Make Leopard leap: Time-saving tips for OS X 10.5

More than 20 ways to get things done faster with Leopard

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Bind applications to a specific Space -- with caution. Binding an application to a Space ensures that it will always launch and create new windows in that Space. This is a very useful feature, but it can be overdone, particularly if you find Spaces easier to use on the fly rather than rigidly defining how each Space is to be used.

If you do use application binding, you'll probably find it a bit faster and easier to set up if you drag and drop application icons into the Spaces preferences pane (right onto the preview icon of the Space) rather than using the built-in list box.

Find windows and applications fast

Although Spaces is great for organizing, chances are you'll still need to look around for a specific window or application at times. Using the keyboard shortcuts for Spaces, as outlined above, is one way to do this. The various Exposé options, which were introduced in Tiger, can also help:

  • Press the F9 key to quickly shrink all your windows and arrange them neatly so you can see every window on your desktop (or in a Space) at a glance.
  • Press F10 to highlight all the windows of the current application.
  • Press F11 to move all windows out of the way and see the desktop.

In the Exposé and Spaces pane of System Preferences, you can customize these shortcuts and set up hot corners, which trigger the feature when the pointer is in the appropriate corner of the screen.

And don't forget about the good old application switcher: Press command-tab to quickly cycle through all running applications (even those with no open windows). There's also a lesser-known key combination that makes a great companion to the application switcher: Press command-˜ (command-tilde key) to cycle through all the open windows of a single application.

Get the most from Quick Look

One of the best productivity features introduced in Leopard is Quick Look, which allows you to preview the entire contents of a document, picture, movie or any other file directly from the Finder (by simply clicking the space bar) or Mail (using the Quick Look button displayed in any e-mail message that has attachments).

Quick Look

Using Quick Look.

Click to view larger image.

If you're quickly scanning e-mails or searching through folders in the Finder, Quick Look is a huge time saver, and you should get in the habit of using it regularly if you don't already. Here are a couple of tips to get even more out of Quick Look:

Use Quick Look with the Finder's Inspector (also known as the Get Info dialog) to get full details about a file and its metadata -- additional information such as file creation and modification dates, digital camera information for photos, duration for audio or video files, file size and Spotlight searchable comments. The Inspector can also be used to change permissions, lock a file against editing or even change the application that will be used to open the file by default.

You can access the Inspector directly from the Finder using command-I key combination when the file is selected or while viewing a Quick Look preview.

Quick Look Droplet

Quick Look Droplet at work.

Click to view larger image.

Use Quick Look from Open and Save dialogs. As detailed at Mac OS X Hints, Apple has created an AppleScript called Quick Look Droplet that lets you drag and drop any file from an Open or Save dialog onto its icon.

A Quick Look window will open right there, letting you see a full preview (as opposed to the standard thumbnail) without opening the file or exiting the dialog and returning to the Finder.

Be sure you have all the Quick Look plug-ins you need. Leopard relies on plug-ins for Quick Look (stored in /Library/QuickLook) to be able to preview different document types. Most Leopard applications include their plug-ins automatically, but for some document types that aren't application specific, including compressed files, you may need additional plug-ins.

Fortunately, two great lists of available plug-ins are available online at QuickLook Plugins List and QLPlugins.

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