Safari for Sore Eyes

| Computing with Bifocals

You know how you can look at a word and see something entirely different and the word you think you see makes no sense whatsoever? You look at “first” and read “fish.” And then you look again and read it correctly and think you are SO glad you did not blurt out something really stupid when you read it the first time. Or worse yet, you did blurt something really stupid when you read it the first time.

I’m sure you have noticed an increase in this “little problem” as you have gotten older. I had cataract surgery this year, see better than I ever have, and it still happens to me. Sometimes I think my brain takes a nap on the way to my eyes. At least I have learned to keep my mouth shut more often.

I bring this up to (1) point out that you are not alone, and (2) as a way to mention the first tip of this column. 

The things you can do to control the size of the material you read on your Mac.

If you have trouble reading text online and you are using a Mac, there is an easy, quick, temporary solution. This has been around since the Leopard version of the operating system, so it doesn’t matter which OS you are using. 

Hold down the Control key and scroll with the scroll button on your mouse, or two-finger swipe up or down on your Mac’s trackpad. Scroll up to make the text larger, down to make it normal size again. With a Mighty Mouse you can also scroll left and right if needed. 

If You would rather set the text to always be bigger you may so do so by adjusting a preference setting in most web browsers. The down side is that you will have to scroll up and down pages more, but if you have to do that to be able to read, then it is probably worth it.  

If you use Safari, choose Safari > Preferences > Advanced. Select the checkbox “Never use fonts smaller than” and choose the font size you want from the menu.

Preference Window For Controlling Font Size in Safari

You will see the font change on the page you are reading. Close the window and the preference will be set. 

If you are reading a page where the text is displayed as a graphic the text size may not change because you are actually looking at a picture. When that happens, you can always use the mouse scroll method noted above. It always works. 

If using the keyboard rather than a mouse or scroll pad is your thing, you can do this with key strokes. Select the Apple Menu > System Preferences > Universal Access > Seeing. Click the button to turn on Zoom. Click the Options button. Here you can find the keyboard combinations and set other options that meet your needs.

Turn Zoom On and Off

Ways to Deal When Your Mac Freezes

Sometimes your Mac will freeze on you. It might be because you are running an application that has bugs in it. It might be that you have too many applications open at once for the amount of memory that you have. It might be that there was a power surge. It might be that you have a problem with your Mac. 

If this problem happens to you with any frequency you should get it checked out because with Macs it is not expected behavior. I have a MacBook Pro and there are times that I have 8-10 applications open at a time because of work that I am doing and my machine has not had a freeze in the past six months. 

But they do happen. Here are some ways you can get your Mac going again without doing damage. 

  • Open the Force Quit Applications window so you can quit the frozen application without having to shut down your whole computer: Command-Option-Escape.
  • Stop a Process: Command-period (.)
  • Force the computer to shut down: Hold down the Power button. (Not your best option because it doesn’t allow the computer to go through all the usual shut down steps.)
  • Quit all open applications and restart: Command-Control-Media Eject key. (If you can’t find the Media Eject key look for it on the very top row of any Apple keyboard. It’s probably something you haven’t paid any attention to. It looks like a triangle with a line under it.)

Shortcuts for Sleep and Startup

It is simple to understand that there are times that you may want to put your computer to sleep or hide what is on your screen. If you are playing war games at the office, maybe you can get away with a quick punch of the red button that shuts the application down, but some of those games don’t shut down so quickly any more.

So for anyone who just wants an easy way to put their Mac to sleep and anyone whose reasons are more nefarious (I’m just saying), here is a quick sleep tip. 

  • Put your Mac to sleep: Command-Option-Media Eject key. (To wake it up, click the mouse.) 

If clicking the mouse doesn’t work, you can:

  • Force the computer to restart - Command-Control-Power button (This shouldn’t be necessary, but it is a good tip to have anyhow.)

The DigitalColor Meter

DigitalColor Meter Icon

I have written about the DigitalColor Meter in the past, but it is such a useful tool that it bears mentioning again because it is just so cool. It is a utility that comes as part of the OS when you purchase your Mac. It only does one thing, but it does it well.

It allows you to exactly match colors, down to the pixel level, and gives you the results in several formats. To use it, first launch the DigitalColor Meter application, then move your cursor over any area open on your desktop and DCM will automatically give you the values necessary to create that exact color. It can be invaluable if you are working in any graphics program.

DigitalColor Meter In Action

That’s it for this column.  This last tip, along with many others can be found in my beginners manual.

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.

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Command-Option-Media Eject
Works great. Of course I should have read how to wake it up before I tried it. LOL
Further experimentation and I found that the Space Bar wakes my system up rather than the Mouse Click. Of course this is on a MacBook and I’m using the track pad.


On my Macbook Pro, I find that all I have to do is use the same gesture of spreading two fingers apart on my trackpad to enlarge the image and text on Safari and do the opposite to reduce them, the same movements I use on my iPhone and iPad. I don’t have to press any keys in order to do so.


So, if you have any suggestions to improve the small black type on dark gray tabs I am all ears. You used to be able to get rid of the dark gray metallic look, but not apparently since Safari 3.

Nancy Gravley

So, if you have any suggestions to improve the small black type on dark gray tabs I am all ears. You used to be able to get rid of the dark gray metallic look, but not apparently since Safari 3.

You got me on this one.  I don’t know either.  Maybe a reader will know something and be kind enough to comment.


When using Safari, I find it easiest to resize using the keyboard shortcuts for Safari’s View menu commands:

o Command-Plus (Command-Shift-Equals) to zoom in
o Command-Minus to zoom out
o Command-Zero to return to actual size

Each key press while holding down Command repeats the action, so you can step the size larger or smaller. Using the View commands has the advantage of zooming the browser window contents only without zooming the entire display. There’s also a check-mark option on the View menu to zoom text only.


Hi Nancy,
Big fan, me.

If you find a way to increase text size in Safari on iPad, please tell!

I know I can make a column fill the screen, but often, that just doesn’t do it.
One way is to use Instapaper, which I do, but it’s a bit of extra work if it’s a short article.


I have occasional problems, but I can’t even remember the last time I had a machine-wide freeze or crash. I just counted, and right now I’m running 17 applications. And that’s probably about average for me!

Oooh, I just remembered: I once accidentally opened over 300 apps at once, and the Mac kept running! See video here:

Nancy Gravley

If you find a way to increase text size in Safari on iPad, please tell!

I haven’t a clue on this, but what a great research project.  I’ll see if I can find out anything.

Christopher Osborn

It’s worth noting that adding the “Option” key to some key-sequences changes them and in some cases makes the command IMMEDIATE.

So (as mentioned):
Cmd-Ctrl-Eject = [Restart Immediately]
but add “Option” to get:
Opt-Cmd-Ctrl-Eject = [Shut Down Immediately]

Also Useful:
Cmd-Shift-Q = [Log Out Dialogue Box]
but add “Option” to get:
Opt-Cmd-Shift-Q = [Log Out Immediately]

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