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Friday, December 4, 2015

Tech Tips for New Mac Users from David Pogue, his readers, and me

Back on October 2, 2008, David Pogue wrote a seminal column in Pogue’s Posts for the New York Times. He entitled it “Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User”.

He introduced it with an anecdote. He had watched a book editor at a publishing house slowly drag their cursor across a word to select it. They did this again and again. Finally Pogue couldn’t stand it anymore. He exclaimed, “Why don’t you just double-click on a word to select it!?” The book editor had no idea you could do that.

So with that in mind, here is my recompilation of tech tips for the basic computer user. I claim no originality to these tips. I am cribbing liberally from Mr. Pogue and his readers who left comments with their own tips. It is not originality that counts here; it is spreading the word and making life easier.Where a tip has both Windows and Mac versions, I will try to list both. 


Text Selection Tips


Double-click on a word to select it.

Triple-click on a word to select the entire paragraph.

To exercise fine control over what words in a sentence to select, click at the beginning of the selection. Hold down the Shift key while using the arrow keys to select just the text you want to copy or cut. Use the right and left keys to select character by character. Use the up and down keys to select a whole line or paragraph. 

To copy selected text, it’s Control + C in windows and linux, and Command+C  for OS X

To cut selected text, it’s Control + X in windows and linux, and Command+X for OS X

To paste selected text, it’s Control + V in windows and linux, and Command+V for OS X

To select a rectangular block of text, hold down the Alt or Option key while dragging your cursor across and down the area of text you wish to copy or cut.

To select a large block of text extending across multiple paragraphs, click at the beginning of the selection. While holding down the Shift key, click at the end of the selection.

To select the whole document, use Control + A in windows and Linux, and Command +A in OS X

To undo a selection, press control+Z  for windows and Linux, and command+Z for OS X

To put a selection in bold, you have two ways to do it.You can hit control +B/command + B before typing the selection and then hit control + B/command + B again to stop bolding the text. You can select text using the tips above and then hit control + B 

For italics, use control + I/command + I

For underderling, use control + U/Command + U.

 You can combine these effects by hitting them one after another to bold italicize 

Screen Magnification Tips

On the Mac, go to the Accessibility System Preference (see below) and set Screen magnifier. You can choose which modifier key to use-control, shift, or alt/option. Control is the default key.

 After you’ve set it, hold down the selected modifier key while using the wheel on your mouse or sliding up with two fingers on your trackpad to magnify your screen.

Screen Zoom

 Screen Navigation Tips

To access the Dock from your keyboard, hold down the Control key while pressing the F3 function key. If  you have a laptop keyboard, press and hold the Control and Fn keys together with one hand while pressing the F3 function key.

To access the Menu Bar from your keyboard, hold down the Control key while pressing the F2 function key. If you have a laptop keyboard, press and hold the Control and Fn keys together with one hand while pressing the F2 function key. 

To get a QuickLook of a document, select it in the Finder and press the Space Bar. Alternatively, you can use Command + Y. 

To get to the OS X Finder, click on a blank spot on the desktop. The Finder will become the foreground program, which you can access with with a click on the screen. 

To get to a blank spot on the screen, press the F11 key to temporarily clear the screen.

To get to the Windows Explorer, hold the down the Windows key and press the letter E.

To get to the print dialogue in OS X, press Command + P.

For the Windows print dialog, press Control + P.

To quickly get to your User Directory, press Shift+Command+H. The H stands for Home Directory, which is the UNIX name for your User Directory. 

 If you want to use a Windows keyboard in place of a Mac keyboard, the main thing to remember is that the Windows key substitutes for the Command key. The Shift, Alt/Option, and Control keys work the same

Screenshot Keyboard Shortcuts

To capture the whole screen on a Mac to a file, hold down the Shift and Command and the number 3 keys. You will hear a shutter sound and the file will appear on your desktop. The default format is PNG (Portable Network Graphics)

To capture just a portion of the screen to a file, holder down the Shift and Command and the number 4. Your cursor becomes a cross. Now press down on your pointing device’s left button while dragging down and to the right. Release the button. You hear the shutter sound and a file appears on your desktop.

To capture just an open window, move the cursor over the window. Now press the Space bar. The cursor will switch to a camera. Now press the left button on your pointing device. You’ll hear the shutter sound and the picture file will appear on your desktop

Add the Control key to these combinations to direct the screenshot to the OS X Clipboard instead of a file. In case that becomes too complicated, see the next section on how to modify the keyboard shortcuts to meet your own needs.

OS X Keyboard Customization Tips

Luke or Leia or whatever your name is, use the force! In other words, if you feel dissatisfied with the keyboard shortcuts in OS X, change them (within limits) to suit your needs.

 Go to the Keyboard System Preference and select Keyboard Shortcuts. I’ll show you how to modify the OS X keyboard shortcut for taking screenshots.

In Keyboard Shortcuts, click and hold on the shortcut you wish to change. In this case, I’ll change Control+Command+Shift+3, the shortcut  for capturing your entire screen and putting it on the clipboard. 

You highlighted the entry you wanted to change. It will have a blue background with black letters. Now by clicking and holding down the left-button of your mouse or other pointing device, you will see the background of the keyboard combination change from blue to white. That is crucial.

Change keyboard combination for screenshots

Now press the keyboard combination you wish to switch to. If you use a Windows keyboard with your Mac and wish to use the Print Screen key, press it. You will see the key combination change to F13.

Changed to F13

 Now with one finger, you can save a screenshot of the desktop to the clipboard, just like in Windows. 

That’s it for today. A thousand words of tips. I’ll post more. Now remember to BACKUP!

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