OS X Mavericks: 6 useful Mac tricks

While we wait for Apple to pull its finger out and get Mail working reliably again, I thought it might be fun to put together a half dozen cool Mac tricks some readers may not have seen before.

OS X Mavericks: 6 useful Mac tricks

Make onscreen video

If you're making a tutorial you don't need to spend cash getting software to record how you do things on your Mac -- you already have QuickTime.

  • Launch the app (inside your Applications folder).
  • Click the File menu and select "New Screen Recording".
  • You'll be asked to click on a selected area to record unless you wish to record the entire contents of your screen.
  • When you've finished just tap a small dot that appears in your menu bar.
  • You can then export the clip in your choice of format.

If you don't understand this then watch most of the steps take place in the appalling video below. (You can even share clips you create direct to YouTube using the Share icon).

Slow stuff down

All those animated effects on your Mac when you minimize windows or use Mission Control can be slowed down. Try it yourself, just hold down the Shift button while clicking the Amber button to the top left of any active window.

Sign documents

You've been able to sign documents using Preview on your Mac since OS X 10.7. Launch the app, open Preferences and select the Signatures pane. To create a signature click the + button and follow the simple instructions -- you'll be asked to write your name on a piece of paper and wave it in front of the camera while you system grabs a picture.

Window cleaning

Two features I use a lot

To close lots of windows quickly: Press Option + Command + W. All windows from the currently active app will be closed.

To hide apps fast: Press Option + Command + H and all open apps other than the one you are in will disappear. Or click the desktop while holding Command+Option and you'll hide all the app windows bar the Finder. You'll find many more shortcuts in System Preferences>Keyboard>Shortcuts.

App help

If you can't find an Apple application feature, try using the application Help menu. Just begin typing the name of the feature and you'll see options appear in the menu. Drag your mouse pointer over one of these and Help should show you where to get that function.


I'm not certain anyone really uses Dashboard, but you can make your own widgets by clipping from Web pages containing active information you need-- weather reports or scoreboards, for example.

  • Navigate to the page you want in Safari
  • Go to File menu and choose Open In Dashboard
  • Now select the area of the page you wish to make a widget from, click Add
  • The clipping will be in Dashboard, click the small I button (bottom right) to choose a frame. 

Mavericks Tips and Tricks

Google+? If you use social media and happen to be a Google+ user, why not join AppleHolic's Kool Aid Corner community and join the conversation as we pursue the spirit of the New Model Apple?

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