Mac is the most coveted computer platform of the world. It offers top-notch performance, stunning visuals, and an unparalleled experience. The Mac users often find it difficult to switch to any other platform. This operating system offers tons of features to its users. But, honestly, most of us do not utilize Mac to its full potential. There are a lot of features that largely remain unexplored. Mac has plenty of tricks and hidden features that can make your life quite simpler (and at times they are just great fun). In this article, we list 15 amazing Mac tricks you would love to know. Keep reading!
Also Read: How To Screenshot On Mac
List Of 15 Cool Mac Tricks
Categorize Your Files Automatically in a Smart Folder
Mac operating system lets you create customizable smart folders that you can use to categorize files of different and same types. For instance, if you would like to have access to all the recently created or saved image files at one place, you could command a smart folder to do the task for you. This makes things quite convenient especially when you have to deal with a large number of files. Smart Folder isn’t a new concept but surprisingly not a lot of people make full use of it.
Creating a Smart Folder is incredibly easy. Run the Finder app and select the File menu. Click on ‘New Smart Folder’ option from the menu. A new folder will open up. This folder will allow you to create rules to categorize the files the way you want them to. To create a rule, simply click the + button to get started. You could create a primary rule followed by secondary rules. For instance, you can create the primary rule to display all the files created within last 7 days. Then you can create a secondary rule that the file type must be JPEG.
Use Keyboard to Lock Mac OS
Windows users have always enjoyed this feature. All they have to do is press Windows key + L to lock the computer. Mac users had used the ‘sleep’ feature to lock the OS. This wasn’t very convenient. You must keep your computer unlocked while downloading a large file that may take a long time. You either had to keep a watch or risk security compromise. Thankfully, the keyboard lock feature has been introduced in the Sierra Mac OS. To lock Mac, you simply need to press Command + Control + Q keys together. Cool!
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Rename Files in Batch
If you have a huge set of files that must be renamed in a series, you will have to rename them one by one. But, what if you have thousands of files to be renamed? That could take a lot of time and say the least could be extremely frustrating. The good news is you don’t have to go through such an ordeal. Mac allows you to batch rename the files and choose the scheme with which you wish to name them.
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To batch rename the files, select all the files that must be renamed and then right click on the selection. From the pop-up menu, you need to click ‘Rename N items’ (here N represents the number of files you have chosen).
When you see the dropdown menu, just chose the format. On the new window, you will be able to select the naming convention you want to follow.
Display the Full Path in Finder App
File organization in Mac OS isn’t as straightforward as you would have wished it were. Especially, if you have switched from Windows to Mac, you will be spending some difficult time understanding the file structure. In Windows, all your files are categorized in various folders and drives. In Mac, there is the Finder app which keeps all your files on a single drive. You need to create different folders to organize them better. Another big challenge is that Finder app does not show the file path by default. This makes navigation a bit tricky.
Thankfully, Finder app allows you to see the full file path. But, you need to make some changes. You can do that through the Terminal app. To access Terminal app follow this path: Finder > Go > Utilities > Terminal
Terminal is to Mac what Command Prompt is to Windows. In the command line on Terminal, copy and paste the following and press Enter:
defaults write com.apple.finder _FXShowPosixPathInTitle -bool YES; killall Finder
Open Finder and you should now be able to see the full path. If you wish to restore Finder to original settings, in the command above replace ‘YES’ with NO.
Change Screenshot File Format
By default, your Mac OS saves all your screenshots in the PNF file format. PNG is good for the most part. It is a lossless format and thus retains more details as compared to other formats, such as JPEG. But, if you have to take lots of screenshots, things could get a little tricky as PNG is a heavier file and takes more space on your hard drive. Attaching and sending the files in the email or sharing them on social media platforms also takes more time and consumes more data bandwidth. PNG is also not supported on some platforms. JPEG, on the other hand, is a more popular image format and works with all platforms and services. JPEG compression technology may lose some image details but it makes up for it by consuming less space.
If you would like your screenshots to be saved in JPEG format instead, here is the command you can copy/paste on Terminal command line:
defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg
There is the file format right at the end of this command block. Well, this means you could change it something else as well, such as PDF.
Let Your Mac Stay Awake
All operating systems, including Mac, have the native ability to go to sleep after the specified period of inactivity. This is a useful feature as it makes your computer more power efficient. But, there are times you would want your Mac to not go to sleep and instead stay awake. You could go to the System settings and specify the new time period after which Mac would go to sleep. But, if you want the new ‘awake’ period only for single instance, you will have to go back to the Settings and change the timing again. To some, it seems like a long drawn process. So, what’s the easier way? It is a command line for Terminal app:
Caffeinate -i -t ‘seconds’
In this command ‘seconds’ is the amount of time you would like Mac to stay awake. As you may have figured, this time is in seconds. Once you press Enter key, this time will override the time specified in the system settings for this instance.
Modify Dock Animation
Windows OS lets you hide the taskbar so that you can have the full view of the desktop. Mac OS also lets you hide the dock so that you could have entire desktop space to work on. When you hide the dock, it slides down behind the bottom edge of the screen and reappears when you hover the mouse over the area where the dock is supposed to be. It does this ‘hide’ and ‘seek’ game with an animation effect. But, many find this animation a little slow. Fortunately, there is a way to increase the speed of the animation. In fact, you can remove the animation completely. Here is the list of the Terminal app commands for it:
Disable animation: defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier -int 0;killall Dock
Increase animation speed: defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier -float 0.12;killall Dock
Restore default settings: defaults delete com.apple.dock autohide-time-modifier;killall Dock
Auto Insert Period
If you type a lot on your Mac computer, you would like some of the frequently used activities to become automated. For instance, while typing we have to insert a period ‘.’ after every sentence. Most of us are used to hitting the period key on the keyboard when we need to insert a fullstop. But, do you know, just like your smartphone, Mac also allows you insert a period automatically? To enable this feature, open System Preferences and navigate to Keyboard >> Text. Here, turn ON the feature that says ‘Add period with double-space’.
Now, every time you need to add a period, quickly press the spacebar twice.
If you can’t get yourself to get used to it, go back to the System Preferences again and disable this feature.
Smart Spotlight Search
Mac users swear by Spotlight. After all, this is the tool which makes them more efficient and enhances the productivity. Spotlight lets you search with the keywords and finds the applications, software, and files on your computer. Most of us would type the full name of the app to find it through Spotlight. But, there is a much smarter way that makes your search even faster.
Instead of typing the full name, all you have to do is type in the initials of the application or file you are looking for. For instance, if you are looking for Microsoft Word, just type in MW.
There is another smart thing Spotlight can do for you – convert emojis into semantic text and search with it. So, let’s say you enter a ‘car’ emoji in it, it may look up for car dealers in your area. You may not use this feature a lot but it could be some fun.
Quickly Bring Up Emoji List
Since we talked about emojis in the previous item, why not talk about them a little more? Almost all of us use emojis these days. Thankfully, Mac supports emojis too. But, you must know the keyboard shortcuts for emojis in order to insert them. In case you do not know the shortcuts, there is a way to bring up the list of all the Mac supported emojis. Here are the keyboard keys you must press together:
Control + Command + Space
Change Display Brightness in Smaller Increments
The function keys on the Mac keyboard allow you to quickly carry out some tasks. They also let you change the display brightness. But, you must have noticed that when you press the brightness control key the first few times there is hardly any difference in the brightness. The moment you press the key next few times there is a dramatic change. The last few presses tend to increase the brightness in large increments. Sometimes you wish the brightness increased in smaller increments. That’s possible. All you need to do is hold down the Shift + Option keys while changing the brightness. The changes will be less dramatic.
Enhanced Multi-Text Selection
If you need to copy and paste different sections of the text on the same document, normally you would copy and paste each block separately. But, if there are several blocks you need to copy, it could take a lot of time.
Thankfully, Mac allows you select different blocks at the same time. Just press and hold the Command key while selecting the text. Now copy the text and paste it wherever you want to.
Create Your Own Keyboard Shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts on Mac let you carry out various tasks without you having to lift the finger from the keyboard. This is not only convenient but also saves you a lot of time. Mac has a number of default shortcuts. But, what’s truly amazing is that it lets you create your personal shortcuts as well. This could improve the productivity quite dramatically. Navigate to System Preferences >> Keyboard >>Shortcuts >> App Shortcut and click the + icon. Now all you need to do is follow the onscreen instructions to create your personalized keyboard shortcuts.
Identify the Hidden Apps
If you need to work with multiple apps and windows, for a better on-screen organization, you could use the minimize feature. But with this function, it is not always easy to jump from one window to another. On the other hand, if you hide the apps, you can quickly access them by pressing the Command + Tab keys. You may have a lot of hidden apps on your dock. Sometimes you would like to see the hidden apps. You can do that easily. Here is the Terminal command for it:
defaults write com.apple.Dock showhidden -bool TRUE; killall Dock
This will gray out or dim the icon of on your dock for the windows that are hidden. In case you don’t want to see the hidden apps, simply replace TRUE word in the command block with FALSE.
Sign Your Documents
Mac lets you sign your documents using the Trackpad. This means you don’t have to go through the long drawn process of printing the document, signing it, and then scanning it again. The process is very simple.
Open the PDF document you need to sign in the Preview mode. Select the Markup button. Now click on the Signature icon on the menu bar. Click Trackpad tab and sign using the trackpad. Simple!