Quick Tutorial

Find Out About Your Mac

If, for any reason, you need to know some sort of information about your Mac (what version of macOS it’s running, how much memory it has, its serial number, or processor type, etc.), here’s how you find it: Go to the Apple menu (which looks like a ) at the top left corner of the screen and click About This Mac. A window will pop up displaying everything you need to know. Right below macOS note that it displays the version number: 10.6 corresponds to Snow Leopard, 10.7 is Lion, 10.8 is Mountain Lion, and the latest version is OS X 10.9 Mavericks. This leads us to the next tip …

Power Button

If your Mac is running 10.9 or later (see Find Out About Your Mac, above), your computer’s power button has changed habits slightly. Now, much like the Sleep/Wake button on an iPad or iPhone, pressing the power button on a Mac causes the display to go to sleep while allowing the rest of the computer to continue functioning in the background. Before, pressing the power button would bring up a box with options to RestartSleep, or Shut Down. You can still get that box to pop up – just hold the button for a moment longer. Take care not to hold it too long, however, because after a few seconds, your computer will shut down instantly, which isn’t good for it. Shut down properly from either the box or the Apple menu at the top left.


Write Words Without Word

If you’ve got a computer, chances are you need to edit somebody’s Word document and sent it back to them. Unlike a PC, a Mac comes with software that can perform basic operations like this. Fire up TextEdit (find it with Spotlight Search in the top right; otherwise, it’s in your /Applications folder). Choose File > Open and find the Word document in question. Click Open and it’ll appear, ready for editing. In TextEdit, you can produce a .rtf file that Word can read. If a PDF is fine, choose File > Export as PDF …. That’s it! TextEdit is great for many things, but if you need more functionality (and the ability to export as a PDF or a Word document), try Pages. It’s just $20 (much less expensive than Word) and handles photos and snazzy layouts much better than Word ever has. Pages, available from the Mac App Store, is less cluttered and easier to use.


What Does That Word Mean?

Here’s a cool tip – but you must have a trackpad or Magic Mouse to make use of it. Move your pointer to a word (try a word in your email, for example). Tap once with three fingers, and the word will become yellow. A moment later, you’ll see the dictionary definition, some thesaurus entries, and Wikipedia’s opinion on that word pop up. Click any one of these for more detail. And to dismiss the popup bubble, just click anywhere else.

If this tip isn’t working for you, it’s because your computer doesn’t have multitouch gestures enabled or is running an older version of macOS. Go to the  menu at the top left, and choose System Preferences. In the second row, click Trackpad. At the top of the window, if your computer is running macOS Lion or newer, will be a tab labelled Point & Click, with Look Up as one of four options below. Check off the box beside Look Up, and you should also see a demonstration of what I just wrote in the first paragraph. If you don’t see what I’m talking about, you either don’t have a trackpad or Magic Mouse, or your operating system doesn’t support this feature.



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