January 27, 2012

Search Spotlight For Emails/Docs From Certain People [OS X Tips]

Search Spotlight For Emails/Docs From Certain People [OS X Tips]

Spotlight is a love it/hate it experience. Don’t stop reading if you hate it, however, because here’s a tip that shows how useful Spotlight can be if used correctly. A simple trick lets you search for emails or documents by a particular author, which can be extremely useful when trying to track down that elusive file or message.


Here’s another tip from Mac Kung Fu, which contains over 300 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for OS X. It’s available from Amazon as well as other bookstores, and also as an eBook for all eReaders.

Spotlight lets you use keywords to further refine search results. One commonly used by many people is kind: — type kind:spreadsheet quarterly reports, for example, and the search results will only include spreadsheets. Typing kind:spreadsheet on its own will list all the spreadsheets you have on your system.

Using the author: keyword, you can specify the author of the document—the person who sent the email, or the person listed within a Microsoft Office document as the author. Enclose the name in quotes if you specify more first and last names: author:”keir thomas” will return documents and emails created by Keir Thomas, for example.

You can invert this by typing a minus before the keyword. Say you wanted to find emails about iPads from anybody BUT Keir Thomas, you could simply type a minus before author, like this: ipad -author:”keir thomas”.

Cult of Mac

Create A “Quit Everything” App [OS X Tips]

Create A “Quit Everything” App [OS X Tips]

Ever wanted to quit every single open application? Perhaps you want to free up memory for the launch of another app. Here’s one way of doing it quickly and cleanly.

Here’s another tip from Mac Kung Fu, which contains over 300 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for OS X. It’s available from Amazon as well as other bookstores, and also as an eBook for all eReaders.

You can create an app using AppleScript Editor that you can place in the Dock and that will quit all open apps when clicked. Here are the steps:

  1. Start AppleScript Editor by double-clicking its entry in the Utilities folder of Applications in Finder.
  2. In the main code area, type the following:
    tell application "System Events" to set quitapps to name of every application process whose visible is true and name is not "Finder"
    repeat with closeall in quitapps
    quit application closeall
    end repeat
  3. Click the Compile button on the toolbar to check the code to ensure it’s correct. If it’s OK, the code will be colored and indented properly. If it’s incorrect, you’ll see an error message. Try typing the code again.
  4. Click File->Save and choose to save the new app in your Applications folder. Call it something memorable—I chose “Quit Everything!” In the File Format dropdown list, choose Application.
  5. Close AppleScript Editor and navigate to your Applications list within Finder. Then drag and drop your new app onto the Dock, ready for use.

Another trick I use sometimes to quickly quit all apps is to use the task switcher (hold down Command and tap Tab), then hit Q when the highlight is over any app I want to quit.

Keir Thomas Keir Thomas (http://keirthomas.com) is the author of Mac Kung Fu, which contains over 300 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for Mac OS X Lion. He’s also the author of over 10 other computing titles.

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How To Download Just About Anything [OS X Tips]

How To Download Just About Anything [OS X Tips]

If there’s something you’d like to grab from a web page for which a download link isn’t provided, such as a movie file, Safari offers a handful of ways to download it–with no add-ons required. Read on to learn how.

Here’s another tip from Mac Kung Fu, which contains over 300 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for OS X. It’s available from Amazon as well as other bookstores, and also as an eBook for all eReaders.

The first trick to try is using the Activity Window. This doesn’t always work but is certainly worth a try. While browsing the site using Safari, click Window -> Activity and, in the window that appears, expand the entry alongside the web page you’re viewing. Then look for the filename that matches what you’re looking for (some guesswork is often necessary—pay particular attention to the size column on the right; items like movie files are usually multiple megabytes or even gigabytes, and will be increasing rapidly as the movie is streamed).

Once you’ve found what you’re looking for, hold down Option and double-click its entry in the list. This will either open it in a separate tab of Safari, from where you can click and drag it to the desktop in the case of an image, or the file will begin downloading in the usual way, as if you’d just clicked a download link.

Downloading any file for which you have the full URL (that is, something like http://example.com/filename.jpg) is also easy using Safari. Highlight the link text and copy it to the clipboard (Command + C).

Then expand the pop-out Downloads window in Safari by clicking the button to the right of the Google search box. This will open the download progress window, and you can just hit Command + V to invisibly paste in the download address. The file will start downloading right away.

If you can’t see the download button, hit Option + Command + L and the download pop-up should appear. If it still doesn’t appear, hold Option and click any web link on the site you’re browsing. This will download the HTML file for the page, which you can instantly delete, but the download window will now be activated and ready for use as described earlier.

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See Only Files Created Today Or Yesterday [OS X Tips]

See Only Files Created Today Or Yesterday [OS X Tips]

Wouldn’t it be useful to click a link in Finder that showed only files accessed or created today, yesterday, or within the last week? That would make it significantly easier to find files you’ve been working on but forgotten the location of.

Users of OS X Leopard and Snow Leopard already have this at their fingertips in the Finder sidebar, but Apple saw fit to remove it from OS X Lion, its latest release. Here’s how to restore it.

Here’s another tip from Mac Kung Fu, which contains over 300 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for OS X. It’s available from Amazon as well as other bookstores, and also as an eBook for all eReaders.

To make this a reality, open a Finder window and hit Shift + Command + G , then copy and paste the following into the dialog box that appears: /System/Library/CoreServices/Finder.app/Contents/Resources/CannedSearches. Then click and drag the Today, Yesterday, and/or Past Week files to the sidebar within Finder. Clicking any in future will show just the files as discussed previously. The search results will be mixed in with any apps you accessed the previous day, but you can click the Kind header in Finder to sort them so that your documents are separated out.

Log out and back in again, and File Open/Save As dialog boxes within applications will also show the shortcuts.

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Bookmark Images And PDFs For Fast Access [OS X Tips]

Bookmark Images And PDFs For Fast Access [OS X Tips]

Here’s a neat trick that can be used if you need to view the same images or PDFs repeatedly, or if you want to simply record your position within a long PDF document.

Here’s another tip from Mac Kung Fu, which contains over 300 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for OS X. It’s available from Amazon as well as other bookstores, and also as an eBook for all eReaders.

If there are images or PDFs that you view frequently, you can bookmark them within Preview, OS X’s image viewer. This works just like bookmarking websites within a web browser like Safari and uses the same keyboard shortcut–just load the image or PDF and hit Command + D. From then on, click the image or PDF’s entry on Preview’s Bookmarks menu to open it instantly.

If you bookmark a multipage PDF file, you’ll also bookmark the page you were reading at the time, so that clicking the bookmark in future will return you to that page. This can be useful when reading eBooks.

Rather cleverly, even if you move the original file from one folder to another, Preview’s bookmark will still link to the file–even if it’s moved into the Trash!

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Generate Samples Of Your Mac’s Fonts [OS X Tips]

Generate Samples Of Your Mac’s Fonts [OS X Tips]

Gotta alotta fonts installed on your Mac, but never know which you’d like to actually use in a document? Most apps show font previews on the formatting menu, but with Microsoft Word and some other apps many people turn off this feature because it massively increases start-up times. The solution is to create (and print off, if you wish) a font sample document that you can refer to whenever you want. This is very easily done on your Mac, as follows.

Here’s another tip from Mac Kung Fu, which contains over 300 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for OS X. It’s available from Amazon as well as other bookstores, and also as an eBook for all eReaders.

If you’ve got a lot of fonts installed on the system, you may find it helpful to create a sample document displaying them all. Lots of professional designers rely on binders full of such printed examples.

An AppleScript will do the job. Start by opening the Font Book application, which is the Mac font manager (Finder->Applications->Font Book). Highlight any or all the fonts you want to include in the sample document. Then open Finder, hit Shift + Command + G , and type /Library/Scripts/Font Book. Then double-click Create Font Sample.scpt. This will open the script in AppleScript Editor, but don’t worry; all you need do is click the green Run button on the program’s toolbar. This will open a TextEdit document, and, slowly but surely, it will be filled with samples of each font you selected earlier. Once it’s finished, quit AppleScript Editor and then save and/or print the new TextEdit document as required.

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Cult of Mac

Select Text Like A Pro [OS X Tips]

Select Text Like A Pro [OS X Tips]

Here’s a handful of tricks you can use when selecting text within a document or web page. Like many good tricks, these techniques are simple but could potentially change the way you work with your Mac.

Here’s another tip from Mac Kung Fu, which contains over 300 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for OS X. It’s available from Amazon as well as other bookstores, and also as an eBook for all eReaders.

In some built-in Mac apps like TextEdit, as well as in Microsoft Office and Mozilla Firefox, it’s possible to select text in a variety of useful ways above and beyond simply clicking and dragging.

Holding down Command while clicking and dragging lets you select disparate sections (i.e. noncontiguous regions) of text. You could highlight one sentence at the beginning of a paragraph, for example, and while holding down Command, select another sentence at the end of a paragraph. Hitting Command + C will copy both to the clipboard. If you hit Command + V to paste, the two sentence components will be pasted on two separate lines.

Holding down Option will let you select rectangular blocks of text within a paragraph. This is hard to describe, so give it a try by holding down Option and clicking and dragging within a paragraph of text (try Option + Command if this doesn’t work). Again, hitting Command + C will copy it and Command + V will paste it. It’s hard to imagine how this would ever be useful, but you might find a use for it!

By clicking at the beginning of the region you want to select, then holding Shift and clicking at the end of the region, you’ll select everything in between. If you’ve already made a text selection, you can hold down Shift and click on either side of it to add text to the selection. Clicking within the selection while holding down Shift will let you subtract letters and words from the selection.

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Cult of Mac

Turn Off File Download “Quarantining” [OS X Tips]

Turn Off File Download “Quarantining” [OS X Tips]

Ever get tired of the dialog that appears whenever you run or access a file you’ve downloaded? It can be an annoying halt to a workflow, especially if you already know not to trust files downloaded from questionable websites. Here’s how to turn off the warning.


Here’s another tip from Mac Kung Fu, which contains over 300 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for OS X. It’s available from Amazon as well as other bookstores, and also as an ebook for all eReaders.

Whenever you download a file using a web browser, your Mac will warn you when you first open it that it could be dangerous. It’ll tell you when you downloaded it and from where. This is known as quarantining and can get annoying after a while, especially if you only download files from sources you know are safe.

To permanently turn off this warning message, open a Terminal window (Finder->Applications->Utilities->Terminal) and type the following:

defaults write com.apple.LaunchServices LSQuarantine -bool FALSE

Then log out and back in again to have the changes take effect. If in the future you wish to restore the warning system, type the following:

defaults delete com.apple.LaunchServices LSQuarantine

You’ll need to log out and back in again for the changes to take effect.

If you’re interested, free antivirus software for your Mac can be got from a handful of sources. ClamXav (http://www.clamxav.com) can be got from the App Store for free, although only offers “on demand” file scanning (that is, you must manually scan suspect files). Home users can try Sophos Anti-Virus for Mac Home Edition: http://www.sophos.com/en- us/products/free-tools/sophos-antivirus-for-mac-home-edition.aspx, which is also free of charge and offers full behind-the-scenes protection. 

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Osmos tips to help push you along

We’ve seen a couple rounds of Infinity Blade tips so far, but what if your iOS gaming tastes run a little bit less combative and a little bit more trajectory-based? Here are some excellent tips for the physics-based puzzle game Osmos, hosted by the game’s music composers. The core mechanic of Osmos is that you control a globe of mass, and you can trade that globe’s mass for movement, by kicking a stream of mass out in a various direction, trying to reach and “eat” other globes on the screen to get more mass. Controlling the game is simple, but winning it is another thing entirely. Fortunately, these tips should help.

And they also go a long way to showing just how complex and well constructed Osmos is. You can not only use your mass to propel your planet forward, but you can also propel other planets away from you, and even push those into other planets, causing a domino effect to your own advantage. And using walls is another big one. They can affect your movement strongly without costing you anything, which make the edges of the screen very valuable.

All good stuff. If you haven’t played Osmos yet, you definitely should: It’s available on the App Store right now, for iPhone or iPad.



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Top 10 Tips Of A Mac Master [OS X Tips]

Top 10 Tips Of A Mac Master [OS X Tips]

If you’ve written a book full of Mac tips, as I have, it’s inevitable people ask what my favourite tips are. So here they are, for one-time only—the top 10 tricks I use every day. They’re not all barnstormers, and they’re not guaranteed to be mind-blowing. They’re just the little things I do to make life easier and more efficient when I’m using my Mac. Please share your own in the comments!

Pretty much all of these tips (and many more) can be found in my new book Mac Kung Fu, which contains over 300 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for OS X. It’s available from Amazon as well as other bookstores, and also as an eBook for all eReaders. 

  1. Staring apps using Spotlight: If there’s an app I need to use that’s not in my Dock, I start it by hitting Command + Space to open the Spotlight search box, then I begin typing its name. After just a few characters Spotlight has usually realised which app it is, and I just hit Return to start that app. Simple, and quick. No mouse required!
  2. Quick Look everywhere: With OS X Lion Apple extended the Quick Look functionality to just about every aspect of OS X. You can hit Space to Quick Look items in a Stack, or in the print queue window, or in Mail, and so on (in Mail, the best technique is to click once the file attachment you want to Quick Look and then hit Space; clicking and holding the mouse before hitting Space also works for me).
  3. Quick open files: To open a file you’re currently Quick Looking, just double-click anywhere on the Quick Look window.
  4. Paste without formatting: I don’t know about you but I never, ever want to paste something into a fresh document AND carry across its original formatting. To paste without formatting (i.e. as plain text), hold down Shift + Option + Command and hit V. It’s a tricky keyboard combo to master, and I hold down Option + Command with my thumb, and Shift with my pinkie, leaving a finger free to hit V.
  5. Open a link in a new tab: If you’re using a standard PC mouse that has a scroll wheel, you can click the scroll wheel while hovering over a link in the browser (or in Mail) to open the link in a new tab. For what it’s worth, this works on most operating systems, not just OS X.
  6. Uncluster apps in Mission Control: When using Mission Control, scrolling in the usual way on a touchpad or mouse (i.e. using the mouse wheel) causes the windows the cursor is hovering over to expand so you can better see their contents.
  7. Drag and drop the proxy: Let’s say I’m viewing an image in Preview and decide I want to edit it in Photoshop. I could open Finder and navigate to the file, before dragging it to the Photoshop icon in the Dock, but here’s a quicker way: just drag and drop the proxy icon onto the Photoshop icon in the Dock, which will then instantly open the file in the new app. The proxy icon is the little icon to the left of the filename in the titlebar. If the icon is greyed out, it means the file hasn’t been saved; this drag-and-drop trick won’t work until the file is saved.
  8. Use text clippings: If there’s some standard text I use all the time (such as a personal biography), I write it in TextEdit, then highlight all of it, and click and drag it to the desktop or to a Finder window. This creates a ‘clipping file’ containing the text (and like any other file, you can Quick Look a clipping by selecting it and hitting Space). If the clipping file is then dragged and dropped onto a new document (or any app that accepts text, like a web browser) then the text will be inserted at the cursor position.
  9. See other menu options: If you open any menu that run along the top of the screen, pressing and holding any of Shift, Option, Command or Ctrl (or any combination of these) will show what other options are available. Give it a try! Often this is a way of uncovering useful program features.
  10. View the desktop: To quickly move all the windows out of the way so you can see the desktop, hold down Command and hit the Expose shortcut (usually above F3).
Top 10 Tips Of A Mac Master [OS X Tips]

Scroll over any window (or cluster of windows) in Expose to make them bigger

Keir Thomas Keir Thomas (http://keirthomas.com) is the author of Mac Kung Fu, which contains over 300 tips, tricks, hints and hacks for Mac OS X Lion. He’s also the author of over 10 other computing titles.

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