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Mac Tips and Shortcuts


What do I do if........? How do I......? Hopefully you'll find answers to questions like this on this wiki page. The information is in no particular order, but postings are a result of questions I've been asked. If you don't see what you need, ask for it and I'll post it here.


The Dreaded Spinning Beach Ball – When a program freezes, you often see the spinning beach ball. If you’re lucky, things will figure themselves out after a short time and you won’t have to do a thing. If it keeps spinning, though, what you need to do is “Force Quit”. To do that, first click somewhere on the desktop so that the top menu bar changes from that of your program, to that of the Mac Desktop. Then, click on the black apple, and in the drop-down menu, select “Force Quit”. A window will appear, showing you the programs that are open (and/or unresponsive). Click on the program you want to quit, and then click on the button that says “Force Quit”.

Safe Boot - This is an easy and powerful way of, in a sense, giving your mac a little tune-up. To Safe Boot, start your mac while holding down the shift key until you see the spinning spokes (not the beach ball). Let go, and let your computer continue to start up. This will take a while, so be patient, and don’t be alarmed. Once your computer actually comes on, (it may say Safe Mode), restart your computer again in the usual manner, and you’re good to go. This can sometimes help your computer to run a little faster.

Closing a Mac file vs. Closing a PC file – With any computer, the more you have open, the slower you computer will run. Simply clicking on the “X” (red button in the top left hand corner) will not close a file on a Mac. To close a file you must either

A. Go to the name of the program in the top menu bar, click on it and select Quit in the drop down menu.
OrB. Hold down the Command key while pressing the letter Q.

Looking at the dock will show you which programs are open – there will be a little lighted dot beneath open programs. However, Finder will always have a lighted dot beneath it.

Clearing your history in Safari or Firefox – Your browser remembers the places you’ve been – that’s one way things like usernames and passwords will sometimes appear when you begin to type them in. To clear your history:

In Safari - Click on History in the top menu bar, and select Clear History in the drop down menu.

In Firefox – Click on Tools in the top menu bar, and select Clear Recent History. A pop-up window giving you options of what to clear, and a time range for which to clear your data.

Printing Information from Web Pages – When you look at a web page, you have no idea how many actual pages it is – picture a scroll – you really don’t know how long it will be when you start unrolling it. This can cause you to print waaay more pages than you need. There is a simple solution to this problem. When you are on a webpage you want to print a portion of:

1. Go to File at the top menu bar and select Print.
2. On the bottom of the print window, you will see a button that says pdf.
3. Click on pfd and in the drop down menu that appears, select Save as pdf.
4. Your document will be saved as a pdf file.
5. Open that document, and find the page(s) you want to print.
6. Go to File and Print again, and enter the page number(s) of the pages you want to print.

You can't see your whole page - At the very top of your page is a grey bar containing the name of whatever it is you're working on. If you put your cursor on that bar, click and hold, you can move the page anywhere want - left, right, up, down. If you need the page to be bigger, the bottom right corner of the page has a few small, diagonal lines. Click and hold on that, and move in or out and you can change the size of your page.

The print is too small (or too big) - to make the size of what's on your screen bigger or smaller, hold down the command key, and press either + or - depending on the size change you want to make.

Deleting Documents - In your documents folder, or desktop (whever your document is), click and hold on the icon for the document, and drag it into the trash. To Empty the trash, click and hold on the trash basket icon on your dock and select "empty trash" from the drop down menu.

Software Updates - You will, on occasion, get a bouncing blue globe on your dock, indicating that you need to install updates - be sure to do this. The updates can do anything from fix glitches in a program, to increase security on your mac. The bouncing globe indicates that this is an update sent from Apple.

Mac Keyboard Shortcuts

There’s a whole list of keyboard shorts available that will make your work easier and shorter. Click here to download the list.