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Navigating your Mac Desktop

The Dock – The dock is shortcut central for your Mac. You can very easily change the location, size or contents of your dock.
  • To change the location of your dock, click on the black apple located at the left corner of your menu bar. Select the location on your desktop that you want your dock to appear.
  • To change the size of your dock, find the pattern of lines on the right portion of the dock that looks like a crosswalk. When your cursor changes to a line with arrows pointing up and down, click and hold and move it up or down. The dock will get bigger or smaller.
  • To magnify the icons on your dock when you pass your cursor over them, click on the black apple at the top menu bar, go down to dock, and select “turn magnification on”, or if it’s on and annoying you, “turn magnification off”.
  • If the presence of the dock interferes with a program you’re working on, you may hide the dock by using the shortcut “option, command, D”. If hidden, you may reveal the dock using the same keys.
  • To add programs to your dock, simply click on the icon for the application (usually found in the applications folder), hold, and drag it onto the dock. (Applications go to the right of the “crosswalk”; documents and open programs will appear to the left of the “crosswalk”.)
  • To remove programs from your dock, simply click on them and drag them in the trash. The shortcut will disappear in a puff of smoke. Only the shortcut will disappear. The program itself will still be in the applications folder of your Mac.
  • To identify open items on your dock, look for the tiny spotlight beneath the icon of the programs. The Finder icon will always have a light under it; the other applications will only have a light under them if they are open.

Stacks – A stack is a folder located on the dock that provides easy access to the information within it. You may create a folder on your desktop and move it to the dock, or move a folder from your “Finder” and place it on your dock.


(Note about Finder – The enigmatically smiling, Picasso-like face on the left hand side of your doc is your “Finder”. This is where you will find the folders containing your applications, documents, etc. If you click on finder and it doesn’t display the contents, double click on the icon for Macintosh HD on your desktop.)
  • To open a stack - single click on it. To close a stack – single click on the down arrow at the bottom of the stack.
  • Stack Views – There are two ways the items within a stack can be viewed – Fan and Grid.
----- Fan view is best when there are fewer items within a stack
---- Grid view allows more items to be seen at one time

The default view for stacks is Automatic. The Mac will select the most efficient view (fan or grid) based on the number of items in your stack. However, if you want to change to a particular view, simply control-click the stack, and a drop-down menu will appear. In the section marked View Content As you may select your choice. In this drop down menu, you may also select the way you want your stack icon to be displayed – as a stack or as a folder.
  • To Move through a Stack - just use the arrow key.
  • To Delete a Stack from your dock, simply click on it and drag it off your dock. When you let go, it will disappear in a puff of smoke, but the original folder will still remain in its own location.

Moving away from the dock……….

Views – There are four ways to view items in your finder windows.
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Icon View – shows the items as pictures
List View – creates a list with text and icons
Column View - displays a list with text, icons, and columns to view a folder's contents
Cover Flow – displays two windows in a split screen – one to glide through the icons, and the other with icon and text.
o To move through cover flow, click and drag on scroll bar on the cover flow screen, or you may click on the name of the item in the list below the cover flow screen to move directly to the item.
o Slider bar (3 lines) below the cover flow screen will resize the split screen.
o Especially good for viewing pictures.
Another helpful desktop view is found by clicking on “View” at the top menu bar, and selecting View Options. If you check the box marked “Show icon preview” you get a tiny look at what the picture is. “Show item info” will tell you how large an item is, or how many items are in a folder.
A handy tool for examining pictures, movies or documents is Quick Look. To get a quick look of an item click on it, then press the space bar. It will open in a small version, so you can get a better look at it.

Zoom - Your Macbook has a zoom feature which allows you to make a screen bigger or smaller, as you require. The easiest way to do this is to hold down the command key - To make the screen bigger, press the + key. To make it smaller, press the – key. The screen will only go as small as the default size.

Open Applications – When you have a number of applications open, a quick way of viewing only the open applications is to hold down the command key and press tab. A mini-dock will open up showing just the open applications. While holding down the Command key, use the arrow keys to move left or right. If you want to quite an application that is shown, hold down Command Q. When you let go of the Command key, the mini-dock will disappear.

Grab – A tool that allows you to capture windows, or sections of windows, and save them as jpgs. To activate Grab
  • Open “Finder
  • Click on “Applications”
  • Scroll down to “Utilities”
  • Open the “Utilities” folder
  • Locate the “Grab” icon (you may find it helpful to drag this onto your dock for easy access.)
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  • Click the icon – your top menu bar will change to the Grab menu bar.
  • Click on “Capture” in the top menu bar. Select from the drop down menu what it is you want to capture.
  • Follow the prompts to capture the selection. You will here a click, and the image you’ve captured will appear on screen. You can opt to save the image, or don’t save and try again.

Captured images can be inserted into a document just like a picture, by clicking and dragging, or by going to “Insert” at the top menu bar, and selecting “picture” “from file”.

Spotlight – In the upper right hand corner of your top menu bar, there is an icon shaped like a magnifying glass. It's an amazingly useful tool that, among other things, will help you locate documents that you know you've saved, but can't remember where, or by what title. Simply type in a word you know is in the document, and spotlight will find items that have that word within. To use it, just click on the magnifying glass and type in the word. A list of results will appear – click on the one you want.