Tips, Tricks, and Shortcuts

Officially, AppleWorks (formerly known as ClarisWorks) allows you to create only one automatic macro that will play whenever you open any document in a particular AppleWorks environment (such as word processing or drawing). But Jeffrey L. McLean of Woodbridge, Virginia, has discovered a workaround: he has figured out a way to make individual automatic macros for any number of AppleWorks documents–and without the help of AppleScript.

First, in each environment, create an automatic macro that triggers a keystroke combination, such as command-option-A, that can play another macro. (For instructions on creating an automatic macro, see the AppleWorks help topic "Create Automatic Macros.")

Now, whenever you want a document to have its own unique automatic macro, just create a document-specific macro that plays whenever command-option-A is pressed. The next time you open this document, the automatic macro for the environment will "press" command-option-A, causing the document-specific macro to play. AppleWorks does the right thing–nothing–if you open a document without a macro that responds to command-option-A.

Q. Sometimes when I create a new folder, it contains an odd file that I did not create–an invisible Icon file with a size of 0K. This bugs me because sometimes I need to transfer entire folders to a Unix Web server, where the Icon file becomes visible. Why are these files created? Can I do something to prevent them from being created in a new folder?

Rene P.F. Kanters
Richmond, Virginia

A. The Finder creates an invisible Icon file to store a folder's custom icon. (The name of this file begins with the word Icon and ends with a return character.) In Mac OS 8.5 and later, the Finder also uses this file to keep track of some folder view settings such as custom column positions and sizes in a list view.

To prevent the Mac OS from creating an invisible Icon file, refrain from giving a folder a custom icon. And in Mac OS 8.5 or later, don't change any view settings that are stored in this file. Since Apple has not disclosed which view settings are kept in the Icon file and which are kept elsewhere, you'll have to determine this through trial and error.

Icon files are of no use in Unix, so you can safely delete them on a Unix system. Not so fast on your Mac, however: Apple doesn't document all the settings that the Finder stores as resources in Icon files, so don't delete an Icon file in Mac OS 8.5 or later unless you are certain the file contains no resources at all. To see if a file has resources, open it with Apple's free ResEdit utility. ResEdit displays an alert when you use it to open a file that has no resources.

Here's how to eliminate an invisible Icon file: drag the contents of the folder that contains the Icon file to a new folder that doesn't contain one. Now you can drag the folder with the Icon file to the Trash. Note that in Mac OS 8.5 or later, you must create the new folder inside the window of a folder or disk that doesn't have an Icon file, because a new folder inherits the view settings of its enclosing folder or disk. If the enclosing folder or disk has custom view settings stored in an invisible Icon file, so will a new folder created in it.

Q. I have created an unusual problem–apparently I've stored so many files in one folder that I can't open the folder. When I double-click the folder to open it, the folder window displays no files, no total number of items, and no total MB available. The watch pointer keeps spinning but the folder contents never appear, even after 30 minutes on my Power Mac G3 with Mac OS 8.5. Does the Mac OS limit the number of files in a folder? How can I access my much-too-large folder?

Paul Wermager
Honolulu, Hawaii

A. The Mac OS file system cannot access more than 32,767 items in a single folder, but the Finder can get bogged down or even run out of memory trying to open a folder containing far fewer files. You can correct this problem by employing the free Fat Folder Fixer utility, from Alsoft ( http://www.Alsoft.com/AskAl/download.html ); this utility distributes files from an overfilled folder to new folders it creates. You specify the number of files to put in each new subfolder.

Q. Recently the windows I set to View As List in the Mac OS 8.5 Finder started displaying in reverse alphabetical order. (Other people have access to my computer.) How do I get the windows back to normal?

Eric Smith
San Francisco, California

A. Notice the triangular icon that's next to the last column title displayed in a List view? Clicking this icon reverses the sort direction of the List view. As you may know, clicking a column title such as Name or Date Modified causes the Finder to sort the list by that column.

TIP For an awesome twenty-third-century effect, make your MP3 player voice-activated by using a derivative of a previous tip that showed how to open any document by voice command (see Quick Tips , July 1999).

In your MP3 player application, create a playlist, set it to autoplay when opened, and save it with a name such as Play Some Cool Tunes. Then in the Finder, select the playlist, hold down the escape key, and say into your Mac microphone, "Make this speakable." (If you have set the Speech control panel to use a different key or a spoken name to alert the speech-recognition software, press that key or speak that name instead of pressing escape.)

From now on, you can start playing this playlist by pressing escape and saying, "Play some cool tunes" into your Mac microphone–and blow away your PC-using friends!

Byron Bray
Albany, Oregon

Apple's speech-recognition software is included with Mac OS 8.5 and later but might not be installed by default. You can use the Mac OS Install program to custom-install English Speech Recognition. You can also download the free software from Apple, at http://asu.info.apple.com/swupdates.nsf/artnum/n11400. After installation, turn on the Speakable Items option in the Speech control panel. If your MP3 player doesn't autoplay when a playlist is opened, try MacAmp Lite, $10 shareware from @soft ( http://www.macamp.net ).–L.P.

Absolute Page Number
To see the absolute page number of a page in a QuarkXPress document, option-click the page in the Document Layout palette and look at the lower left corner of the palette.

TIP Need to print discontinuous pages from a QuarkXPress 4.X document in which the pages are not uniquely numbered? For example, the pages in each section may be numbered 1, 2, 3, and so on, and have no section prefixes (such as III-2). You can print discontinuous pages by specifying absolute page numbers in the Pages field of QuarkXPress's Print dialog box. To specify an absolute page number (which defines a page's sequential order in the document), enter a plus sign (+) before the number. But determining absolute page numbers can take a long time in a lengthy document. For a shortcut, see "Absolute Page Number."

Robert Nemoz
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

TIP ; If you forget to turn off your monitor when you power down your computer, here's an easy way to create an on-screen reminder that will appear every time you shut down.

In SimpleText or any other application, create a document that reads "Don't forget to turn off the monitor!" Use large type to make it noticeable. Then select the message and drag it to the desktop to make a clipping file. (If this doesn't create a clipping file, select the message, copy it, open the Scrapbook, paste it in, and then drag it from the Scrapbook to the desktop.) Next, double-click the clipping file to open it, and then adjust the size and position of its window to your liking. Rename the clipping Monitor Reminder and place it in the Shutdown Items folder inside the System Folder. Now whenever you shut down, the message reminding you to turn off the monitor will pop up.

Garrett Albright
Fortuna, California

You can also create a vocal reminder. Record it as a sound file with SimpleSound. Open the sound file with MoviePlayer Pro or QuickTime Player Pro, and then export it as a System 7 Sound file. Put this file in the Shutdown Items folder.–L.P.

November 1999 page: 119

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