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  1. #1

    Member Since
    Jun 17, 2011
    How to use Mac to full potential.
    Hi. I'm kind of new to mac, I can use it for all its simple features, but when it comes down to the more technical bits i'm stuck. Such as the more productive side of things and short cuts etc...

    I was wondering if there is any books that will help me get the best out of my machine or websites that could be recommended?

    Any help would be much appreciated, thanks Sam.

  2. #2

    harryb2448's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    iMac i5 2.7GHz, 16GB memory, OS 10.11
    G'day and welcome to the forums.

    What Mac and what OS? For example a copy of Leopard/Snow Leopard 'Missing Manual' series are great starters. Amazon usually has some versions pre-loved. Mac Switcher 101 from the Apple web site is also a good starter.
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  3. #3

    hw96Lgb's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 04, 2010
    Learn to use spaces, exposť or Divvy to make window switching fast and sexy.

    Download Albert for free (or Quicksilver) to make things go really faster. Alternatively, use Apptivate for shortcuts to specific apps. For example I use f6 for my browser.

    Flux is great to prevent eyestrain and insomnia in the evening and night. It basically changes the lighting of your screen so that it seems natural.

    Dan Rodney's List of Mac OS X Keyboard Shortcuts & Keystrokes This site has a lot of advice and some shortcuts.

    OnyX is a free maintenance tool that ensures your mac is always in top shape till it eventually dies of exhaustion and old age. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING, ONLY USE THE AUTOMATION FUNCTIONS OF ONYX.
    Those are completely safe and really useful.
    The most useful shortcut is ⌘+tab : it switches between apps.

    Shift+⌘+3 takes a screenshot of the whole screen
    Shift+⌘+4 takes a screenshot of part of the screen. Press space to capture windows easily.

    It's a good idea to have microsoft office because so many people use it, but take open office as a backup. It is a free and superior alternative. is a great free image editing program with a surprising number of options. GIMP is its more complicated older brother, but is still free. Paintbrush is a mac friendly MSPaint clone.

    Bodega or sites like Macupdate inform you about apps that you might need. Don't go in a shopping frenzy though. It always helps to ask about an app because purchasing it. Some apps are vaguely scammy like Clean my mac etc.

    Backup, backup, backup.
    Time machine is really easy to use. There's just no excuse these days to lose valuable data. You can configure it so that some non essential files and folders are ignored during backup, which then takes less space.

    An important thing to realize is that apps that come bundled with your machine such as mail have a lot of hidden functions. Learn to use each app thoroughly before wasting money on third party stuff.

    Ukelele : great simple GUI for customizing your keyboard layout. Invaluable if you are stuck with one keyboard for multiple languages.

    Transmission is generally considered to be the best BitTorrent client for mac.

    Keka is one of the best utilities to archive (compress, zip etc.) your files. It's free.

    Isolator helps you black out the screen behind an app to concentrate with a simple shortcut.

    MDRP seems to be the best and cheapest DVD ripper (however it is against rules to discuss this further on this forum)

    MPlayerX is in my opinion better than VLC.

    Moxier wallet helps you store sensitive data for free.

    1Password is costly but an excellent app. See the link for details.

     *Download Mac Freeware - All Apps For free stuff.

    Wineskin Winery can help you play your favorite games on Mac. Even oldies.

    Download Secrets for Mac - Customize many hidden or incomplete Mac OS X settings. for various useful options not normally available.

    Download Ravissant for Mac - Customize the appearance of your Mac OS X Login screen. To customize your login screen.

    Sizzling keys makes browsing your iTunes library that much easier and smoother.
    The Earth is the cradle of the mind, but one cannot live in a cradle forever.
    -Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Father of Modern Rocketry

  4. #4

    hw96Lgb's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 04, 2010
    If you need anything else just ask.
    The Earth is the cradle of the mind, but one cannot live in a cradle forever.
    -Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Father of Modern Rocketry

  5. #5

    Member Since
    Feb 01, 2011
    Wow, thanks, Virgeist! There was so much in that one post that I'll be trying out apps for days

    @ the OP, one thing I'd like to add is... I don't know what the general opinion here is on the book, but I really enjoyed Mac OS X Snow Leopard - The Missing Manual, by David Pogue. Mac OS X Snow Leopard: The Missing Manual (Missing Manuals) (9780596153281): David Pogue: Books

    There's so many online sources, so I guess things like this usually seem unnecessary, but I enjoy having a physical reference now and again.

  6. #6

    Slydude's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 15, 2009
    North Louisiana, USA
    2.8 GHz MacBook Pro 10.10.2, 8 GB mem, iPhone 6+
    @OP May I suggest checking out About This Particular Macintosh (click the link in my sig). I try to write for them regularly. You'll find commentary, reviews How To columns etc. Over the years the How To columns (written by myself and others) have covered everything from basic and not so basic Photoshop to digitizing LPs, Using Automator, etc.
    Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

    "Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling

  7. #7

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    27" iMac i5, 3.2 GHz, iPad 3, iPhone 5c, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, El Capitan
    Let's get this thread moved to the Switcher forum where it belongs. It should not be in the "Lounge". Thanks.

  8. #8

    Member Since
    Mar 11, 2011
    How to use Mac to full potential?

    Install Windows on it...

    ...sorry, I kid, I kid. I couldn't resist

  9. #9

    Member Since
    Apr 18, 2011
    Well I don't really read book on electronics anymore; the best way to find out new information, programs, shortcuts etc. is to google them, go to forums, and read up on technology sites.

    There are a plethora of guides out there for the new Mac user, use those. After a while you'll be finding things you never new existed. Most of the time we don't know what we want until we see it.

    But yea to help you out a bit, Chrome/Firefox, Caffeine, Expose/Spaces (built in), learn as many keyboard commands as you can, Windowblinds, TotalFinder, MenuMeters, FlashFrozen. Those are some key ones that I don't think I could live without.

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