Category Archives: Tips

Five-tip Friday 15th August 2014 — working smarter & faster in the Finder

Search smarter with Command-F for Find in the Finder
Search smarter with Command-F for Find in the Finder (click this image for a more detailed view)

These tips will help you work faster in the Mac’s Finder, the app that is the primary interface between you and your hardware.

1/ Smart folders — When you perform a standard Finder search by pressing Command-F (which gives you way more options than typing something in the Spotlight menu, please note, while using the same search engine)  or using the search bar in any Finder window, you can a search as a smart folder. Just click the Save button in the top-right of the window. This saves the search as a Smart Folder which, when opened, will only show the files that match your search criteria. (You can also create smart folders by selecting New Smart Folder from the File menu.)

2/ Multiple search criteria — When performing Finder searches, you can use multiple criteria to narrow your search by clicking the Add button (+) at the top-right (next to the Save) then adding more criteria. You can use the drop-down to select specific metadata tags for narrowing your search; if you don’t see the ones you want in that list, you can also choose Other to choose from many, many more.

3/ Finder search logic — By holding the Option key when adding search criteria, you further refine your search by more complex logic.
By default, when you add new criteria to a search, the Finder will do so with ‘And logic’, meaning that files must meet all the criteria to be included in the results. However, you might wish to specify files by excluding some criteria by using a ‘Not logical statement’.
Implement this advanced search logic by holding the Option key down when you click the plus button to add a new criterion. When you do so, the new criterion will appear with a second line before it, which gives you the option of Any, All, or None, to specify how the new criterion (or additional criteria) will be handled in the new search.

4/ Organise selected files into folders — Another common frustration is when you have too many files in a folder. You can always rearrange and resort the files with the Finder’s view tools. But it can be more useful to arrange related files into subfolders. One way to do this is to create a folder and then drag a selection of files into it. But it’s quicker to select the files you wish to group, right-click them, and then choose the New Folder Containing ## Items (where ## is the number of items you’ve selected).
Right-clicking any selection of files in a given Finder window allows you to consolidate them within a new folder.
Unfortunately, this feature is limited to selected files within the current directory, so you can’t use it on search results that include files from multiple folders. The workaround: Run your search, then select and drag the results to a new folder.

5/ Reveal files with Spotlight — While Spotlight is the primary search option for OS X, you might find yourself using it only to find and open files directly in their default applications; many users forget that they can also use it to reveal files in the Finder. To do so, run your search, then use the arrow keys to highlight your desired file. Next, instead of pressing Return key alone, hold down Command key as you press Return. This opens a Finder window containing the file, and allows you to delete it, move it, open it in a non-default application, or otherwise manage the file directly.

Extra tip: Document path menus — Finally, if you’re tired of navigating your file-and-folder hierarchy the old-fashioned way (by clicking on successive parent-and-child folders in the Finder), there’s a quicker way to navigate: hold down the Control or Command key while you click on the little file icon at the top of document or Finder windows (or just right-click on it), and you get a drop-down with the file’s path. If you then click on one of the folders in that path, that folder will open in the Finder, with the appropriate child-item selected.
[These tips were taken – and edited from – Macworld.]

While you're at it, why not add a 1-click Path button and other features?
While you’re at it, why not add a 1-click Path button and other features?

Extra extra — Actually, personally I prefer a Path button that just requires a single, normal click to do the same thing. You can add one, and choose from other options, by Control-Clicking on the Grey area at the top of the Finder window and choosing ‘Customise’ from the pop-out menu. Just drag the Path button – and any other you fancy – up into your Finder window’s button bar and this adds the button to every Finder window you open from then on. While in this view, you can also remove, by drag-and-driop, any button you don’t want in the tops of Finder windows.

Five Tip Friday 8th August — iOS and the Home button, and handy hidden level


iPhones and iPads have a Quit function accessed by double-clicking the Home button
iPhones and iPads have a Quit function accessed by double-clicking the Home button

1/ Double-clicking the Home button — You need to double-click the Home button (that dished button on the from of every iPad, iPhone and iPod touch) to quit apps. Double-clicking it launches the running apps into smaller windows in the middle of your iPhone/iPad that you whizz up with your finger to actually ‘quit’ them, meaning they no longer use battery power, system resources and online data, so this is something you should be doing every day or two if you want longer battery life and more efficient data use.
So we need to be clear abut this: if you are playing a game, say, or looking at Maps, and you press the Home button to go back to the icon screen, you are NOT quitting the app. It’s still running, still using processor cycles, still using battery, and may still be push-pulling out into the online world (in other words, using data). Double-click the Home button and swipe to the left and you may be shocked to discover you have dozens, perhaps even hundreds of apps running, and yes, this is one reason your battery is not lasting as long as it used to.

2/ Hard to double-click the Home button? No worries, as you can actually slow down the speed you need to double-click (or triple-click, as the case may be) the Home key. Tap Settings, General, Accessibility, then scroll all the way down and tap “Home-click Speed” (it’s under the “Physical & Motor” setting).
Now, pick a new double-click speed from Slow or Slowest.When you tap a new option, your iPhone will buzz three times to give you an idea of how quickly (or slowly) you need to double-click.

3/ The iPad four-finger salute — There are three iPad-specific multitasking gestures that require at least four fingers. You toggle the iPad’s extra gestures on and off from the Settings screen.
The three gestures are optional, and you can toggle them on and off by tapping Settings, General, and then flipping the switch next to Multitasking Gestures, but they take advantage of the iPad’s larger screen real estate compared to iPhone.
To switch between iPad apps without double-clicking the Home button, as above under 1/, swipe up with four or five fingers to view the iPad’s multitasking display.
Now you can swipe left and right to view all the apps you have open, and tap the one you want to use or swipe (drag) it upwards to quit it.

4/ Swap from one app to another on the go, on iPad — Do the claw thing again with your fingers, then swipe from left to right or right to left with four or five fingertips.
The current app slides off the screen, to be smoothly replaced by the next one in line. You can also pinch to return to the iPad’s home screen as if you’d pressed the Home button. Put your finger tips on the iPad screen slightly spread apart, and then pinch them in. Have a try, you’ll get the hang of it.


Every iPhone has the Compass app – so it also has a level
Every iPhone has the Compass app – so it also has a level

5/ Use your iPhone as a level to hang pictures straight — Launch the Apple Compass app (or tell Siri to ‘Launch Compass’ if you don’t remember where you hid it), calibrate it by rolling the little red ball around by tilting the iPhone in all sorts of directions, then look down at the bottom of the display underneath where your latitude and longitude are.
You should notice two little white dots – these indicate there’s another screen you’re not seeing in the Compass app. Swipe the compass to the left, and a handy level appears.
If your iPhone is in a flat orientation, it acts as a 3D bubble level for determining if a table or other surface is precisely level. Hold the iPhone up in either a portrait or landscape orientation, and it’s a 2D bubble level.
Put the iPhone on top of a picture frame, and you can quickly adjust a photo or painting until your obsessive-compulsive need to have it exactly straight is fulfilled.
When the level is perfectly flat or exactly level, it will turn green — a quick visual validation that you’ve tweaked the painting just enough to get it straight. If it’s even just the slightest amount off, the level will be black and will display the exact angle at which the picture is skewed.

Five Tip Friday ~ Tips for Mac OS X and the Sidebar in Finder windows

Your sidebar explained – and it's customisable
Your sidebar explained – and it’s customisable

Folders on the Mac:  those you see in the Finder and via Open and Save dialogue boxes have sidebars which I often describe as functioning ‘like a Dock for windows’ (the Dock being that strip of launch icons normally along the bottom of your screen, or maybe on the left or right depending on your Preferences).
If you can’t see this left-side Sidebar, click View from the Finder menu and select ‘Show Sidebar’. If you want to get rid of it, while it’s visible the same menu item becomes Hide Sidebar.

1/ Add a folder to the favourites section — If you have a personal folder you’d like to appear in the sidebar, just select it with your mouse and drag it to the Favorites (sic) section of the sidebar — and when you do, make sure to place it between a pair of existing Favorites folders rather than inside of of them.

2/ Remove a folder from your favourites — Right-click (or hold down the Control key on your keyboard and mouse/trackpad-click)  the folder you want to un-favourite, and select Remove from Sidebar.

3/ Customise the Sidebar items — Since Sidebar items are actually just shortcuts leading to real items (ie, like the Dock), in addition to key directories like your Applications and Movies folders, the sidebar can also display hard drives, DVDs, connected Internet servers and file ‘tags’ (which first appeared on OS X Mavericks), and other items.
To add or remove any of these items, click your desktop to make the Finder menu appear at the top of the screen, click the main Finder menu, select Preferences, click the Sidebar tab, then check or uncheck the various sidebar item options as you see fit.

4/ Rearrange your favourites — Just click, hold, and drag up or down to rearrange items in the ‘Favorites’ list of your sidebar. Make it work for you – that’s what your Mac is all about.

5/ Make the sidebar bigger, or smaller — Grab the sidebar’s right edge with your mouse and drag it one way to expand it, or the other to shrink it.

Five tip Friday! iOS can have more indicative switches, bolder type & you can forward messages as emails

You can add power on-off decals to iOS labels
Add power on-off decals (right) to iOS labels

1/ Add labels to your iOS toggles — Open the Settings app in iOS and Tap General, then Accessibility.
Scroll down to the option to ‘Turn on On/Off Labels’.
Swipe or tap the toggle to turn it on, with green indicating that the feature is enabled.
View another toggle to confirm the addition of the labels
iOS uses the standard power button label that is used on electronic devices: a circle represents the ‘on’ state and a line represents ‘off.’ Between the colour and the label, you should have minimal difficulty in determining whether an option is enabled or disabled in the settings. Besides its functional purpose, the added labels also look nifty in each switch icon.

2/ Change how Calendar events look in Notifications —  As part of iOS 7.1 Apple improved on the ability to view calendar events by adding a list view button in the Daily view. But if you toggle this to list view within the Calendar app, your calendar events within Notification Center also show as a list.

3/ It’s clunky, but you can forward messages as emails — Open the Messages app, then the thread with messages you’d like to forward.
Tap and hold a message until the Copy and More… buttons appear, and tap More.
A row of circles will appear on the left side of the screen, with each circle sitting next to an individual text or iMessage. Tap a circle to select a specific message, or tap them all to select the entire thread (there’s no Select All button).
Now tap the little curly arrow in the bottom corner of the screen, then type in an email address into the To  form at the top.
Tap Send.
The forwarded message will appear in the recipient’s email inbox as a plain-text email attachment.

4/ Don’t like iOS 7’s thin type? Now worries — If you’re having trouble reading text on your iPhone or iPad, just turn on Settings>General>Accessibility>Larger Text to increase the default font size on your device.
You can make that font size even larger in apps that support it by enabling Larger Accessibility Sizes.

5/ To makeHelvetica Neue to show up bolder — Visit Settings>General>Accessibility and enable the Bold Text slider. You will have to restart your iPhone when you enable Bold Text but it makes a noticeable difference.

Five Tip Friday ~ It’s hip to shoot square on iPhone

Square images are everywhere, and luckily your iPhone has the ability built right in, so check out these five tips (sourced from Macworld) that tell you how to do it well.

square1/ How to go square —  As long as your phone is running iOS 7 or later, you don’t have to go far for cropped shooting: the Camera app has a dedicated Square mode.

Just swipe once to the left from the main Camera screen to bring up the cropped shooting screen.

2/ The next step is framing your shot — When it comes to framing your square shot, it’;s a good idea (actually, with all shots) to use the grid. The Grid feature works in both Square and Photo mode and you can enable the grid at any time by going to Settings>Photos & Camera>Grid.) It’s really useful for lining up your vertical and horizontal elements and it shows the ‘rule of thirds’ intersection points for artistic composition.

In Square mode, the grid is overlaid in nine even boxes, allowing you to easily line up your subject matter.

When you’re shooting smaller subjects, frame them in the top or bottom thirds of your image to provide a stronger composition—especially if you have a strong environment that can provide contrast in its negative space.

3/ Centre — Since the square crop removes most of your extra composition space, some consider it a negative to have to cram their subject inside the frame. But the square crop really highlights subjects you want to centre in your frame; by providing equidistant negative space on all four sides, it places a strong focus on your subject.

4/ HDR — Your iPhone has other options for making your photos pop off the digital page. For instance, While shooting, you can use your phone’s HDR feature to drastically boost colours. [HDR is ‘high dynamic range’ – the iPhone puts together low and high exposure shots to get better definition through the dark and light ends of your image.]

5/ Noir — Another tip is to choose a filter for Square mode by touching the three-circles Filter button. I use Square also as an instant black and white mode, for instance, because it retains the last filter you selected.

Five tip Friday (actually, ten)

I’ve been away a couple of weeks so here are ten tips to get everyone back up to speed, and to celebrate the new site for Mac NZ, thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of Paul Luker. First 5 for Mac, next for iOS.

1/ Secret Emoji characters in Mavericks — Whenever you are in a text field in Mavericks, just press Command-Control-Space and an emoji panel will appear. Then click any of the Emoji icons to insert it at the current position in the text.


2/ Navigate the Emojis — For those who find it quicker to use the keyboard, you can navigate between the Emoji icons with the arrow keys, and shift left and right between the different sections using Tab and Shift-Tab respectively. If you know what you are looking for, just begin to type the name, and the Emoji will filter as you type. Give it a try with ‘dog’ or ‘kiss’.

3/ Constant Emojis — By default, the Emoji panel disappears once you choose an icon. However, if you find yourself using it a lot, just drag it away from the text field to ‘detach’ it, and it stays open until you click the close button in the top left.

4/ Emoji character viewer — The button in the top right of the detached panel expands the panel into the full size ‘Character Viewer’ that was previously available in OS Mountain Lion (below). Awesome 😀


5/ Make a face to ignore in iPhoto — Doing everything with the keyboard makes a lot faster. If you’re using the Find Faces feature and skip faces you don’t know (because you don’t want to pause to use the mouse), the next time you click on Find Faces, you’ll be presented with those same unknown faces over and over again. They build up and always get presented in the same order, so you end up spending a lot of time skipping them before you get to new faces.

To avoid this, just name all these unknown faces ‘Unknown’ (or some other word with an uncommon starting letter). Then all you have to do to ignore a face (once you’ve tabbed to it) is type a ‘u.’ After you’ve labeled a bunch, open the ‘Unknown’ face album and bulk-confirm all the unwanted faces. Now the next time you use Find Faces, you’ll get right to the new faces. (From MacOS Hints.)

Five tips for iOS: There are several ways to decline voice calls on iPhone.

1/ Send a caller instantly to voicemail — When a call comes in, just double-click the Sleep/Wake button along the top of your iPhone or tap the red Decline button on the touchscreen. Your iPhone will stop ringing, and your caller will hear the prerecorded tones of your voicemail greeting.

2/ Let a caller (eventually) go to voicemail — If your iPhone starts ringing, you see the caller ID, and you just don’t want to take the call but you don’t want your caller thinking that you’re blowing them off, either, you can single-clickthe Sleep/Wake button to silence your phone (or single-click one of the volume buttons).

Doing either will silence your iPhone’s ringer, but your caller will still hear your phone ringing.

Eventually, the call will go to voicemail, and your caller will figure out you couldn’t get to your phone.

3/ Decline a call with a text message — If you don’t want to decline a call without letting the caller know you’ll ring back, you can send them a text message such as ‘Can’t talk right now, call later?’ while at the same time declining the call. This is less rude than just terminating the call.
Tap the ‘Message’ button to send a pre-written text message to a caller you’d rather dodge. When your iPhone starts ringing, you’ll see the standard “slide to answer” slider at the bottom of the screen. Just above the slider and to the right, you’ll see a Message button. Tap that button, and you can choose between a series of canned text messages, including “I’ll call you later,” “I’m on my way,” and “What’s up?” Tap a message, and it’ll be sent instantly to your caller, just as they’re hearing your voicemail message.
You can tap “Custom…” to compose a custom message on the fly, but I find it better to create your own pre-written messages by tapping Settings>Phone> Reply with Message.

4/ Decline a call, then get a reminder — If a call comes in that you really do want to answer, just not right this second, tap ‘Remind Me’ to get a reminder about a missed call later in the day, or once you arrive (or leave) a specific location.
This  button is just above the ‘slide to answer’ slider. Doing so sends your caller to voicemail, and you’ll get a choice: Get a reminder about the missed call in a) an hour, b) when you leave your current location, c) when you get home, or d) when you arrive at work.

5/ Customise a reminder — Want to change the time of your reminder? Just open the Reminders app on your iPhone, find the missed-call reminder that your iPhone just created (tap one of the reminder lists, or use the search box), tap it, then tap any of the reminder settings (such as the time or the location) that you’d like to change.