Monthly Archives: May 2015

Use Preview’s Scale to Fit feature

If you have a photo or other image file and want to print it so it fills a page, open it with Preview and look for the “Scale to Fit” option in the Print… dialog box. If the file opens with some other app when you double-click it close it, then Control-click on the file’s icon and choose “Open With” and then “Preview” from the contextual menu.

This is by far the simplest way to print an image that fills the page. No other app makes it so easy.

The grayed-out percentage (215% in this screenshot) shows you how much the image was reduced or enlarged in order to fill the page. FYI.

Preview Scale to Fit

How to hide (and show) Finder’s Favorites

It’s very handy to have some shortcuts in the left-hand pane (the “sidebar”) of your Finder windows. In the screenshot below you can see I have shortcuts, in the sidebar, for a bunch of folders. One click on a folder in the sidebar and it opens in the main window pane to the right, even though I don’t know where the folders really are.

Finder Favorites

Sometimes the list of Favorites disappears, and it looks like this:

hide-show favorites 2

You are probably guessing that the Favorites are still there, but hiding. Good guess!

Try moving the cursor until it is parallel with the word “Favorites.” See the tiny, grey-on-grey writing that says “Show?” Click it, and your stuff isn’t hidden anymore. Of course you can hide things again later.

How to check that your Time Machine backup is working

Time Machine disk

If you’re using Time Machine as your backup chances are you did a “set it and forget it” and haven’t looked at it since. It would be good to look at it. All you have to do is click on the Time Machine menu and see when the last backup was. It ought to be within the last hour, because Time Machine backs up every hour.

Time Machine menu

If your Time Machine menu doesn’t show that the latest backup was really recent, maybe you have a bad backup disk (or maybe it’s unplugged). Maybe you never set it up. If you need a new disk, Amazon has a bunch of them that run off of USB power and they are pretty inexpensive. Here’s a link:

USB powered hard drives at Amazon

You will be very, very happy that you have a recent backup if your Mac’s hard drive goes bad (Wayne, Paige, Randy, me). You can restore your stuff to a new drive, or a new Mac, very gracefully if you have a fresh backup. So be sure you have one.

Use Dictation instead of typing

Did you know your Mac can do dictation? Starting with OS 10.8, it can. Go to the Apple menu, then System Preferences, then Dictation & Speech. The directions are right there in the preference pane. See below.


You can dictate in just about any program that lets you type: Mail, Word, Pages, Safari (try searching Google by saying what you want to search for). If you’re a lousy typist the Dictation feature is your dream come true. Even if you’re a great typist Dictation is a real asset. Try try try it!

Hint: tap the shortcut key twice to make the Mac start listening. Tap it ONCE to make it stop, when you’re done talking.

This is a LOT like the iPhone’s dictation feature and it works just as well. Read about that on my other blog by clicking here.

Use Wireless Diagnostics to troubleshoot your network

Wireless Diagnostics

If your wireless network isn’t working the way it should Apple’s “Wireless Diagnostics” can help. It’s at the bottom of the WiFi menu… but only if you hold the Option key before you drop the menu. That is, press and hold the Option key, then click the WiFi menu, then slide down to “Open Wireless Diagnostics.” If you don’t hold the Option key first the Wireless Diagnostics menu item won’t be there.

My friend Tom used to say “It’s always the Option key! I should always try that first!” and he was right. That goes for you too.