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For the past 9 Weeks I've been doing a series called "10 Tip Mondays" where I've given 10 Tips on various Mac Apps or OS X features. I decided to round out this series with "10 Random Mac Tips". This will be 10 Tips off the top of my head and then of course followed by the links to the other 90 Tips to make the title of this post a true statement. So here we go in no particular order:


1. Partition a drive without reformatting

One of my favorite Snow Leopard features is the ability to partition a hard drive WITHOUT having to reformat it first. As long as you're not currently booted off that drive, you can plug it in, open Disk Utility and partition it without having to reformat it. I just did this recently on an external portable Firewire drive so that I could create a second boot partition for beta testing. It worked perfectly without losing the contents. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BACKUP FIRST BEFORE DOING ANY WORK IN DISK UTILITY.


2. Multiple Time Machine Backups

Now you can have multiple Time Machine Backups. If you go to your Time Machine prefs and choose a different drive you can of course backup to it. However, if you later go back and set Time Machine to backup to the first drive Time Machine will pick up where it left off. This is great for creating offsite backups or going between two drives such as a Time Capsule at home and a portable drive on the road.


3. Use Font Book to check for damaged fonts

Weird things can happen including frequent crashes if you've got a damaged Font. You may never even know it if it's a Font that you don't use often. However, some Apps build their Font menus upon launch based on your installed fonts, so if one or more of them is damaged then you can experience issues. Luckily Font Book can check for damaged Fonts. Just select your fonts in Font Book and choose Validate Fonts from the File menu.

4. Turn off the translucent menu bar


One of the things that really annoyed me in early on in Mac OS X Leopard was the Translucent Menubar. I was extremely happen when Apple gave us the option to turn it off.  However, it's not obvious where to  find it. Go into your System Prefs and choose Desktop & Screen Saver. Then you'll see the checkbox and turn it off.


5. Share an Internet connection

If you are in a situation where you need to share your internet connection with others, you can actually turn your Mac into a mini AirPort base station. For example, let's say you're in a hotel or meeting room and you have an internet connection via Ethernet. You can actually share that connection with others or your other devices like an iPod touch or iPad by simply enabling Internet Sharing in the Sharing System Prefs. You can even secure your makeshift WiFi network with a password to prevent  the world from jumping on.


6. How I use Exposé

I love to use Exposé in conjunction with Hot Corners. For example, when I move my mouse pointer to the upper right corner of my screen it shows me All Windows of all my Apps that are open. When I move it to the lower left corner it moves all windows out of the way to show me the Desktop. I can then pick something up and drag it back to the corner to bring me back to where I was working and drop the item in the App that I'm working on.


7. Zoom your screen

Whenever I'm doing a presentation to a large audience or recording my screen for a video, I like to Zoom in on elements that are hard to see. This always makes it easier on the eyes of my audience. You can turn this ability on in the Universal Access System Prefs as well as going into the Options to control the Maximum Zoom Level you'll get with a single keystroke combination. Once it's on you can zoom in by hitting Command-Option + and zoom out by hitting Command-Option -. 


8. Get your Mac's Serial Number

If you ever need to call Apple Support chances are they are going to ask you for your Mac's serial number. The placement of this serial number will be in different places depending on your Mac model. In most cases it will not be convenient to get to. Luckily you can do it without crawling around on the floor or turning your Mac upside down. Just choose About this Mac from the Apple menu and then just click the version of the Mac OS you have installed (ie. 10.6.2) and it will cycle through to your OS Build Number and if  you click again it will show you your Mac's serial number.


9. Command Tab Quit Trick

I use Command-Tab to bring up the Application switcher all the time. You can keep hitting tab to cycle through your open Applications and let go of the keys to switch to that App. However, if you hit the letter Q while an App is selected it will quit that App. You can also hit H to hide it.


10. Screenshot to clipboard

There are several Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts to take screen shots. Command-Shift-3 captures the whole screen and Command-Shift-4 allows you to select part of the screen to capture. However, one of my favorite built-in shortcuts is Command-Control-Shift-4 which will allow me to select part of the screen and make the capture, but instead of capturing to a file on my desktop, it captures to the Clipboard instead. I can then just paste the capture into another application such as Mail


90 More Tips

10 Tips for iWeb Users

10 Tips for MobileMe Users

10 Mac OS X Finder Tips

10 Safari Tips

10 MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air Tips

10 iCal Tips

10 Address Book Tips

10 iPhoto Tips

10 Apple Mail Tips

Where do we go from here? I'll still have tips, news and reviews every Monday. I hope you enjoyed this series of Tips and found them useful.


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3 Responses to 100 Mac Tips

  1. Jeff Revell says:

    So here’s a question, why does Apple still use that funky symbol for the option key (see tip #7) when they haven’t had it on the keyboard for quite a few years, at least not on the MacBook Pro? It confused the hell out of me when I first began using a Mac.

  2. Jack says:

    You do know you can add modifier keys to your hot corners in Exposé?

    Just hold down the command key when you select a hot corner. Then you will need to hold down the command key when the mouse hits that corner to activate.

    It’s really good to prevent accidental activations of hot corners.

    You can also use other modifier keys like control, option, shift etc. or combinations.