebuild Mail option

You may notice a significant improvement after doing this.

So, did you know you could add real "smiley faces" to emails? 

Most of us, ahem, older folks know how to make a smiley face in emails. They go like this, (-: or some version thereof. Lately though, I have gotten a few messages with “real” smiley faces like the one above. I can’t let the kids get too far ahead of me, so I set out to figure this one out.

These special images are called Emoji, Japanese Full-color emoticons, and OS X Lion and above includes default support for them (as does iOS 4 and later). They can be added to emails and some text documents (not Microsoft Word). 

To use them you just need to set up the Characters tool. There are a couple of ways to do it, but if you plan to use it with any frequency the easiest way is to do this.

While in the Finder hit Shift+Command+G. A dialog will appear. When it does, type /System/Library/Input Methods and click the Go button.

Dialog box

Then look for the app called CharacterPalette and drag it to the Dock so it will be handy. If you don't want it on your Dock, create an alias on your desktop. When you open it, it will look like the image below (you'll have to choose "Emoji" in the left column, and then "People" in the column next to it). Note there are many, many, many more kinds of characters for you to choose, too.

Character Palette Emoji

Emoji in Character Palette

To add an Emoji to your email or document click on it in the character palette and drag and drop. With any luck at all, your kids will not know how to do this and you will be ahead by one point. 

Note that the Emoji will not be visible to anyone using Windows or Linux systems or on Macs running pre-Lion releases of OS X.