The Option key crouches between the Command and Control keys on your Apple keyboard. Most make some use of it, but here are nine tips many Mac users need.
Preview’s hidden power
We use Preview to quickly check or edit images on our Macs. When we do we probably save in one of the default file types —JPEG, JPEG-2000, OpenEXR, PDF, PNG and TIFF. What many Mac users don’t know is that there’s a heap more image formats Preview will save pictures in.
To explore these choices, choose “Export” and then hold down the Option key while you click the Format drop-down list. You now have 16 image formats to select, including Photoshop, QuickTime, SGI and Microsoft formats —though not every format will work with every source file.
Check the system
Most Mac users know “About this Mac” is available under the Apple menu item. Now try depressing the Option key while opening the Apple menu item: “About this Mac”becomes “System information”. This is the same information as you’ll find inside About this Mac, but it takes you directly to the data, saving you a couple of steps.
Tap on the Wi-Fi item at top right of your Menu bar lets you switch Wi-Fi on or off and allows you to join and explore nearby wireless networks. However, tap the menu item while Option is depressed and you gain access to diagnostics, logging the ability to disconnect from your current network and much deeper, in-depth information about the network you are currently on —you can use this to improve your network. (Option click Bluetooth for additional details).
When you explore Safari’s Finder menu with your Option key depressed, you’ll find the following commands:
- In the Safari item, depressing Option gives you a new command: “Quit and Keep Windows”.
- In File you gain a “Close other Tabs”command.
- Click on Window in Finder with Option depressed and you can: “Minimize All”, “Zoom All”and “Arrange In Front”.
Depress the Option key when you open File in Finder and you gain a few new tools, but perhaps the most useful one is “Close All”, which replaces “Close Window” and lets you close every Finder Window. What other commands do you see? You should gain the ability to set an app so that it will open every document saved in a particular file type, for example.
If you keep documents and other data in nested folders, then you should know this tip. While in Finder view, option click the triangle beside the folder you want to look inside. When you do this the folder —and all its subfolders —will open for you, helping you quickly locate the file you seek.
Click the Volume icon in your Menu bar while pressing Option and you can select all available input and output devices.
Faster Restart (and Shutdown)
Depress Option while selecting the Apple Menu and you’ll see the dots following the Restart or Shutdown commands disappear. Now when you select those commands you’ll bypass confirmation dialogs, so you will close or restart your system slightly more swiftly.
To Force Quit a frozen app just Option-click its icon in the Dock and select Force Quit from the contextual choices there.
Option enables many hidden commands in every app —you should explore your most used apps to identify those you need. And please share new tips in comments below.
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