Monthly Archives: February 2015

Check your Mac laptop’s battery condition

Click on the battery status icon in the menubar and you see something like this:

Battery without option

Hold the Option key down before clicking on the battery status icon and you get this:

Battery with option

You can select “Condition: Normal” (or whatever it says there for you) and learn more about what “Condition” really means.

Batteries can only be recharged so many times. Someday yours will not hold the same amount of energy that it used to. This Option key technique will help you stay informed.

Add text labels to the toolbars so you know what the buttons are for

Here’s what the toolbar (at the top of the window) looks like for most people when they open up a Finder window. Lots of buttons.

No toolbar labels

Here’s how it can look (lots of buttons, with text underneath them):

ommm_toolbarlabels_labelThis is better twice. First, it’s better because the buttons are labeled, which means now you have some idea of what the buttons do, which means you might actually use them. Second, even if you were already using the buttons, now the targets are bigger, because you can click on the label instead of the button. Bigger target = easier to click.

You turn on the labels by holding the Control key and clicking in a blank space in the toolbar. You’ll see this menu:


Choose “Icon and Text” and you’re all done. Experiment with the other options if you’d like.

Bonus: this works for Mail and Preview too.

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Easy way to show your Library folder in Yosemite

Used to be, your Home folder showed folders labeled Documents, Pictures, Movies, Music, Desktop, Public, and Library. The Library is full of very important stuff that shouldn’t be messed with unless you know what you’re doing, so starting in Mac OS 10.7 (Lion) Apple hid it from us. There are various ways to make it visible, but none as simple as this:

1. Click on the Desktop to switch to the Finder, the open up your Home folder (⌘-Shift-H will do it)

2. Go to the View menu and choose Show View Options (or ⌘-J, as my friend Dave always reminds me)

3. Check the box at the very bottom and “Show Library Folder.” That’s all there is to it. See below.

Show View Options

This only works if you’re looking at the contents of the Home folder (Step 1 above) when you do View/Show View Options. It also only works in Yosemite. If you want to show the Library folder in 10.7, 10.8, or 10.9, on an as-needed basis, try holding the Option key and going to the Go menu. You’ll see “Library” there.


As easy as 1, 2, 3.

Actually, it’s easy as 1, 2, 3, 4. And what is it that’s so easy? Switching between the Finder’s four views, that’s what. Open a Finder window and try: all it takes is ⌘-1, ⌘-2, ⌘-3, and ⌘-4.

Below: one window, four ways. (Click a thumbnail to start the slide show.)  The View is a window-by-window setting, so if you want to see icons in one window, and a list view in another, go right ahead. Just do it from the keyboard instead of using the mouse. It’s a lot faster.


How to be faster with Safari, Firefox, and Chrome

1. Before you type a URL into Safari, Firefox, or Chrome you have to click in the right place, right? Wrong. You can jump to the address bar by pressing ⌘-L on your keyboard, regardless of where your cursor is when you press it. Whatever is in the address bar will become highlighted, and you can type right over it. No need to press Delete to wipe out what’s there– just type right over it.

2. Now that you’re typing a URL, watch the address bar as it may figure out what you’re typing, and fill in the rest for you. When you see the address spelled out for you just hit Return (or Enter) on the keyboard. You don’t have to type all the way to the end. Websites you go to often will only require a couple of letters from you. For example, when I type “o” in Safari, Firefox, or Chrome I’ll see “” as a suggestion. After only one letter! All I have to do from there is press Return or Enter.

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