The MacValley blog


Welcome to the MacValley blog, your first stop for all the latest MacValley news and views.


Tom Briant

The MacValley blog

Editor: Tom Briant


Click here to email Tom

Click here for Tom's profile



To search the blog posts please use the box below

Monday, June 16, 2014

Apple and Costco make up and Accessing the Menubar and Dock from the Keyboard

In News You can Use, Costco and Apple have resumed doing business. Costco will start selling iTunes gift cards while its wireless partner Car Toys will sell the iPhone and cellular iPads.  

This doesn’t substitute your Costco for an Apple Store or even Best Buy. The Apple Stores won’t start offering free food samples in the aisles, either. For those of us in the Valley, it means we have to drive another 10-15 minutes from the Costco to the Apple Store to buy the liquor & cat food as well as the new MacBook Air. 

Now as for the new MacBook Air owners, my goal in this blog is to take you from befuddled noob to some semblance of a power user. One aspect of power user-ship, besides the secret handshake, involves using the keyboard as much as possible. If you can accomplish a task with a keystroke or keyboard combination, you will save time and your wrist tendons. 

The first power keystroke you should know about is for highlighting text. 

Use the arrow keys to position your cursor, that flashing vertical line on your screen, at the beginning of the text you want to highlight. 

Now for the secret sauce. Hold down the Shift key with one hand and use the other one with the arrow keys to select the text. No more fiddling with the mouse to select only the text you want. 

To select a paragraph, just use the Down arrow key and select the lines of text you  want. 


Access to the Dock and MenuBar from the keyboard

The Dock and the Keyboard constitute the two mouse-dependent element of the Desktop. If you work in cramped spaces, such as airline seats, on your Mac; you need to know how to reach the Dock and Menubar without a mouse. 

It’s simple. For the Dock, hold down the Control key and hit the F3 function key. On a laptop, you’ll need to hold down the Fn key, too. 

For the Menubar, hold the Control key and Fn key, while pressing the F2 function key. 

Now use your left & right arrow keys to go between icons on the Dock or menus on the menubar.

Once you’ve highlighted a selection, use the Up and Down arrow keys to maneuver through the menu

Keyboard Application Launchers

I still remember the first time someone saw me launch an application from the keyboard  with a few deft strokes. They wanted to do that trick! I told him how I did it. 

You can use Spotlight as a jury-rigged program launcher. Applications show up at the top of the selections in most instances. Apple, though, does not intend for Spotlight to serve as an application launcher. 

You’ll need a dedicated application program for the best results. I myself use Ojective Development’s Launchbar. You have many options with Launchbar. They just came out with version 6.0.

I would suggest the Chuck program, though if you want a simple, free application launcher.  

Alfred is another choice for an application launcher that starts off with basic functionality and gives you options (through in-app purchases) to expand.  The granddaddy of all keyboard launch utilities, Quicksilver, is still available here. 

All of them work the same way. You set up the launcher to run at startup, where it runs in the background. 

When you press the designated key combination, such as Control+Space, the program displays a small window for you to enter the name of the application. You don’t even need to know the full name of the application, as launchers remember the name of your most-recently used applications. 

Hit the ENTER key and the application launches. Simple as that. Imagine yourself on a flight to Oklahoma City in economy class trying to manipulate a mouse on the tiny tray table. Your life becomes much easier if you just have to hit a few keys. 

If you use Windows or Linux, the equivalent launcher apps are Launchy for Windows and GNOME-Do for Linux. 

Finally, I told you that Command+T in Apple word processors & Apple Numbers & Apple Keynote brings up the Font menu. Well, that’s not the case with Safari and other Mac Web browsers. Command+T starts a new tab on your menubar. This is similar to Windows, where the equivalent tab opening keystroke is Control +T. 

If  you still want to use your old Windows keyboard or buy a standalone keyboard with special features, go to my article here about using external Windows keyboards with Macs. 

Go here for Cory Bohan’s list of 10 keyboard shortcuts you need to know. (H/T to



Tom Briant

Editor, the MacValley Blog/The Computer Uncle (818) 964-3601






No comments:

Post a Comment



Blog Archive