Tag Archives: Free Mac tips

Five Tip Friday ~ Live Photos in macOS, email threads, finding 32-bit apps, Calendar invites, blank disk images


1/ View ‘Live Photos’ in macOS Sierra’s Photos app — The Live Photos feature of recent iPhones is a lot of fun. It captures 1.5 seconds of movement surrounding a 12-megapixel still image (think the “moving newspaper” photos in the Harry Potter films). A Live Photo is signified by a small concentric circle and “Live” text in the corner of the picture. If you want to play the video portion of a Live Photo in macOS Sierra, here’s how:
Open the Photos app.
Open any album where a Live Photo is contained
Open any Live Photo by double-clicking on it.
Hover the mouse cursor over the Live Photo to play the video portion of the picture in Photos on Mac.

2/ Turning Off Highlighting on Related Messages in macOS Mail — You can turn this view off really easily by picking a mailbox from the sidebar and deselecting Organize by Conversation from the View menu.
That choice is set on a per-mailbox basis, though, so you’ll need to go through and do it for all of your mailboxes if you never want to see conversations again.
There is a related feature that drives me nuts, too. Depending on your settings, Mail may be highlighting all related messages with a color when you click on just one of them, even if conversation view is off. Click on an email in grey, and then all of the other messages from that thread light up in blue. Maybe that’s handy for you, but if you find it visually confusing, you can disable this. Choose Mail > Preferences from the menus at the top, and then when the Preferences window appears, click on the Viewing tab. The option Highlight messages with color when not grouped is what you turn off if you aren’t a fan of this feature. If you prefer, you could also click on that little coloured box next to Highlight messages with color when not grouped to pick a different colour to use for the highlight. Then you make it really, really obvious why those messages are coloured.

3/ How to See Which Mac Apps are 32-Bit — Apple plans to stop support for 32-bit apps across iOS and macOS. While iOS 11 will remove them this fall, macOS will continue to support them until 2019. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to start early and find the 32-bit Mac apps. If you do find that software you rely on is 32-bit, contact the developer and see if they plan to update to 64-bit. Most developers will, but older software may not get this support, so you might have to start finding alternatives.
On your Mac’s desktop, click on the Apple logo () at the upper left of the screen.
Click About This Mac.
In the window that pops up, click System Report.
Next, in the System Information app that this brings up, find Applications under Software in the left menu.
Click on Applications, and your Mac will take a few seconds to compile the list.
Once it’s finished, scroll sideways to right until you see the header 64-bit (Intel).
Apps will have a Yes/No designation to determine whether they are 32-bit Mac apps or not. “Yes” means they’re 64-bit and “No” means they’re 32-bit.
Many of the items in the list will be from Apple; you don’t need to worry about those. Instead, look for the ones that say Identified Developer.

4/ Contacting Calendar invitees — There’s an easy way to send an email or a message to all of the participants to an event on a Calendar if you need to pass along new information without putting it on the invite. Just right- or Control-click on the event in question. The contextual menu  that appears contains all sorts of helpful options, like a way to switch up the calendar the event is on, for example. But the two choices near the bottom are the ones that concern us: Email All Participants and Message All Participants. If you pick Email, your Mac will start composing one to all of the listed invitees with the details of the event already included in the body of the email. You can then add in any information you need to!
The steps to do this on iOS are simple, too. Tap on the event, and then scroll down to find the Invitees section.
Tap that, and you’ll see a small envelope icon that you can use to email the participants. This is much faster than typing everyone’s email in, and easier than having to remember who all is coming in the first place. (From the Mac Observer.)

 

5/ How to create a blank disk image for storage using macOS Sierra’s Disk Utility — Using the Disk Utility in macOS Sierra, you can create a blank disk image for storage. A disk image (.dmg file) is a file that looks and acts like a mountable device or volume like  hard drive or thumb/USB drive, but it’s not – it’s virtual. But you can fill an empty disk image with data, then use it to create disks, CDs, or DVDs [from Apple World Today], or even unmount it, and mount it when you need it, so it’s generally hidden.
To create an empty disk image:
Choose File > New Image > Blank Image.
Enter a file name for the disk image, add tags if necessary, then choose where to save it. This is the name that appears in the Finder, where you save the disk image file before opening it.
In the Name field, enter the name for the disk image.
This is the name that appears on your desktop and in the Finder sidebar, after you open the disk image.
In the Size field, enter a size for the disk image.
Click the Format pop-up menu, then choose the format for the disk:
If the disk will be used with Mac computers, choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) or Mac OS Extended (Case-sensitive, Journaled). If the disk will be used with Windows or Mac computers and is 32 GB or less, choose MS-DOS (FAT). If the disk will be used with Windows or Mac computers and is over 32 GB, choose ExFAT.
To encrypt the disk image, click the Encryption pop-up menu, then choose an encryption option.Click the Partitions pop-up menu, then choose a partition layout. Click the Image Format pop-up menu, then choose an option:
Sparse bundle: Same as a sparse image, but the directory data for the image is stored differently. Uses the .sparsebundle file extension.
Sparse: Creates an expandable file that shrinks and grows as needed. No additional space is used. Uses the .sparseimage file extension.
Read/write: Allows you to add files to the disk image after it’s created. Uses the .dmg file extension.
DVD/CD master: Changes the size of the image to 177 MB (CD 8 cm). Uses the .cdr file extension.
Click Save, then click Done.
Disk Utility creates the disk image file where you saved it in the Finder and mounts its disk icon on your desktop and in the Finder sidebar.

Five Tip Friday ~ Commands to change your Mac life and ‘hidden’ apps


Learn a few commands to dramatically change the way you interact with your Mac
Learn a few commands to dramatically change the way you interact with your Mac

Once upon a time I would tell people ‘Command-P is print’ and they’d learn a new command. Over the last few years, people know so little about their Macs, I’ve had to say ‘hold the Command key down. There is a command key either side of your spacebar. While it’s held down, press the letter P.’ I’m not blaming people – it’s partly that your Mac is so easy to use these days, partly because your natural impulse it so click a menu and choose a command from there, and partly the fact that people get virtually no information at all with new Macs, but believe me, even learning a few commands will make your Mac use very much quicker and more efficient.
Where are these commands? drop any menu and they’re listed to the right of all the menu items …

1/ Learn some commands —  Hopefully you already know that Command-P always means print, Command-C always means copy, and Command-V alwaysmeans paste. This holds for any application. There are, of course, hundreds more keyboard shortcuts. Adding a few more keyboard shortcuts to your repertoire is painless and easy. Shortcuts mean spending less time on the mouse, which in turn means a lower risk of Carpel Tunnel and Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI).

2/ Command-click — This is one of my favourites: if you want to get to the Finder (or if you prefer to think of it this way, your desktop), but you can barely see it through all the open application windows, hold down the Command and Option keys together and click anywhere on any part of the desktop you can see past those windows. That key combination takes you to the Finder while hiding (not quitting, please note) all other applications at the same time. If you’re already in the Finder, you can type Command-Option-H for the same effect.

3/ Hide everything else — Command-Option-click on any application icon in the Dock and it will simultaneously hide all other open apps except that one. In this instance, Option is acting as a ‘modifier key’ – it modifies the behaviour of the Command key.

4/ Applications folder — In another recent development, when I say to people ‘there’s a handy Apple Calculator app in your Applications folder’ they say ‘What’s an Applications folder?’ Then I have to explain where it is and how to open it. This is because now Apple even hides your internal hard drive from you by default.
There’s even a shortcut for that: while you’re in the Finder, just type Command-Shift-A. (Similarly, Command-Shift-U will bring you straight to the Utilities folder.)

5/ Talking about ‘hidden apps’: Dictionary — This is the Apple app that regulates all your spelling, bar Microsoft and Adobe app spelling. So this covers Apple Mail, Notebook, Text Edit and Pages, Numbers and Keynote, and many third-party apps use it too. But it doesn’t cover Word, Excel, Photoshop or InDesign, etcetera. Use the above tip to open it up, making sure you’re in the Finder as per the tip above that.
You know you’re in the Finder, btw, if it says Finder by the Apple menu at top left of your screen.
Open the app because you can open its Preferences and set your spelling to British English – yes, this is where you solve the color-colour problem. Dictionary is a very interesting little app in its own right, so it can do a whole lot more – for example, it has a built-in encyclopaedia.  There are a more special tricks and tips for Dictionary at the new Apple-centric site, Apple World Today.

Five Tip Friday ~ some Mac OS X ‘Yosemite’ clarity.


Spotlight does more than find things
Spotlight does more than find things

Mac tips today:

1/ Spotlight does more than search; including converting from US dollars — By clicking on the magnifying glass in the upper-right corner of your screen (or press the keyboard shortcut ‘Command-Spacebar’), you can do conversions of many different types, from currency to cooking. For example, if you type in a dollar amount, Spotlight assumes US dollars but knows where you are and immediately displays the NZ equivalent (above). Or start with the British pound symbol (Shift-3).

2/ Convert more than currency — Some other conversions available are temperature (by typing in something like “85F” or “650K”); weight (“540oz,” “25kg,” or “23 stone”); and measurement (“54yd” or “567mm”). If there’s a specific conversion you’re looking for, you can try typing that in instead (ie 6 yards to centimetres’ or even “6yd to cm”, as this works with either abbreviations or with the typed-out words.

3/ You can merge Calendars — Sometimes you end up with too many calendars,l but you don’t want to lose any events. Assuming you have your Mac backed up, as we’d hate anything to go wrong (or at least that you have your Calendar backed up), Open the Calendar program. From the list on the left, select the calendar you’d like to export the events from to merge together. From the menus at the top, choose File>Export>Export (shown below).

ExCal

Save the resulting file out somewhere on your Mac. Now, within Calendar, choose File>Import, and then pick the .ics file that you just saved out. A pop-up window will appear, asking you which calendar you’d like to import the events to. Select OK afterward, and you’re done – the events from your exported calendar will merge with whichever one you chose, and then you can safely delete the original calendar by selecting it from the sidebar and pressing Command-Delete.
(In older versions of OS X, this process would duplicate events onto the calendar you imported them to. Under Yosemite with iCloud, however, this now moves the events to the new calendar, so you’ll see them disappear from the original. To make sure you’ve gotten the events where you want them to go, you can deselect all but one calendar from your sidebar and examine them each in turn.)

4/ Swap files between user accounts — Some people have several ‘User Accounts’ set up on their Macs. That means several people (a couple, kids etc) can use the same Mac but keep their files separate, since you have to sign in to each account to see them. But how, if you don’t know each other’s passwords? Apple provides a Shared folder inside the Mac’s Users folder (found at the root level of the startup drive).
The Shared folder’s permissions are Read & Write, across the board.  Anyone can put (or copy, by Option-dragging) a file into here, and any other user can see and open it. This saves all that messing about with USB drives.

5/ Hide others — Often, you have so many things open, you can get a bit confused as to what you’re working on or even looking at. I love this simple command combo that hides everything except the ‘frontmost’ app – in other words, the app that’s running and using resources immediately, which you can see by looking at the app name next to the Apple menu at top left of your screen. This is it: Command-Option-H. In other words, while you are holding down Command and Option together, which I can do with my left thumb, press the H key. Instant clarity. This doesn’t quit anything else, it just removes them from view.