You have made a fresh shift from PC to Mac your friends spurring you long for, or just feel the need to understand the MacOS better. Either way, you’ll need our guide that goes through the coolest Mac tips and tricks you didn’t know before.
Flicking through this, you’ll hone your knowledge about what your Mac can potentially do – from offering the split screen mode, fun-filled emojis to working as a wireless hotspot.
Stay here, as we’re all poised to change your experience for good and let you do stuffs on Mac you conveniently overlooked.
Thank us later!
Best Mac Tips and Tricks
1. Running Windows
For a Mac user, Windows is never worth his salt. With speed and utility of iOS, who needs Windows? But, there are times when the need of Windows is felt, either for running a game that works better on Windows, or using a software that lacks Mac compatibility. For such instances, you need to have Windows ambience on your high-performance device.
How? By using any virtualization app, such as VMWare and VirtualBox, capable of running Windows in a parallel world along with iOS. Alternatively, you can use a hard disk partition to install Windows using Boot Camp Assistant. You Mac comes with this utility that lets you install Windows with minimized efforts at your end.
2. Capturing Screenshots
In all authenticity, the way to screenshot your screen on Windows doesn’t stand half a chance against the slick trick of doing the same on Mac. Contrary to using either the PrtSc key to capturing the entire screen, or the snipping tool to cut a screen portion, there are a couple of keystroke combinations to get quick screenshots on Mac.
- Press Shift, Command, and the number key 3 at the same time to capture the screen in its entirety.
- Press Shift, Command, and the number key 4 together to capture a particular portion of the screen.
- Press Shift, Command and 4, tap on the spacebar and click the window you want a screenshot of, to capture an individual window.
In effect, the taken screenshots will be stored on your desktop. So, commit these combos to your memory, so that next time, you don’t have to run a thought over how to screenshot on Mac.
3. Merging Folders
For Windows and Linux users, merging folders is a cinch. There are in-built folder-merging managers on both OS variants that have offered an intelligent way to merge data without losing any. On the contrary, the (hidden) merge option came to the Mac in the year 2011 when OS X Lion (10.7) got released.
Simply put, you can merge two folders by:
- Pressing and holding the Option key;
- Then, dragging one folder to the location of another folder with the same name;
- The dialog box, appearing subsequently, will have the merge option. Hit it and you’ll soon find a new folder with both the source and target folders.
Now, the caveat – the merge option will only show up when a folder contains files not present in the other. Even if there are files in different versions with identical names, you’ll not see the merge option popping up, but only the default options – Stop and Replace.
Why Merge? You might wonder, why do you even need a ‘merge’ when the ‘replace’ exists? Think this way: when you replace a folder, the existing folder gets replaced with a newer one, deleting files and documents all at once. But, when you merge, the data on both the folders gets intelligently merged in one. And, this way, you are saved from losing any of your important files and folders.
4. Hiding the Menu Bar
The Menu Bar hasn’t been taken away from Mac ever since it made its debut in 1984. Perhaps, it’s not in the line of phase out anytime soon. However, the launch of EI Capitan has changed things for good. You can now hide the menu bar by going to the System Preferences > General > Automatically hide and show the menu bar.
By enabling the option, you will not see menu bar appearing on the screen while moving the mouse towards/along the top of the screen.
5. Signing PDFs Within Preview and Emails
Ditch your pen from signing off your consent to important documents and get digitized with Mac’s amazing Signature Capture feature. All you need to do is:
- Signing your name in blank ink on a paper.
- Now, holding the paper to your Mac camera for the easy capture.
- Click Accept. Tick off the ‘Save Signature for use after Preview quits’. This way, you will be able to use your signature for signing digital documents with great ease.
Another handy feature is about signing a PDF inside your email. This should be convenient, right? You can easily deal with lots of personal and professional urgencies this way.
- Drag a PDF to the mail you’re writing to send.
- Doing so, you need to take the cursor to the top-right corner of the screen, where you’ll find a tiny button.
- Hit it, as a result of which, you’ll be finding a range of Markup tools to make your choice from. Select the one aimed at signing documents.
- You’re done.
6. Sharing with Friends
At multiple instances, you get to see the sharing icon on Mac (the one that looks somewhat like an arrow) which helps you instantly share things with your contacts. This is where you see all sharing mediums, including Email, Facebook, Twitter, AirDrop and more. As might be the chance, you don’t know how Mac keeps a track of your sharing gigs and shows you the names separately with whom you share the maximum.
Those, with maximum shareable content from you, show up in the recents at the bottom of the share menu. This way, you are in a position to quickly reach the desired contact and share things.
7. Using Built-In Emojis
Emojis add a new energy to our messages. And, Mac has an extensive collection of emojis to give you a vivid texting experience. While you already know some, you find a pool of amazing emojis if you reach the Edit menu of most apps. Towards the bottom, you will see Special Characters option, where there is a wide variety of emojis and fun characters to use. This is certainly a cool addition, but you may not find it in all the apps and operating systems.
The regular process of adding an emoji on Mac goes like this:
- Hover the cursor on the text field.
- Now, launch the character palette by pressing the Command key with Control Key, followed by the Spacebar.
- Look at the left-side menu on your screen and select Emoji option, which will open multiple options, like People, Nature, Objects, Places and Symbols.
- Select an option of your interest, double-tap on the emoji you like and see it being added to the space where you positioned your cursor.
- Now, close the emoji window by clicking on the red cross.
8. Using Split-Screen
The launch of EI Capitan has cleared the decks for split screen on Mac. For those not in the know, split screen means placing two apps on the screen in a way that they don’t overlap each other and you are able to use them simultaneously.
To split your Mac screen to accommodate two apps, you need to:
- Press and hold the green maximize button, located at the left side of an app’s window, by a left click.
- And, drag it to position it on either sides of the screen.
- Now, pick and drag the other app to place it on the opposite side.
- This way, you will be eyeing and using two apps at the same time on Mac.
Note: While splitting your screen into two, the launcher and the menu bar will get hide. It is to ensure that you get enough room on the screen and the distractions remain the minimum.
Know more HERE.
9. Translating To and From Various Languages
Translating documents can be a daily requirement for you. If that’s not the case, you might need it to get through some fun stuffs or play your language game better. For whatever be the need, Mac’s in-built dictionary not only lets you find meanings, but also helps you translate in and from various languages.
The process is simple.
Open Dictionary app in Spotlight >> Command + to Open the Preferences Panel >> Select Languages You Want.
If you don’t know how to reach the Spotlight tab, look up at the little Magnifying Glass icon in the right corner of the menu bar, or press Command + Space.
Once the language is activated, you can find easy translations for the word you want by right-clicking on it in most apps and tapping on the ‘Look Up’ option. There is even a shortcut for this – Ctrl + Cmd + D.
10. Cropping and Tweaking Your Images
Think Mac has little chances of being a perfect photo editor? Perhaps, you haven’t checked what Preview feature has to offer, especially after a cache of upgrades to OS X.
Flirt around the menus on Preview option and see yourself doing a number of things that extends up to making more complex selections using Instant Alpha tool, zooming into the fine details of the images using magnifying tool, resizing them, brightening/softening of images (color pop-ups and adjustments options) and sharing them quickly to those in vicinity via Airdrop or uploading on social sites, like Facebook and Twitter.
The Magnifying key, also the backtick key (`), is placed left to 1 on US keyboard and left to Z on UK Keyboard.
Read more HERE.
11. Syncing Passwords and Credit Card Details Across All Devices
Activating iCloud Keychain is a great feature if you don’t have a good memory to remember your passwords and banking details. Using this feature, you can sync important Safari usernames/passwords, Wi-Fi network details and credit card information across all your Apple devices and keep everything handy.
Like, you can securely access your credit credit details on your iPhone if you’ve got them saved on Mac. This is surely convenient, and once you set up this, you will be doing away with the need of entering log-in details again and again.
Not just this, iCloud Keychain can also help you manage your accounts in Mail, Messages, Contacts and Calendar, including social media accounts as well.
12. Autocompleting Words
Even the best minds fail at spellings. And, with just ordinary knowledge, you can be hugely confused in the head about them. By enabling autocomplete feature, you will no longer feel entrapped in the maze of words. Just tap F5 or Option + Escape to launch the Autocomplete menu.
If these shortcuts don’t work for some reason, you can go to System Preferences >> Keyboard >> Text and tick the ‘Correct Spelling Automatically’ on.
There are more options like ‘Capitalize Words Automatically’ and ‘Add Period With Double Space’, which will keep the first word of a line in caps and put the full-stop automatically if the space is tapped twice respectively.
13. Making Keyboard Shortcuts
Mac is easy-driven with keyboard shortcuts and help you save a lot of time and effort. And while developers get you most of the shortcuts you use, there is also a way to create one on Mac.
System Preferences >> Keyboard >> Application Shortcuts – Doing so, click + to add a shortcut and choose the app you want to have a shortcut for by scrolling through the drop-down menu. Then add the menu command and lastly select a key combination that will prompt the app to open.
Note: To get this done perfectly, make sure that you enter the menu command just the way it is, keeping the small/big cases same, along with the characters.
14. Using Screen Sharing
Mac provides for screen sharing feature as well, which is commendable in whole lot ways. Using this feature, you can view and control anyone’s screen over the internet and provide them the requisite assistance in times of need.
You can find this feature in the Spotlight option, where you are required to enter the Apple ID of the contact whose screen you’re wanting to see. If permissions are given (by tapping on the screen share icon in the menu bar), you can control their screen virtually by accessing the mouse and keyboard. But before, make sure that you’ve enabled Screen Sharing in the Sharing pane of the System Preferences.
15. Managing Your SMSes
The Yosemite upgrade to Mac OS has brought us the convenience of managing SMSes from Mac or any other iOS device, besides just an iPhone. That’s indeed useful! That being so, you can read and send replies from Mac even if your iPhone isn’t handy.
To take full advantage of this feature, you need to activate the Text Messaging Forwarding option by going to Settings >> Messages on your iPhone.
Note: Your iPhone must be running on iOS 8.1. And, you must be signed into your iMessage account (having your phone number) with links to both your iPhone and Mac.
16. Killing Apps to Vacate Space on RAM
Without enough RAM volume, your Mac will go sluggish and not work at a well-optimized speed. To get this sorted, you need to kill the running apps, which eat up a lot of storage space. How? By clicking Command, Option and Escape keys together. This will launch the Force Quit Window. Going there, you need to press Q for the app you wish to close down and press H to hide it.
17. Using Mac as Wireless Hotspot
Time to move over the screen sharing feature, as Mac lets you share your internet connection with others and help them connect to the web.
You can turn on the internet sharing on Mac by going to Apple Menu >> System Preferences >> Sharing. Then, select the Internet Sharing option.
Now, head to ‘Share Your Connection From’ on the menu and choose the source of connection you’re intending to share with your contact. Moving ahead, you need to select how you wish to share your internet connection in the ‘To Computers Using’ tab. This means, if you’re willing to share your connection over Wi-Fi, choose Wi-Fi. If iPhone USB, then iPhone USB. This is it!
For more clarity on the steps above, reach here.
18. Activating Do Not Disturb option
Notifications can be a pain at times. They just don’t let you concentrate when you seriously need to. For all such junctures, there is a ‘Do Not Disturb’ option. If you decide turning it on, you will not be notifications during that time.
You can activate it by:
- Going to the Apple Menu >> System Preferences >> Notifications tab.
- Slide on the Do Not Disturb tab given at the top-left on the screen.
- On the right, there is an option to select when you want the notifications to turn off.
19. Storing in the iCloud Drive
Documents that are stashed away in iCloud Drive are securely accessible from iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, iPad, Mac and Windows PC. With Sierra update, you can easily save a cache of files via Desktop and Documents folders to iCloud Drive, where you can create customized folders (if they haven’t been created already) or simply move everything to the drive. Whatever you save over iCloud will be found in the Finder tab.
To set up iCloud, go to Apple Menu >> System Preferences >> Select iCloud. If you want to add files and folders to Apple’s data carrier, make sure you’ve upgraded your Mac to Sierra. And, your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch to iOS 10. Next, activate Desktop and Documents Folders.
iCloud >> Turn on iCloud Drive >> Find Options >> Select Desktop and Documents Folders
Make sure that you’ve logged into your iCloud with the same Apple ID across all your devices. Also, if you add another Mac, the files will not merge automatically. Rather, the files of the second Mac will be found in the desktop folder. You need to look for a folder with the same name as your second Mac.
20. Fixing a Mac That Doesn’t Sleep
What if you try to activate the sleep mode, but your Mac stubbornly refuses to switch off? For all those times when Mac is hanging tough, there’s a trick. Go to View >> Column >> Activity Monitor’s CPU to figure out the processes, which aren’t sleeping. Just quit the running processes and put your Mac to sleep.
21. Sharing Contact Details
The old-hat way of sharing contact details is dragging the respective contact card and attaching it to an email you’re sending. If not this, you might use the new sharing commands available on Mac since the Yosemite upgrade. The only downside with these methods is that you might end up sharing information that you could be having inside the contact card with others.
However, things have taken a turn for better with Private Me Cards option.
Go to Contacts’ Preferences >> vCard >> Enable Private Me card.
Once done, you will be required to select a Me card (just for once) and click Edit. Doing this, you will be presented with a series of tickboxes next to each field, which are supposed to be marked and unmarked as per the information you’re okay and not okay to be included while sharing a card.
22. Pasting Content Without Formatting
Copy the content you’re reading and paste it on a word document or a mail. You’ll notice that not only have you copied the content, but also its entire formatting style, such as font size, font type and more, which looks bizarre to the eyes. This is what generally happens when you copy content from the web or the applications.
Having said that, there’s a hack for Mac, using which, you can copy the content without its original formatting and keep things in all ordinariness. Means, the text will get pasted in the format like the rest of the content on the particular field.
The key combination to get this done is – Option + Shift + Command + V.
23. Emailing Huge Files
Emails usually give up on huge, data-riddled files. They usually don’t support files that exceed a particular data limit, stymying your sharing process.
However, since Yosemite, you can mail files of up to 5GB in size. What exactly happens is the attachment in consideration gets uploaded to iCloud, and a link of the particular file is sent to the recipient, using which, they can access the file and download it, but only for 30 days.
Note: Your recipient, if using mail on Yosemite/iCloud, will receive the attached document in their emailing list, rather than showing up as a link.
24. Backing Up Your Mac
Since the launch of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, backing up your Mac has become a little deal. The upgrade has provided us the option ‘Time Machine’ for quick backups.
To know more about Time Machine, tap HERE.
That’s a wrap!
These were some of the coolest Mac tips and tricks you must try out! But the list of what awesome things Mac can do goes on. We’ll be covering all of them in our next post. Stay glued to TechiesPad for latest takes and updates on the tech world.
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