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99 Mac Secrets (Part 2) : Customizing, Best menu bar add-ons, Quick Look secrets

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Customizing

27.  Change folder icons

You can change almost any icon easily. Select the folder or file you want to change and hit Cmd+I to open the Get Info panel. Select the new icon or image you’ve chosen for the folder and copy it with Cmd+C. Click the folder icon in the top-left of the Get Info panel so that the icon is surrounded by a blue glow, then hit Cmd+V to paste the icon.

Change folder icons

28.  Customize Dock icons

There are some great drawer icons available online at http://www.geocities.jp/chy065that you can drop into your Stacks folder. They will appear at the front of the stacks, and look like drawers containing your files. It’s a great way to customize your Dock while keeping things tidy.

29.  Change viewing options in Finder

Finder doesn’t always display files in exactly the way we want. In fact, sometimes it looks absolutely awful. Thankfully you can change that easily with a few clicks. Open Finder and hit Cmd+J to see the options – you can change how icons are arranged or sorted, alter their size, and even change the size and location of the text. If you wish you can also customize the background with a color or photo of your choosing.

30.  Change OS X with Lion Designer

Lion Designer is a brilliant little application that lets you alter areas of Mountain Lion that otherwise wouldn’t be accessible. For example, the app offers the ability to change the wallpaper seen on the login screen, alter the background of folders in Launchpad and even choose a different FaceTime ringtone. The app is free to download, and well worth a look if you want to change the feel of your Mac.

31.  Open file types with certain apps

If you always like to open JPEGs with Pixelmator, or want Word documents to open with Pages, you can change the setting for all files of the same type with just a couple of clicks. Select a file with the extension you want and hit the Cmd+I shortcut to open the Get Info panel. In the Open With section you can choose the app you want to use from the drop-down menu, then check the box to ensure this file type is always opened with that app.

If you always like to open JPEGs with Pixelmator, or want Word documents to open with Pages, you can change the setting for all files of the same type with just a couple of clicks.

Best menu bar add-ons

32.  BetterTouchTool

This app lets you add more gestures to your Magic Mouse or track-pad. Whether you want to swipe with four fingers or add a tap gesture for opening Notification Center on a Magic Mouse, this app can help. Omissible if you want more from your mouse.

BetterTouchTool

33.  iStat Menus

iStat Menus offers an incredible amount of information about your Mac in one place. You can add sections for CPU, memory and network, as well as calendar, moon phases and a whole lot more.

34.  Fantastical

If you just want quick access to your calendar from anywhere on your Mac, Fantastical is your best choice. You can use it anywhere, but more importantly it will analyse and understand written sentences and use them to create events. If you use Calendar a lot, this is an app not to miss out on.

Fantastical

35.  FuzzyClock

For those of us that don’t work in digital, FuzzyClock simplifies time-telling. Rather than displaying the time as 17:31, FuzzyClock will simply show ‘half past five’ in the menu bar.

36.  DayOne

If your new year’s resolution was to keep a regular diary, you might have already broken it. Whether you have or not, you might want to try DayOne, a diary app that reminds you to add an entry every day. You can add your entry quickly and easily from the menu bar, too, without leaving the app you’re using.

DayOne

37.  Caffeine

If you’re watching a video or slideshow, your Mac might automatically fall asleep, especially if you’ve set energy saving settings to save power. Caffeine will stop that happening – one click and the app stops your machine going into screensaver mode or falling asleep. It’s as simple as that!

38.  Thyme

Sometimes you just need a quick timer, and if you don’t want to go searching for the function on your watch, or the app on your iPhone, this incredibly simple app will help. With a single click you can start the counter, so you won’t burn your dinner, or work for too long again.

39.  Bartender

Now that you’ve got a menu bar brimming full of useful add-ons, it’s time to tidy them up. Bartender is an icon that sits in your Dock and stores as many extra menu bar icons as you like. Click it to access hidden icons, or leave it to ensure that the apps don’t take up space and look cluttered.

Bartender is an icon that sits in your Dock and stores as many extra menu bar icons as you like.

Quick Look secrets

40.  Share from Quick Look

In Mountain Lion you can share files that you’re viewing in Quick Look using the Sharing Sheets you’ll find throughout OS X. Click the Sharing button to access this option.

41.  View photo grid

Select a number of photos and tap the Spacebar to open them with Quick Look. Hit the grid icon in the top left to view them all.

42.  Play songs in the background

You can use Quick Look to play audio tracks while working in other apps and without opening iTunes. The controls are basic but work well enough.

43.  View video chapters

If you open a movie file in Quick Look, you’ll be able to handily flick between chapters using the thumbnails on the left-hand side of the app’s window.

44.  Use Quick Look in Messages

If you’re using Messages, you don’t need to download an image to view it in full. Simply click the photo to highlight it, then hit the Spacebar to preview it in Quick Look.

If you’re using Messages, you don’t need to download an image to view it in full

If you’re using Messages, you don’t need to download an image to view it in full

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