Two More Cool-But-Semi-Hidden Yosemite Features

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #115


Continuing the theme I began here last week, allow me to introduce you to another pair of useful but semi-hidden OS X Yosemite features.

Feature #1 is recording movies of your Mac or iDevice screen. In the bad old days, before Yosemite and iOS 8, you had to use costly third-party software. Today, with Yosemite and iOS 8, all you do is connect your iDevice to a USB port on your Mac and then launch the QuickTime Player app.

Now, here’s why this one’s classified as semi-hidden: You’d think that you’d choose File-->New Screen Recording, but that’s only if you want to make a movie of your Mac screen. To record an iDevice screen, choose File-->New Movie Recording rather than New Screen Recording.

Choose New Screen Recording to make a Mac screen movie; choose New Movie Recording to record your iDevice’s screen.

Click the little triangle next to the Record button to select your iDevice or Mac as both the Camera and Microphone. Then just click the Record button and do your thing on the iDevice or Mac. When you’re done, click the Record button again. Now save your movie, give it a descriptive name, and that’s all there is to it.

Almost. Before you unleash your creation on the world, it’s a good idea to watch it carefully and trim away any cruft before you upload it.

Semi-hidden feature #2 is putting your written signature onto a PDF document. There are two ways to do it—by “signing” the trackpad with your finger or by taking a picture of your written signature.

The picture way provides a more accurate representation of your actual signature but the signing the trackpad way is cooler and more fun. The good news is they’re both semi-hidden in the same place, namely, in the Preview app’s Tools menu. More precisely, launch the Preview app, and then choose Tools-->Annotate-->Signature-->Manage Signatures, and then click Create Signature.

When the overlay appears, start by clicking either the Trackpad or Camera tab at the top of the overlay.

If you clicked Trackpad, click the Click Here To Begin button and sign your name on your trackpad.

It doesn’t look as good as when you take a photo of your signature, but it sure is fun!

Click Clear to start over. Press any key when you’re finished and then click Done to save your signature.

If you choose Camera, sign your name on plain white paper, hold it up to the camera, and align the signature with the blue line on the screen. When the camera decides it has what it needs, your signature floats in front of your face. Click Clear to redo it or Done when you’re satisfied.

Hold up your signature (left); when the camera is satisfied, your signature flips around and floats in front of your face (right).

Now, to sign a document, open it in Preview, choose Tools-->Annotate-->Signature and select the signature you want to use. It then appears on the document where you can reposition and resize it. Just save the document when you’ve got it just so and you’re done.

Just position and resize your signature and then Save the (now signed) document.

There is one last thing: I demonstrate these semi-hidden Yosemite features (as well as the 2 from last week and a bonus ½ feature) in Episode 2 of The BobLeVitus.TV Show, which you can watch (for free) at 

And that's all he wrote...