Your Mac's secrets revealed

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Surf smarter

Forget
www
. and
.com

Don’t waste time typing when you don’t have to—all Mac Web browsers (except America Online’s Netscape) automatically fill in some missing parts of URLs. For instance, if you want to visit

http://www.apple.com/
, just type
apple
in your browser’s address field—the browser will add the
http://www.
and
.com
bits automatically. In browsers other than Netscape and Mozilla Firefox, you can even navigate directly to subpages using this trick—for instance, to visit Apple’s main support page, type
apple/support
.—Adam C. Engst

Drag It to the Web

Need to use something other than your default browser to check out a Web page? Want to open a page, but its address is in an application that doesn’t launch a browser when you double-click on a URL? There’s no need to cut and paste. You can select a URL in most applications and drag it straight to the window of any Mac Web browser to open it (see “Open Up”). You can also drag the URL to a browser’s Dock icon.—ACE

Cut clutter with tabs

One of the most fundamentally useful features in Apple’s Safari isn’t turned on by default. Tabbed browsing lets you load new Web pages into individual tabs within one window. This means that you can easily switch between sites without getting lost in a clutter of open windows. To turn on this feature, select Safari: Preferences, click on the Tabs button, and choose the Enable Tabbed Browsing option. Now Command-click on links to open them in new tabs, which you can view at your leisure.—ACE

Hop between Tabs

Open Up There’s no need to copy and paste URLs into your browser. Instead, select one and just drag it to your browser window, as you see here. The page will open automatically.

With keyboard shortcuts, you can move quickly between your Web browser’s tabs. In Safari, use Command-shift-right arrow or -left arrow; in Firefox use Command-option-right arrow or -left arrow. If neither shortcut works in your browser, check the browser’s help pages to see what it uses.—ACE

Close tabs quickly

If you’ve ended up with too many open tabs in Safari, quickly close all but the current one by pressing Command-option-W.—ACE

View photocasts in Safari

If you don’t want to clutter Apple’s iPhoto 6 with a photocast, or if you just prefer to look at pictures on a scrolling page in Safari 2.0.3, force Safari to display the photocast rather than handing it off. Paste the photocast’s URL into Safari’s address field, but before pressing return, change

http
to
feed
. (This works only if you haven’t made another RSS program your default reader.)—ACE

Find your passwords

From filling in your name and address to remembering your Amazon.com password, Safari’s AutoFill feature works pretty well. (Go to Safari: Preferences and click on AutoFill.) Occasionally, though, you might need to fill in a password yourself or give one to another person. If you can’t recall the magic word, don’t worry—that’s what Keychain Access (/Applications/Utilities) is for. Launch this utility and then use its search field to home in on a desired site (or server). Double-click on an entry to open it. In the Attributes tab, select the Show Password option and enter your administrator password. Your password for the site will appear (see “What’s the Password?”).—ACE

What’s the Password? If you’ve forgotten one of the passwords that Safari usually fills in automatically for you, use Keychain Access (/Applications/Utilities) to look it up.

Find Firefox shortcuts

Firefox has oodles of keyboard shortcuts you can use to make your surfing faster and more efficient. My favorite is option-home, which instantly opens your home page. Here's a complete list.—ACE

Sync your bookmarks

Tired of having two different sets of Safari bookmarks—one on your iMac and one on your MacBook Pro? If you have a .Mac account, you can automatically synchronize your Macs’ bookmarks on a regular basis. To turn this feature on, go to Safari: Preferences, click on Bookmarks, and select Synchronize Bookmarks With Other Computers Using .Mac—on both machines. (Bonus tip: Check out the .Mac preference pane, and you’ll see that you can also synchronize calendars, contacts, keychains, accounts in Apple’s Mail, and more.)—ACE

See more search results

If Google doesn’t find what you want in its first ten results, you have to click through multiple results pages, which can be tedious. But you can get more results per page by visiting Google, clicking on the Preferences link, and choosing a larger number from the Number Of Results pop-up menu.—ACE

Go beyond Dictionary

When Dictionary can’t help you understand the defini-tion of a word that boggles you, try OneLook instead. Type a word into this site’s search field, and OneLook looks for it in the online versions of more than 900 dictionaries and refer-ence sources, including the reliable Merriam-Webster OnLine dictionary and Compact Oxford English Dictionary.—Charles Purdy

Launch your searches

Most Web browsers make it easy to search Google right from a toolbar, but few simplify searching another Web site that you might refer to often, such as Amazon.com or Wikipedia. For that, you need a launcher, such as Objective Development’s $20 LaunchBar (   ), Peter Maurer’s free Butler (   ), and Blacktree’s free Quicksilver (   ).

You can use a launcher to start a search without switching to your Web browser or even touching the mouse. To search Wikipedia for information about Pluto, for instance, invoke LaunchBar (with a keyboard shortcut you’ve set). Then press W to access the Wikipedia search template. (The first time you access a search template, you may need to select it from a pop-up list. From then on, LaunchBar will associate the letter with that site.) Press the spacebar to tell LaunchBar that the next keystrokes will be a search term, and then type

pluto
.—ACE

Keep your receipts

The next time you buy something online, don’t bother to jot down the confirmation number on an easy-to-lose sticky note. If you’re using OS X 10.4, press Command-P when the site displays the receipt. In the Print dialog box that appears, click on PDF and select Save PDF To Web Receipts Folder from the drop-down menu. OS X creates a PDF of your receipt and saves it in your user folder /Documents/Web Receipts.—Joe Kissell

Shrink PDFs with Preview

Some PDF files—particularly those with graphics—can be too big to send via e-mail or download over a dial-up connection. Sure, you can buy a tool that shrinks PDFs, but Preview 3 may be all you need. Open a PDF in Preview and choose File: Save As. In the Save dialog box, give the file a new name. Then choose Reduce File Size from the Quartz Filter pop-up menu and click on Save. When I exported a photo-heavy calendar as a PDF file from iPhoto, Preview reduced its size from 10.4MB to an e-mail-friendly 828K. Some caveats: Reduced files won’t display or print as clearly as the originals, bookmarks are lost, and PDFs that have already been optimized or that are quite small may grow in size. But Preview makes tasks such as slimming an iPhoto book layout before sending it to a relative easy and free.—ACE

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