Five Tip Friday ~ some for Mac users: Back to my Mac, non-printing characters, old file versions, emptying Trash, files as pathnames


1/ Set up and use Back to my Mac on macOS Sierra — If you have an iCloud account, you can use ‘Back to My Mac’ to connect to your other Macs over the Internet. You can then use Screen Sharing to control the remote computer from anywhere you are connected to the Internet.
(To use Back to My Mac, you must have an Apple AirPort Base Station or AirPort Time Capsule set up for NAT-PMP, or NAT Port Mapping Protocol, or a router set up for UPnP (Universal Plug and Play)
You can also share files between computers, including files that aren’t stored in iCloud Drive (such as files in your Downloads, Movies, and Pictures folders). First you set up Back to My Mac on each computer, and then you can connect from one Mac to the others. Do the following on each computer you want to use with Back to My Mac:
Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click iCloud.
Select Back to My Mac.
If you aren’t signed in to iCloud already, you must set up iCloud before you can select Back to My Mac.
Follow any instructions you see to turn on sharing services, select “Wake for network access,” or make any other changes necessary for Back to My Mac.
To connect to your Mac:
In a Finder sidebar, look in the Shared section for the Mac you want to connect to.
If nothing is listed in the Shared section, hold the pointer to the right of Shared, then click Show.
If you don’t see the Shared heading in the sidebar, choose Finder > Preferences, click Sidebar, then select Back to My Mac in the Shared section.
Click the computer you want to use, then click Connect As or Share Screen. (From Apple World Today).

2/ Viewing non printing characters in word processor documents — Pages has a way that you can show and hide what it dubs invisible characters, so if you need to see paragraph returns, tabs, spaces, and so on, it’s as simple as pressing Shift-Command-I or choosing View > Show Invisibles in that program.
Microsoft Word can do this too. If the text within a document is behaving oddly, figuring out whether something behind the scenes is working against you is the way to go.
Whenever you hit keys like Tab, Return, Spacebar, and so on, Word is actually sticking ‘nonprinting characters’ in, including ‘page break’.
Turning this view on and off is simple. In the most recent version of Word, select the Home tab in the toolbar then click the giant paragraph sign, which looks of like a backwards ‘p.’ It’s a toggle button (on or off), so to turn off showing those nonprinting characters, press that button again.
You can also control which nonprinting characters show all of the time, whether you’ve toggled this button on or not. That option is available by clicking on Word>Preferences from the menus at the top of the program. Once the Preferences window opens, choose View and you’ll see exactly which characters you can choose to have showing all of the time (from Mac Observer).

3/ Deleting old versions of files — Enter the File menu in applications that support this macOS feature and choose Revert To>Browse All Versions. Navigate to the version of the file that you’d like to remove first. Once you’re there, move your cursor to the top of the screen, and your formerly hidden menu bar should reappear.  Then choose File > Revert To > Delete This Version.

4/ Force the Trash to empty — Sometimes the Trash refuses to delete a file. Quit any app that you were using with the file, then try and empty the Trash.
If that doesn’t work, the app might have one or more background processes that are using the file. Restart your Mac, then empty the Trash.
If that doesn’t work, you might have a startup item or login item that is using the file. To temporarily prevent such items from opening automatically, start up in safe mode by holding down the Shift key while your Mac starts up. Then empty the Trash and restart your Mac normally. Beyond this, you’ll have to use Recovery Mode, which you can read about at Apple World Today.

5/ Files as path names — This is verging on old school computing’, but from El Capitan, Macs have had the ability to copy files or folders as pathnames in Finder.
As an example, let’s pretend that you wanted to point someone to this file:
/System/Library/WidgetResources/AppleClasses/Images/slide_track_vbottom@2x.png
Look at how long that path is! If you were to type that out, being sure to get all of the capitalisation and so on correct, it’d take a while and it would be so easy to get just one letter wrong, which stops it working (note also that every backslash represents a folder – this is the same protocol used in web addresses).
The easier way to go is to use a shortcut: first, select the file or folder you want to copy the pathname for, then press the shortcut Option-Command-C, which is short for Finder’s Edit>Copy as Pathname menu item.
(If you plan on using the Edit menu for this rather than the shortcut, know that you have to hold down Option in order for “Copy as Pathname” to appear.)
Finally, go to wherever you’d like to put in the path, which could be an email, a message, or even Terminal, and just press Command-V to paste it as you normally would.

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