30 Fantastic Geeky Tricks to Get The Most From Your Mac

If you’re one of those Mac users that loves to dig in and play with hidden features and settings, this post is for you.

Below you’ll find 30 tips and tricks to help both seasoned and beginner Mac users to get the most out of their OS X experience. We’ll cover everything from obscure Terminal commands to keyboard shortcuts that every Mac user should know and use. Let’s get started!

Dock Tricks

Recent Items Stack

Stacks are quite the handy addition to your Mac’s dock and the good people at Mac OS X Hints figured out a way to make them even more useful by creating a stack that automatically contains your most recent applications.

These can of course be found under the Apple menu as well but it’s much more convenient to have them right in the dock.


Recent Items Stack

To accomplish this feat, simply copy and paste the line below into Terminal.

defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-others -array-add '{ "tile-data" = { "list-type" = 1; }; "tile-type" = "recents-tile"; }'

Once you’ve completed that command, type “killall Dock” to relaunch your dock with the new stack.

Stacks List View

Use the snippet below in Terminal to activate a really nice looking list view in stacks complete with icons and a scroll bar.

defaults write com.apple.dock use-new-list-stack -bool YES

As with the previous example, use “killall Dock” to make the change take effect.


Stacks List View

Resizing Your Dock

If you click and drag the little divider bar in your dock, you can resize the entire dock without going to System Preferences. Hold down option to make proportional changes.


Resizing Your Dock

Force Magnify Dock

If you’re like me and have dock magnification permanently turned off, you can temporarily activate it by holding down ⌃⇧ while hovering over the dock.


Force Magnify Dock

Desktop & Finder

Show Hidden Files

One of the most well known and widely used terminal commands. Use the snippet below to make hidden files visible in the Finder.

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles YES

Set it back to “NO” to re-hide the files.


There's Nothing You Can See That Can't Be Seen

Hide Your Desktop Debris

If you find yourself constantly embarrassed or distracted by your messy desktop habits, download Camouflage, a free app that quickly hides everything on your desktop.


Hide Your Desktop Debris

Choose a New Library

There are several applications in OS X that allow you to choose or create a different library on startup. Simply hold down the option key when you click on an app in the dock to see a window similar to the one below.


Choose a New Library

Sync Application Libraries Across Macs

Use the previous tip to create a new library for an application and place that library in your Dropbox folder. Then choose this library with the same application on any other Macs that you own and all the application data will remain synced between the two Macs!

This trick is completely free, just be sure to watch the size of the libraries you are syncing as it’s really easy to eat up all your Dropbox space.

Finder Window Shortcuts

It’s easy to miss that you can actually add item shortcuts to the top of your Finder windows. Simply drag the application into the space to the left of the Spotlight field.


Finder Window Shortcuts

Pimp Your Desktop

You may have caught a glimpse of my desktop in one of the images above and wondered how I could display weather, time and date as a part of my background. Using GeekTool you can add all sorts of functionality to your desktop. It’s everything Dashboard should’ve been.


Pimp Your Desktop

Check out our recent GeekTool tutorial to get started.

If it’s all a bit too technical for you, check out Yahoo Widgets instead. They’re just like Dashboard widgets only you have the option to display them right on your desktop.

Stationery Pad

If you have files that you often use as templates but want to prevent accidental replacement of the original file, you can use the “stationery pad” option. Enabling this on a specific file makes it so that when you try to open that file, the Finder creates a duplicate and opens that instead.



To find this option, get info on a file with ⌘+I and click the “Stationery pad” checkbox under the labels in the “General” section.

Quick Look Zoom

While Quick Look is launched, hold down the option key to turn your cursor into a magnifying glass. Then click to zoom in. Hold shift and option to zoom out.


Quick Look Zoom


Screensaver Wallpaper

Have you ever wanted to set a screensaver as your desktop background? Well that’s a horrible idea for more reasons than I care to list. However, it turns out that it’s perfectly possible. Just use the following command in Terminal:

/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.framework/Resources/ScreenSaverEngine.app/Contents/MacOS/ScreenSaverEngine -background

When you’ve had enough fun, hit Control+C to return things back to normal.


Screensaver Wallpaper

Twitter Feed Screensaver

When you’re looking at your Twitter timeline in Safari, click on the RSS icon in the URL bar to see the timeline as an RSS feed. You may need to add the login to Keychain for it to work properly.

Then copy and paste that feed into your RSS reader screensaver in System Preferences and voila! A free, continually updating tweet-filled screensaver.


Twitter Screensaver

Debugging and Troubleshooting

Enable Safari Inspector

The Safari Inspector is an impressive suite of development tools for examining and debugging web pages. It’s hidden by default but you can use the following command in Terminal to enable it:

defaults write com.apple.Safari WebKitDeveloperExtras -bool true


Enable Safari Inspector

When All Else Fails, Repair Permissions

Sometimes your Mac will simply refuse to do something that seems completely routine and normal. This can be anything from installing and running a new application to duplicating files in the Finder.

When you’ve tried everything else and are at your wit’s end as to how to solve the problem, try opening up Disk Utility (in the Utilities folder) and repairing your disk permissions.

You’d be surprised at just how many mysterious problems can be solved with this single step!


Repairing Permissions


Automatic Time Zone

It used to be the case that you had to set your time zone manually in OS X. However, with Snow Leopard you can choose to have your Mac guess your time zone by attempting to grab your current location.


Automatic Time Zone

You can also use a free app called Jet Lag that runs in the background and constantly makes sure that your computer is set to the proper timezone.

Giant Cursor

If Grandma has been having trouble following that tiny cursor around on the screen, open up the Mouse & Trackpad section under Universal Access in System Preferences and crank up that sucker’s size.

This is also an awesome trick to play on any friends not savvy enough to know how to turn it off.


Giant Cursor

Better Screen Sharing

The screen sharing utility has a number of hidden features that beef up that really beef up the experience. This includes a number of options for adjusting quality and allowed input on each side of the screen share.

To turn on these options, throw the following code into terminal:

defaults write com.apple.ScreenSharing \
'NSToolbar Configuration ControlToolbar' -dict-add 'TB Item Identifiers' \


Better Screen Sharing

To read more about what all the added buttons will do, check out MacWorld’s explanation.

Syncing Google Calendar and iCal

Now that iCal has CalDAV support, syncing your iCal calendars with Google Calendar is as simple as typing in your Google account info under “accounts” in the iCal preferences window.


Syncing Google Calendar and iCal

Safari Undo

In Safari 5 there are several commands that can be undone with a quick ⌘+Z beyond typing mistakes. For instance, if you get carried away while closing tabs and accidentally close one that you wanted to keep open, just undo it! Nifty no?

Kill Dashboard

Many users have abandoned OS X’s dashboard functionality either completely or in favor of alternatives like GeekTool. If you never want to see your dashboard again, you can kill it completely with the following Terminal command.

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES

To bring it back, change the “YES” to “NO”.

Scheduling Time Machine

Time Machine is an excellent utility that makes backing up all the data on your Mac extremely easy. However, there’s so much emphasis on making this task easy that there are very few customizable options. Most notably, you can’t control how often Time Machine runs an automated backup.

Fortunately, there are two free applications that remedy this problem. Time Machine Editor and TimeMachineScheduler are both great solutions for customizing your backup intervals.


Scheduling Time Machine

Tricks for New Mac Geeks

Force Quitting an Application

This is one of the most vital tricks in the whole list and is well known by most Mac users. If an application freezes on you, hit ⌘⌥+esc (command + option + escape) to bring up the Force Quit menu.

Just select the troublesome application and kill it to fix the freeze (all unsaved data will be lost). Right clicking on most frozen applications in the dock will give you the same option.


Force Quit

Hide Others

This shortcut is known by almost everyone but more than likely ignored by most. I’ve recently started using it and now find it to be an integral part of my OS X experience.

I always have well over ten applications open at once, each with their own various windows scattered throughout my spaces. This can cause some serious screen clutter that takes forever to sort through and manage.

Hitting ⌘⌥+H to hide everything but the current application is a quick and easy way to start over and give yourself some breathing room. I find myself frequently clicking on the Finder in the dock before performing this action so that all open applications become hidden.

Blank Screen in a Hurry

For those college students out there who like to check out the scores on ESPN.com during lectures, there’s a shortcut that will help you hide your obvious inattention as the professor walks by.

Hit ⌃⇧+eject to immediately dim your screen to zero brightness. This will effectively put your display to sleep so that inquiring eyes find only darkness. Be careful though, moving your mouse or hitting any key will bring it all right back up.

Safari Extensions

The most recent iteration of Safari has a new extension system similar to that of Firefox. To install an extension, simply download the file and double click it.

To find some excellent extensions, check out 30 Incredible Safari Extensions Available Now.


Force Quit

Custom Application Shortcuts

OS X allows you to create a custom keyboard shortcut for any menu item in just about every application. To access and create these, check out Snow Leopard’s new and improved keyboard shortcut manager in System Preferences.


Assigning Custom Shortcuts

I find the “Merge All Windows” menu command in Safari to be particularly useful so above I assigned it a keyboard equivalent.

Paste and Match Style

This is another shortcut that’s clearly listed in OS X but is likely missed by many users. To paste text that matches the destination formatting into any of Apple’s applications (doesn’t work in most third party apps) , use ⌘⇧⌥+V.

I use this command every single day and really wish that Adobe would create an equivalent in Photoshop and Illustrator!

Mail Threads

Gmail automatically organizes all your incoming mail into conversations so that when you receive a reply, it’s easy to scroll through and see the entire conversation.

Apple Mail actually has a similar feature that groups email messages into threads. Each thread is a collapsible collection of messages from a single back and forth conversation.


Mail Threads

To activate message threading, click on “View” in Mail and select “Organize by Thread.”

Tell Us Your Favorites

Interested in more hidden Mac tips? Check out our article featuring 30+ Super Secret OS X Features and Shortcuts!

I hope at least a few of the tips and tricks above showed you something that you had never seen before. Leave a comment below and tell us which tip you found the most helpful.

If you’re such an expert that none of the tricks above surprised you, help us out by sharing your vast knowledge and leaving a few of your own favorite OS X tricks. Bonus points to anyone who can come up with something I’ve never seen!


Add Yours
  • Shift pressed + Minimize window :) Try it if you don’t know what it does

    • You can do that shift trick with most things if you want it to be slow-motion. For example:
      * Spaces
      * Dashboard
      * Expose


      • really i did not find anything cool in this website

    • What is this useful for? Serious question.

      • It was made and still used for screen capturing. When you record a screen cast you get a smooth transition this way (then you can accelerate).

    • If you have terminal open while you do the slow mo minimizing, type killall dock and the window you were minimizing will be distorted, but you can still click on things! It’s awesome

    • BRILLIANT! :-)

  • you dont have to use terminal for enabling Safari Inspector

  • First, in the terminal

    defaults write com.apple.screencapture type PNG

    to set PNG as your default file format when using screencapture feature.

    then, use

    killall SystemUIServer

    to make the change take effect.

    From now on, when takin’ a screenshot (⌘+Shift+3), you won’t get that annoying TIFF file anymore.

    • I never got “that annoying TIFF file”, always got PNG’s :P

      • pngs are far better, IMO

    • I downloaded a free app called changecapture which lets you change the capture format on a whim. I have mine set to jpg, which I find the most useful.

      • You can just type JPEG instead of PNG… in the first phrase of RASPO. ;)

  • Great tips, love my new app list :-)

  • About that Dropbox sync.
    Instead of dropping the physical folder inside your dropbox folder, it would be a wiser idea to a symLink to your “Library” folder.

    Symlink a folder (e.g. the Library folder)
    $ ln -s /path/to/desired-folder ~/Dropbox/desired-folder

    symlink a file
    $ ln -s /path/to/desired-file ~/Dropbox/desired-file

    Personally, I would still suggest doing a symbolic link for specific folders. The Library folder is huge and you don’t need to sync everything.

  • Stacks List View didn’t work for me….

    • Just right click on the folder and choose View Content as List

  • As a new Mac user, I find this post awesome. Thanks for the great writeup.

  • cmd + f1 to swap Screen1 and Screen2 (works only with 2 active Monitors)

    • I’ll try this when I get home, awesome tip!

    • To further qualify this post, Cmd-F1 switches your computer in and out of mirrored display mode. This changes the display of the second monitor, but doesn’t change the primary display, ie it doesn’t swap the two displays.

      I had hoped I could use this effectively with my Cintiq tablet/monitor, but the pen interface doesn’t acknowledge the switch. I can see the main monitor display, but I can’t interact with it with the pen, as the pen and monitor display are dealt with completely separately. I guess I’d have to recalibrate every time I switch.

      FYI: Control-F1 opens the Displays panel from Systems Preferences

  • Good stuff. For application shortcuts, I use Spark, a great little app. More customisable than mac os x’s shortcut manager imo

  • some of the geektool scripts I have currently in use, some personal, some from other sources…

    Current time:
    date +”%I.%M%p” | tr ‘[:upper:]’ ‘[:lower:]’

    Current date:
    date +”%A, %B %d, %Y”

    Current weather (substitue your own location in place of “USVA0862”):
    curl –silent “http://weather.yahooapis.com/forecastrss?p=USVA0862&u=f” | grep -E ‘(Current Conditions:\\|F<BR)' | sed -e 's/Current Conditions://' -e 's///’ -e ‘s///’ -e ‘s///’ -e ‘s///’ -e ‘s///’ -e ‘s///’ -e ‘s/ F/\º F/’

    Upcoming 2 days’ weather (substitue your own location in place of “USVA0862”):
    curl –silent “http://weather.yahooapis.com/forecastrss?p=USVA0862&u=f” | grep -E ‘(Forecast:\\|Low:)’ | sed -e ‘s/Current Conditions://’ -e ‘s// /’ -e ‘s/
    //’ -e ‘s///’ -e ‘s///’ -e ‘s/ -/:/’

    Current hard-drive free space:
    #! /bin/bash
    diskutil info / | grep “Free Space” | awk {‘print $4 “gb”‘}
    exit 0

    Current CPU usage:
    top -l 1 | awk ‘/CPU usage/ {print “CPU: ” $3}’

    Current IP address (as seen externally, not local):
    echo External: `curl -s http://checkip.dyndns.org/ | sed ‘s/[a-zA-Z/ :]//g’`

    Be sure to set your time between updates to reasonable delays… for instance, no need to check the weather, date or IP every minute, and 10 seconds to several minutes on most things is plenty. While not as fancy pretty as some other tools, it does get the job done with lower system utilization.

    Substituting your location in weather is easy, but getting the correct ID is a bit of a pain. Currently you can find the alphanumeric code by extracting it from the URL for the “records and averages” link after doing a weather search for your zip code at yahoo (it’ll be something like “US” followed by your state abbreviation and a few digits). There’s probably another way that’s more intuitive… but yahoo is a mess and I can’t remember what that way might be.

    • Ugh… the weather scripts are screwed up because the page is rendering the HTML rather than displaying the code. It’s screwing up backslashes and tags, which pretty much kills the ability to share those here.

      If anyone cares, I can post those scripts somewhere online where you can actually see them properly.

      • I created a guide esspecially for you as the above code is outdated.

        Download the PDF here: http://cl.ly/dbee210334e6e4e67899

        Feel free to share! :)

      • Oops! Aorry, missread your comment… thought you needed help.
        Oh well, other should find it usefull.

  • Great idea for a post!!!

  • I was wondering how you can set the stacks list view back to default?

    • defaults write com.apple.dock use-new-list-stack -bool NO

      killall Dock

      • or

        defaults delete com.apple.dock use-new-list-stack
        killall Dock

        which will remove the customized preference completely and leave dock to do whatever it does by default if you haven’t set that.

  • Hold Command and click an item in your dock, stack or spotlight to open in Finder.

    • Good to know!

    • Nice one!

    • Well done sir!

    • most people who use tabs in safari know that command-clicking a link opens it in a new tab. less well known is that you can hold command while picking context menu items (“search google”, etc.) to open those in new tabs too.

  • The screen sharing tips are very outdated and only worked with a earlier versions of 10.5.

    • Bummer! Did they take away those extra options!?

      • They were never intended to be options for Screen Sharing, they’re actually features of Apple Remote Desktop.

        Short answer: yes.

    • Glad to see they researched this article so thoroughly.

  • That Better Screen Share terminal command is doing nothing for me. Anyone else have that problem?

    • Those features were removed from ScreenSharing with the 10.5.1 update and never put back in. They’re not available in 10.6.x either.

  • What a great list! Didn’t know that you’ve could sync Google Calendar with ical that easy! =)

  • What’s a terminal and what button is ^ and the up arrow??

    • ^ is the shift button – terminal is in your applications > utilities folder

      • ⌃ is the ctrl key.
        shift key is ⇧.

      • Actually the up arrow is the shift button. ^ is the control key.

  • You don’t need Quick Look,. Hold down the Control key and use the roller ball – up to zoom in and down to zoom out. Move the curser to any monitor edge and the screen will move to that portion of the page.

  • I’m surprised there was no mention of how to include Apple Dashboard Widgets on your desktop, always visible. In Terminal:

    defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode YES
    killall Dock

    Then, invoke your Dashboard, click and hold on a widget, and click the dashboard key on your keyboard again. Viola. Widgets that stay on your desktop.

    • how do you make it so the dashboard widget is behind your open windows?

      • You don’t. Sorry.

  • And to clarify, the ^ is the Option key, the upward-facing arrow is the Shift key. So ⌃⇧+P would be hold down Shift+Option+P.

    • No, it’s been correctly stated above it’s the Control key.

      • *grin* I know where all the confusion is coming from – on certain Macs out of the box the Option and Control keys were inverted in the setup… we discovered this at work one day: “hold option, no I mean the other option key”…

  • When you search for a file using Spotlight, hold down Command and Click the file to open it in a finder window – really handy when you need to need to do anything other than open the file!

  • Just like to point out that the “BETTER SCREEN SHARING” tip ONLY WORKS IN 10.5.
    great post BTW

  • Im having sooo much fun with this post!!! thanks!!!!

  • nice tips, thanks :)

    one addition to Stacks Lists, you can increase/decrease size with cmd+ or cmd- when list is opened

  • Awesome!

  • great post!
    unfortunately the stacks list view is not working for me.
    could this be tied to a specific osx version?
    i’m using osx 10.5.8

  • Wow, cool geeky tricks. Thanks for sharing

  • What I want to know is how you got a space between the items on your dock. It can be seen in the dock tricks screenshots between Ligthtroom and iCal. Thanks!

    • First open up your Terminal

      Execute command line:

      defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-apps -array-add ‘{“tile-type”=”spacer-tile”;}’

      Repeat as many times as you want for creating several spacers

      Restart your Dock with:

      killall Dock

      You can drag around the spacers. And you can also drag it out of your Dock to remove it

      • Thanks! I always think it’s scary when I have to use the Terminal, but I double checked this and it’s safe, just in case other terminal newbies like me are wondering.

      • Is this 10.5 only? It didn’t add a space for me. Note, I had to escape the semicolon to get the command as-above to work without complaining about a missing right curly brace (I use tcsh).


  • Great tips! I like the screensaver background trick – perfect for wasting time when I’m supposed to be working.

  • Really useful tips and resources. I really like the camouflage application, very handy for keeping the desktop tidy when im doing screencast recordings

  • Get rid of multiple finder windows quickly. Hold the option key while clicking the close button on any finder window to close all windows. Works across all screens, spaces and max/min status.

    • You win! That’s one that I should’ve known about but didn’t!

    • alternatively cmd-option-w (same rule, cmd-w is “close this window”).

      i remember a mac tips book saying some guru called “option” the “mo-betta” key. :)

      option generally adds some other useful mode to an existing command–it might skip a confirmation dialog (empty trash), invert sense (close all other tabs), copy instead of move (dragging a file), etc. the menus update live to reflect this–try holding a menu open and pressing and releasing option to see what changes.

      (note another bit of old-school trivia–a “…” at the end of a menu command is *supposed to* indicate that it brings up a dialog box, so if it has a “…” without option, but none with, that probably means option removes the need to confirm the operation (e.g. empty trash). of course not everyone reads the HIG, so this isn’t always reliable….)

  • Holding the option key while double clicking an application will bring up “pre launch options”. Many applications have these secret menus, some more useful then others.

    for example Firefox allows you to boot into a “safe mode” and discard previous tab sessions prior to launching. Some games allow you skip intro screens, or set display settings. ect, ect

    • BTW i dont think this is actually an OS feature, i think its an apple suggested UI practice…meaning apple suggests that if a programmer has a need for such a feature that this is how they should implement it for a consistent user experience.

      Short story, Not all software on the mac will respond to this trick, but you might try it out.

  • Great post, thanks!

  • Option+click any running application in the dock will hide/show that app. It’s quicker than Cmd+H.

  • Fantastic article, thanks for sharing.

    I like switching my dock back to the 2d look using terminal.

    defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -boolean YES
    killall Dock

    If you want the 3D dock back:
    defaults write com.apple.dock no-glass -boolean NO
    killall Dock


  • Some good tips there.

    Loved the shift + minimize thing. Camouflage is great also.

  • Thanks for the tips, liked the 2D dock a lot. Only the trick to dim your windows at once doesn’t work for the iMac I will get a screen asking if I am sure want to shut down my computer.

  • I use the free Meteorologist app to put a detailed report (dew point, temperature, radar image, etc.) on my dropdown menu. Shows an image of the current weather condition in your area as well as the temperature with more customizable options!

  • Why is it a bad idea to make an animated screen saver the wallpaper?

    • massive cpu, memory, battery drain (depending on the screen saver–one of the slide shows probably isn’t too bad, electric sheep or one of the fluid dynamics sims something would be a disaster).

  • Thankyou for this idea and detials
    I have apple mac laptop and need to more apps

  • @Ryan

    Because having a screensaver set as your wallpaper can be resource hogging for some Mac’s. I find mac’s using the Intel GMA X3100 tend to bottle up if you use the screensaver wallpaper while running other apps at the same time.

    Audio Increase/Decrease by 1/4’s: Hold down “Shift”, “Option” and hit your “volume up” or “volume down” button.

    Enable the “path view” in finder (top of finder window) – Open Terminal and punch in: defaults write com.apple.finder _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool YES

    Plaintext in Mail app – Open Terminal and punch in: defaults write com.apple.mail PreferPlainText -bool TRUE (type FALSE to revert)

    • Win win win on the audio increase/decrease.

  • ** What’s up Dock?

    It’s a nuisance. By trying to do two largely incompatible tasks at the same time — storing aliases of often used apps and displaying aliases of currently active apps — the dock fails at both.

    There is free software available (oldies but goodies) which will do each job separately and being stored up in the menu bar, they stay out of the way until needed. (I really dislike Dock for its cutesy ‘hide and seek’ setting.)

    For selecting all and only frequently used apps, you can use Tiger 1.03. For seeing which apps are currently running, you can use X-Assist 0.8.1. (It never made it outta beta, but it does a good job).

    If you want something potentially more useful, look at FinderPop currently at 2.30 as of 10 May 2010. “Turly” O’Connor (former Apple employee) wants you to stand him to a pint of Beamish by way of compensation, but this is by no means obligatory. He’s a funny guy, pay him a visit.

    As for all the coding variations on “Mary had a little Dock”, they are as pointless as a spoiler on a Honda Civic.


  • The Recent Apps stack in the Dock doesn’t work, it appears but isn’t clickable.

  • While the control-shift-eject trick is useful, you can also use “hot corners” located in the desktop & screensaver preferences. :)

  • I like the setup for your GeekTool screen. Can you post the script?

  • command+option+control+8

    AWESOME for playing tricks on people, i can’t believe its not on this page. To the same command to revert back to normal ;)

  • I dont remember exactly what the terminal command was, but theres one that lets you drag dashboard widgets to the desktop.

  • speaking of dock tiles, does anyone know if it’s possible to use multiple different icons for dock URLs (the kind that have an “@-on-a-spring” icon by default)?

    i’ve found instructions for changing the icon in general, but i’d like to be able to set different icons for different URLs (e.g. vnc:// links with icons of the boxes they connect to).

    i could do it with .webloc files, of course, but that seems inelegant….

  • also, does anyone else find custom shortcuts to be really unstable? i set safari developers menu “open in chrome” to cmd-shift-c as an easy way to deal with flash (i’m refusing to install any systemwide flash), but it only works about half the time.

  • How do you make the “⌃” symbol?

  • Another alternative to the recent items stack is a menu app called aLunch.

    Link: http://mactips-lib.net/m/software/alaunch/en/main.html

    I have mine set up so when I hit cmd+x, my secondary applications not in the dock pop up as a translucent menu. It’s wonderful! (I think this is a lot like Launch Pad coming out on Lion soon.)

  • Here are some useful tips for Mac users (When I say “APL”, I mean the Command/Apple key):

    APL+Tab-enables you to switch applications faster
    APL+H-Hide an application
    APL+option+ctrl+8 -invert colors, hit it again to undo this
    APL+ , -Brings up the preferences of an application

    For those with the multi-touch track pad:
    4 fingers moving down (then up)-allows you to see every window open (minimized windows are smaller)
    2 fingers moving to the side-switch applications like APL+tab
    2 fingers going to opposite corners-zoom in
    2 fingers going from the corners to the center-zoom out

  • I got a MacBook Air for Christmas and now I hate my PC desktop. I found this shortcut all by myself and use it all the time for my blog. To quickly go to the bottom of a webpage use COMMAND + Down Arrow key. To go back home, Use COMMAND + UP Arrow key. To go to the end of a line use COMMAND + Right Arrow key and to go to the beginning of a line or sentence use COMMAND + Left Arrow.

  • dude i want to re-hide the ¨hidden files¨but the NO thing didn’t work.

  • Okay, this was the most awesome post I’ve ever read. Lmao. Thanks for the tips.

  • How about this one? I went to the “Genius Bar” both at my local Apple store AND the one in Manhattan, NY and they didn’t know this:

    Suppose your in list view and have say 10 folders and each of them has folders within them. You could, one by one double click each one (and the folders within them!) to find something that you didn’t know the name of. (Thus you couldn’t just use Spotlight). Or you could: Do Select All (Command A) and select all the folders at once. Then use the right arrow key to rotate the expander triangle next to each folder, all at once! Keep repeating this until you’ve exposed the contents of all of the nested folders. A real time saver.
    To close all of the folders in this List View just do the procedure again repeatedly, only this time use the left arrow key to close the folders.

    • Brilliant!

  • External drives in a stack –

    Go to Finder – hit Shift+Command+G and type “/Volumes” hit GO.
    You should see the “volumes” folder, hit column view if you don’t see it.
    Drag the volumes folder to a stack and you are done.

    Now when you mount drives they will show in that stack. Icons will be wrong but the access is nice.

  • My personal favorite; Buy a PC or install Windows

    • … And suffer!

  • Don’t remember where I found this, but this is THE BEST TIP (or at least the hardest to find IMO):

    To hide the Help Viewer window in Snow Leopard 10.6:

    Just launch Terminal (Applications > Utilities) and copy & paste the command below:

    defaults write com.apple.helpviewer DevMode -bool true

    If you have a Help window open, you’ll have to close it before the change takes effect. After you do, Help Viewer will behave like any other application window. If for some reason you no longer want this modification, you can reverse it with the following Terminal command:

    defaults delete com.apple.helpviewer DevMode

    • Sorry… I shouldn’t have said to hide, but to disable the always on top characteristic of all help windows on OS X.

      • This is the single most useful trick I’ve come across to solve a problem that really has pissed me off over the years. Thanks,

    • Fantastic! This has always annoyed me.Thank you.

  • Great to see some worthwhile Mac tips and tricks, have been getting sick of only seeing PC shortcuts online. I’ve already been playing around with a few of these!

  • On my Mac, I use this app called TotalFinder (http://totalfinder.binaryage.com/ – Full disclosure: I have no affiliation), which allows me to have tabbed finder windows, instead of tons of separate windows like Safari. It amazes me at how Apple’s window management is so poor, but TotalFinder has been a Godsend for me, and I recommend it to any Mac user.

    I also use an app called Slife to keep track of which apps I use, and how long I use them for (to help track productivity), and since I hate having pinned apps in my dock, I like to group my apps in my dock instead. The groups I have are as follows: Browsers, Coding/Development, Design/Creation, Digital Photography, Games, Multimedia, Productivity, Self-Improvement, Social, Utilities, and now (thanks to this wonderful article) Recent Applications.

    It also helps to have a mouse with programmable buttons (of the Logitech sort), so that you can program the buttons to do certain things to help limit keyboard usage such as Forward/Back, slide Spaces forward and back, etc.

  • For you, Desktop-Pimper:

    Geeklets to use with GeekTool:


  • Love some of these, soo many brains out there doing cool stuff. Thanks

  • Some nice tricks, thanks ;)


  • Beautiful textures! Useful and extensive collection, which inspired me a new idea. Thank you!

  • Command + Delete key is a quick and easy way to send an item to the trash.

  • In response to “blank screen in a hurry” I just set one of my hot corners to sleep so i don’t accidentally turn my computer off it i push the wrong set of shortcut keys. (I’ve done that before.. OTL) Plus, it’s much faster.

  • ⌘ + Alt + Crtl + 8 = ;-)

  • Since twitter stopped using the RSS feed, how do i set my twitter timeline as my screen saver

  • I am trying to figure out how to tile a document so that it prints across 2 pages high and 2 pages down. (like a big sign when put together) Running Snow Leopard on iMac. Anyone have a clue as to where I can find out how to do this?

  • As a long time PC user. Unfortunately I have had to start using macs at work. It’s been a week now and I can’t stand it.
    There is nothing at all in the above list that is useful to me.
    I really like my new job just can’t the fact I have to use apple so so crapple

  • how do you blank screen in a hurry on a macbook air when theres no eject button.

  • Wow amazing

  • I like this weblog very much so much fantastic information.

  • An excellent list, though for me I already use the ones listed here that I like the most, and can’t find much use for the others. Well with one exception, which would be the Safari developer tools which I didn’t know about. Hopefully it might be enough to move me away from firing up Firefox for Firebug so often. Will be trying this one out,


  • Literally nothing cool in this..maybe it just wasn’t what I was looking for.

  • Does anyone know of any way to create shortcuts for Dock “focus” actions (i.e, right-clicking a dock icon, and using the “Show All Windows” function)? I use it all the time, and in conjunction with QS or even CMD+Tab would be my favorite shortcut.

  • I use a Mac at work and a PC at home and I’m slowly getting converted and I think the features of Mac are simply better.