If you’ve been using OS X for any length of time now, you know the special joy of desktop “spaces,” what Apple calls its virtual desktop system. You can switch between them by hitting Command-Arrow (right or left) on your keyboard, or you can activate Spaces with the F3 key on most modern Macs. You can also reorder these Spaces around fairly easily.
But did you know you could add more Spaces? Delete the ones you have?
Back in the day, I used to care for a couple of labs full of Macs. Invariably, at the end of the day, I’d find myself in the lab, shutting them all down for the night. I’d run up and down the rows of eMacs or whatever they were at the time, and hit the power button, then click on the Shut Down button. Or, if I was feeling frisky, I’d just hold down the power button until they shut off.
This took some time, needless to say. I wish I’d known of these useful keyboard commands to shut down or sleep the Macs, saving myself several minutes each day.
Have you ever wanted to create a quick video of yourself doing something interesting on your Mac? Need to show someone in another department how you manage your files, or the tagging system you employ using Mavericks?
You can create a screencast with many third-party tools, some of them quite robust and expensive, but there’s a new one that’s both free and easy to use.
It’s called Recordit, and the developers sent along a version for us to try out here at Cult of Mac Tips HQ, and we’re pretty impressed. Recordit allows anyone to create a quick recording (up to five minutes) of any portion of their screen and share it via a URL.
One of the lesser known functions of the Keychain on OS X is its ability to add Secure Notes, notes that require you to enter your Keychain login password to view them.
There are a ton of third-party apps out there that allow you to password protect your notes, but Keychain is built right in to Mac OS X, and has been for a while; it’s a pretty nifty thing to have when you need it.
Better yet? The current version of Keychain will let you put images and video into your notes, making it a snap to secure your media files to your password.
Sometimes, you might have a certain someone who gets a little, shall we say, overzealous in trying to message you. Since your iPhone and Mac can both receive iMessages, you might get interrupted by the flurry of messages from this certain contact.
While you can block iMessage senders on your iPhone or iPad, it hasn’t been possible in Mac OS X Mavericks until the latest update to 10.9.2, available through the Software Update panel of the Mac App Store.
Now, though, you can block and unblock any contact in your Contacts app with aplomb, right from your Mac.
Quick Look is a fantastic bit of tech, letting you view any file up close and personal with a quick tap on the Spacebar. It works in the Finder, in Open and Save dialogs, and across a ton of other apps like iPhoto.
It’s basically the best new thing ever.
There are times, though, that I forget I’m previewing a file with Quick Look and I head up to the text in a document to copy and paste it elsewhere, only to be rebuffed. You just can’t do this.
Unless, of course, you enable this feature using Terminal.
When you’re running a Macbook Air or Pro with an SSD in it, you’re probably concerned about space on your drive. You can easily sort files in the Finder by size to see what you might want to delete or at least put on an external drive, but sometimes it’s nicer to visualize your data in a different way.
That’s where apps like GrandPerspective come in. This one is simple to use, works well, and is entirely free. It helps you see your data as an image, and then you can decide what to do with your files from there.
Creating your own Keyboard Shortcuts is a great way to keep your productivity high. To make a shortcut for a menu item that doesn’t already have one, you simply drop into System Preferences > Keyboard, hit the Shortcuts button at the top, and then add your shortcuts (more below). You have to add the full menu path for the shortcut to work, though, and there’s the rub.
Some apps have menu items that are named the same thing. For example, in Pages, there are two submenus named Use Default: one in the Baseline submenu, and one in the Ligature submenu. How can you tell your Mac which menu you want to activate with your new shortcut?
If you’ve used iTunes for a while now, you know how to set the Equalizer to a variety of pre-set and custom settings to make your music sound the way you want it, right? You simply head up to the Window menu, and choose Equalizer, or hit Option-Command-Two. The Equalizer window will show up, and you can click on the pop up menu at the top there to pick a setting you’re happy with.
But what if you want to set your Equalizer differently for different tracks? It’s pretty easy to do, but you’ll probably have to hop into the View options in the list view to make this work.