Help Desk

Discover how to find all of Word's keyboard shortcuts, speak selected text in any application, easily jump to any folder in Terminal via the Finder's sidebar, put iTunes' new arrows to a different use, and adjust Word's zoom using a scroll wheel.

List a Folder's Entire Contents

Have you ever wanted a list of a folder's contents (including all its subfolders), but without file size, creation date, and so on? You could use the Finder's List view to get at this information, but you'd be missing any hidden files -- and it's not easy to print the results. You could also use Terminal, but that would require some specialized Unix knowledge. If you own (or download the 30-day demo of) Bare Bones Software's $49 TextWrangler or $179 BBEdit (www.barebones.com), you already have a drag-and-drop solution at your fingertips.

Launch either app, create a new document, and then drag the folder whose contents you'd like to see into the empty window. After a delay (which depends on the size of the folder and the speed of your Mac), you'll see the entire contents of the folder, in a nicely indented style. This list will include any hidden files, such as those in your Home directory -- and don't forget that you've just created a fully editable document, so you can add notes or remove items you don't want to view.

Learn All of Word's Keyboard Shortcuts

Microsoft Word is a powerful, complex word-processing application, with literally hundreds of predefined keyboard shortcuts. If you do a lot of work in Word, it's in your best interest to learn as many of these as possible -- they can save you hours of work. Here's how to create a printout of all of Word's shortcuts to help with the process.

In either Word v. X or 2004, select Tools: Macro: Macros to open the macro dialog box. In the Macro Name field, type ListCommands and then click on Run (it doesn't matter what's selected in the Macros In pop-up menu). You'll be greeted by another dialog box -- select All Word Commands, and then click on OK to start the macro.

After a bit of processing work, a new document will appear on your screen, listing every single Word command along with the associated keyboard shortcut(s). There are some real time-savers hidden here -- for instance, did you know that Command-shift-comma (,) and Command-shift-period (.) will decrease and increase, respectively, the font size of the current selection?

Invoke Your Personal Reading Assistant

In Cocoa applications such as Apple's TextEdit, Mail, and Safari, you can select a block of text and then use the Services menu (Services: Speech: Start Speaking Text) to speak the selection. This can be useful when you're trying to proofread a long document, as typos will be revealed by their odd pronunciations. But what do you do if you, like many people, do your writing in Word, not TextEdit? Word, like most Carbon applications, doesn't support Services, so you appear to be out of luck -- and prior to OS X 10.3, you were.

If you're running Panther, open the Speech preference pane and click on the Spoken User Interface tab. In the Other Spoken Items section, check Selected Text When The Key Is Pressed, and then click on Set Key to assign a keyboard shortcut (control-shift-S, for instance). Close the pane when you're done.

Since you've just invoked a system-level preference, you can now select a block of text in any application. Press your hot-key combination, and listen to your machine's default voice read the selection. If you tire of that particular voice, visit the Default Voice tab of the Speech preference pane and select another voice from the list -- Vicki and Victoria are both easier to understand than poor old Fred.

Switch the Sort Column via the Keyboard

Did you know that you can control the active sort column in list-view windows without touching the mouse? Control-tab and control-shift-tab will cycle right and left, respectively, through the various column headings, re-sorting the view as each new column is highlighted. Unfortunately, you can't switch the sort order (ascending or descending) via the keyboard -- for that, you'll have to reach for your mouse.

Quickly Open Any Folder in Terminal from the Finder

If you do much work in Terminal, you're probably used to the Finder shuffle -- what happens when you're working many levels down in your folder hierarchy in the Finder, and realize you need to open the folder in Terminal. So you switch to Terminal, type cd, press the spacebar, switch back to the Finder, and then drag the desired folder into the open Terminal window. (You could, of course, type the full location of the folder, but if it's buried very deeply, that would be quite tedious.)

If you do this a lot, you might prefer an easier solution. First, download the Open In Terminal script from find.macworld.com/0015 and place it somewhere safe (where you won't accidentally delete it). Now drag this script into your sidebar, Dock, or toolbar. From now on, when you want to jump to a given folder in Terminal, just drag and drop the folder onto the script shortcut you created.

To make your new shortcut look more at home in the sidebar, give it a custom Terminal-style icon. Find a free one you like at Xicons (www.xicons.com) or The Iconfactory (www.iconfactory.com), and then copy and paste it onto your script using the Get Info dialog box.

Change the Behavior of iTunes 4.5 Arrows

When Apple released iTunes 4.5, it added an interesting new feature: little arrows next to items in the Song Name, Artist, and Album columns, just like those used in the iTunes Music Store. Clicking on an arrow takes you to the corresponding matches in the Store. Although this is a neat way to link your library with the Store, wouldn't it be better if those same links could take you to matches in your own library? If they did, you could quickly jump from a song to the album containing the song, or to the artist who recorded the song. Luckily, some Apple engineers felt the same way and included a couple of hidden features to make that possible.

The first trick is to use the option key -- if you hold it down before you click on an arrow, iTunes will enter Browse mode and act as though you entered the info in the Search box. If you find that behavior ideal and would like it to be the default, you'll need the second trick. Quit iTunes, open Terminal, and type defaults write com.apple.iTunes invertStoreLinks -bool YES.

When you launch iTunes, you'll find that a click on an arrow now takes you to your library, and an option-click takes you to the Music Store. If you ever want the original behavior, quit iTunes and rerun the command just mentioned, replacing YES with NO.

Zoom Through Word

A great time-saver in Word is mouse-based document zooming (assuming you have a third-party mouse with a scroll wheel, of course). Instead of using the View: Zoom menu item, or clicking in the Zoom pop-up menu in the toolbar, save yourself some mouse motion and hold down the control key while you move your scroll wheel -- up (forward) increases the zoom, while down (backward) decreases the zoom.

UNIX Tip of the Month

Lord of the Rings History

So you're a huge Lord of the Rings fan -- you've read all the books, you've seen all the movies numerous times, and you own multiple versions of the various DVD releases. But even with all that knowledge, you probably didn't know you could also study up on your Lord of the Rings history right in Terminal, did you?

Open Terminal and type cat /usr/share/calendar/calendar.history | grep "LOTR". When you press enter, you'll see a list of key dates in the Lord of the Rings saga. Of course, since the order of the events is based on the displayed date, not their actual sequencing, you'll have to use your knowledge of Tolkien's masterwork to put them in the proper order.

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