Partially Attended

an irregularly updated blog by Ian Mulvany

Tips for switching from Windows to Mac

Mon Jul 14, 2008

1451 Words

I've written up the short answers to some questions that you might have if this is the first time to use a mac, read through this and if you followthe suggestions you should have the hang to the system pretty quickly.

If it turns out you don't like it, then at least you will have made an informeddecision!

-- Where is the right mouse button?

This is the biggest obvious first difference. There are four buttons on the bottom left of the keyboard that I am going to call 'fn', 'ctr', 'option' and 'mac' respctivley. If you need to press two at the same time then I am going to write it like "ctr + fn", for example.

The right button mouse action equvalent is hoilding down "ctr + mouse button".To get the mouse to do something you generally have to double click on the thing you are clicking on. One click is a selection, a double click is an action.

-- I double click on an application but I want to find the preferences, or othermenus, and they are not on the application window, how do I do that?

The very top bar of the mac changes with applicaiton. The menu bars are all along there. You will see a small blue apple in the very top left corner. The name of the application that is active is frst, and if you clioc on that you will get the option of the prefereces panel for the application. You canalso try "mac + ," (yes, that's the mac button and the comma button together,it tends to work for all mac applications, joy!).

The top right of the bar gives you information about how your system is doing, battery, internet connection, time etc. You can load this baby with all sorts of things.

-- Where are all of my files, where are the application?

The OS is based directly on a UNIX system, and it's file structure is the same.If you double click on the Macintosh HD in the top right you will see a filebrowser with some directories. This opens a the very botton level of the file structure of the machine. ALL of the applications on the macine are in the Applications folder (actually, there are a host of very loe level system appsthat are not in here, they are in System, best not to go in there!).This machine can host muliple accounts, and these are in the Users directory, double click on this now. You will see a list of account names, yours "John"has a little picture of a home, this is your home directory. Try clicking in the other accounts. Some folders are locked, others you can have a look around, but you can only create files and delete files from your own local folders. Let's have a look at those now. Amongst the default folders in youraccount the most important is Library. This stores all of your system preferecesfor all of your applications. That means two people on the same machine can usethe same app, but have totally different setups. Your girlfriend on her accountwill never see the porn sites that you were navigating too in the webbrowser, forexample! For the moment it is probably best to stay out of there.

-- What are all of those things on the botton?

That's the dock. It keeps a ttrack of open stuff, I don't use it much, but it can be good if you want to keep a few applications to hand that you use a lotrather than going into the applications folder each time. I'll show you how to customise that later.

-- Some useful quick key commands and window browsing tips.

"mac + s" = Save"mac + c" = copy"mac + x" = cutpaste is "opt + p + ,". No, kiddind, its "mac + v" of course! (the mac key predates that windows key on PC's).

Now I want you to open several windows of a document. Double click on any applications. Do it a few times. Make sure to open Safari (it looks like a compass) and when you have  hit "mac + n" a few times. Now you have lotsof applications open on your desktop. Clicking on the orange button will minimse the window and put it in the Dock. Clicking on the mini-windowin the dock will make it pop up. Cool, eh! OK, Now do that again, but keepthe shift key pressed at the smae time. It does it slowly, just so you can show off!. Now try the following key presses:

"mac + `" - cylces through open windows of a given applicaiton"mac + tab" - lets you pick between applications"mac + shift + tab" - same as above, but in the other direction"mac + 1" - unminises. If you have 3 windows of the same app minimsed, then you can do "mac + 3" or "mac + 2" to get the specific window that you want."mac + h" - hides an app. All of the windows of the app dissapear. They don't go to the dock. To get them back either click on the app icon in the dock, orcycle to the app using "mac + tab"."alt + mac + h" hides all windows apart from the one you are working on.

Ok, now for some really cool stuff. "fn + 11" - while you keep these two pressed all your windows head out to the edge of the screen so you can see your desktop."fn + 10" - exposes all of the windows of a particular app. click on the window you want makes it come to the front."fn + 9" - exposes all windows. "fn + 12" - opens up the dashboard. This is a applish thing with lots of widgets to choose from.

"mac + q" will quit an application. Using "mac + tab" and keeping mac pressedyou can quickly kill all of the applications that you have running."mac + delete" will delete a file"mac + w" will close the current window you have open.

-- How do I find something?

"mac + space" - opens the spotlight window. It is really good. Really really good. It means you really don't have to look for anything with pain any more.I have 250 GB of data indexed by spotlight, and it finds things instantly.

-- No, I'm sorry, this really isn't cool enough, show me something more.

Ok, Mac now has smart folders. I have included two on your desktop. You define thekind of file that should go in there. As soon as a file anywhere on your computer that matches this criteria gets created it gets listed in the smart folder.

-- kinds of free applications that you can get.

There are loads. My favourite is called Quicksilver. I have set it up torun for you on your account. Another is called Desctop Manager and I have also set that up for you.

The Desktop Manager provides as many virtual desktops as you wnat, I haveset it up for 4 for you here. A virtual destop is just some extra realestate.The four small squares in the bar on top of the screen show you your desktops in minature. The small squre bottom left of the screen is a pager, and it does the same job as the squares on top. I normally only use one or the other, you can set up how you want it in the preferences. Clickingon a different square to the one that you are in will bring you to that desktop.You can also use the key command "alt + mac + ->" (right arrow) or"alt + mac + <-" to cycle through the desktops.

Type "mac + enter". This is quicksilver. Actually, It's not working right now, but i can show it to you on my account where it works very well at the moment.

-- Hmm, someone sent me a Microsoft file, how do I open it on this totally bitchin machine,

Chances are that you already can. Try double clicking on it to see what happens.The application NeoOfficeJ does all of the same things that Microsift Officedoes, oh, but it's free. I have set it up on the machine and on the dock, it's the one with the sailing ship icon (?)

-- Gah, something really has gone wrong, and I need to force quit an application.

Go to the apple icon top left. One of the menu options is Force Quit, there you go.

-- Oprn iTunes, I dropped some cool tunes from my collection there for you.You can try burning them to a CD if you have one, it's easy, but I'll let you figure out how.


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