12 Mac tips for Thanksgiving

I thought U.S. readers might enjoy a dozen useful Mac tips to while away a little time today between the turkey and the pie.

Apple, Mac, macOS, OS X, mac OS, MacBook, iMac, Finder, How to, tips

Adobe Analytics tells us AirPods and Apple notebooks are two of the top three electronics gifts this holiday season, so I thought a few Mac tips might come in useful as we get into holiday season.


I always mention Command-Space in all my hint collections. It’s the keyboard combination I use most on Macs (and iPads) to open search, where I can quickly find apps, content or even do quick sums.


Use this to quickly move through your active applications.

5 Siri shortcuts

There are many ways to make use of Siri; here are five to save you time. 

  • Open [App name].
  • Turn up/down brightness or volume.
  • Find any named file.
  • Open System Preferences [name of preference]
  • What’s my Mac’s serial number?

Use those icons

Almost every document/file you work with will show a small icon at the top of the window beside the file name.

This tiny icon acts as a form of alias – you can drag-and-drop that alias (and hence the docment/file) into different folders on your Mac, the Dock, or even drop it into other apps – use it to place an image in a document, for example.

How to save screengrabs in a different format

Your Mac saves screengrabs as PNG files by default – but I bet you use these to illustrate blog stories, send to people in messages and more and would prefer to save them as JPGs.

The great news is you can:

  • Ask Siri to open Terminal
  • Exactly as written, type: defaults writeapple.screencapture type JPG

Now you will save JPGs, not PNGs. Smaller files, easier to use.

Print in one swipe

Here’s how to print any document in one swipe, though first you need to set it up:

  • Open System Preferences>Printers & Scanners.
  • Look to the Printers list and select the printer you want to use.
  • Drag-&-drop the printer icon from the list to your Dock

The printer icon will now be in your Dock.

In future, all you need do to print any document you are in (or find in Spotlight) is drag-and-drop the document icon to the printer icon in the Dock.

Find those accents

If you need to type an accented character, such as è, just tap and hold the letter you want to add the accent to. After a short delay a menu that shows all available accented characters will appear, tap the one you want or type the corresponding number below the character to type it.

Use text clippings

As I wrote here, I make lots of use of text clippings. I think they are even better than keyboard shortcuts for pasting regularly used text into any app.

It’s very easy to make them – select the text you want to use and re-use, drag-&-drop the text to the Desktop and a text clipping will appear there containing the copy you want to use.

In future all you need to do is drag-&-drop that item from the Desktop into any app and your text will automatically be entered.

Where am I?

If you’ve used Spotlight to find a document it is possible you don’t know in which enclosing folder that document is situated. It’s easy to get this info – just Control-click the file name in the app title bar and you should see it there.

What the ¿

  • Shift + Option + ? = ¿
  • Option + Shift + k to type an Apple logo: 

Make forms great (?) again

Do you get annoyed because your Mac won’t accurately move between sections when you try to fill in forms? Go to System Preferences>Keyboard, and click the All controls radio button for Full Keyboard Access.

Save better

When you Save an item and want to save it into a specific folder, you don't need to hunt through the Finder to get to that folder -- just begin typing its name in the search field. The folder should be revealed, just tap to save the item into that folder. Simples.

Happy Thanksgiving, readers – here’s some more tips for persual.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.


Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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