Quick Look is a delightfully simple way to browse the contents of the files on your Mac without launching their parent apps. (Select a file, press the space bar, that's it.) But if you’re looking at, say, a PDF or Word document, Quick Look can frustrate, because it doesn't provide any way to select and copy text; if you find a snippet of text you’d like to copy and paste, you still need to launch the parent app. Unless, that is, you know a secret shared by Keir Thomas (author of the excellent Mac Kung Fu).
To make text selectable in Quick Look previews, you just need to enable a hidden Finder setting. Select and copy the code below, open Terminal (/Applications/Utilities), paste that code at the prompt, then press Return:
Launchpad takes the iOS home screen springboard and recreates it on your Mac. Some users love this new Lion feature; others aren't sold. If you're among the latter, you can ignore Launchpad pretty easily: Remove its icon from your Dock, turn off the Launchpad gesture, and you can live fairly Launchpad-free from then on. But what if you want to get a fresh-start with Launchpad, configuring it to give you quick access only to those apps you choose?
You could manually remove entries from Launchpad while it's onscreen by holding down the Option key and clicking on the jiggling apps. But that won't work on stock Apple apps, which seem permanently affixed to Launchpad’s surface. And it's a laborious process if you have a lot of apps.
You may have forgotten about Photo Booth, but Apple sure hasn’t. In Lion, Apple updated its software for quickly capturing photos from your Mac’s built in camera, adding full-screen mode and new visual effects that leverage face-detection features. But while Photo Booth’s feature set is still pretty simple, there are a few power user tricks to the software that may help you get more out of it.
First of all, there's the flash. When you snap a photo with Photo Booth, the software briefly makes your Mac’s display go bright white, to simulate camera lighting. But there's a new option in Lion to disable that flash permanently: Go to the Camera menu, and deselect Enable Screen Flash.
One of Lion’s hallmark features was its introduction of a slew of multitouch gestures. By now, you may well have learned most of them. But Keir Thomas discovered one you probably don't know about, a hidden gesture that lets you quickly return to your most recently used space. If you use the four-finger swipe to move from your main desktop to another, or to a full-screen app or the Dashboard, you can quickly go right back to where you were before by executing a four-finger double-tap.
But if you try that right now, it won’t work. First, you need to fire up Terminal and paste in this command:
defaults write com.apple.dock double-tap-jump-back -bool TRUE;killall Dock
Sometimes, one person’s hint is another person’s incredibly obvious feature. In this case, I was the guy who needed a hint that—once it was pointed out to me—I felt silly for not thinking of on my own.
I was getting frustrated by Lion’s built-in, iOS-style autocorrection. I normally like the feature, which corrects misspellings as you type, but it was making life difficult for me when I searched my email for messages from Macworld senior editors Chris Breen and Scholle Sawyer McFarland. When searching for messages from Chris, I’d type “from:breen” into Gmail; for Scholle, I’d type “from:scholle” instead. Lion unhelpfully wanted to replace their names with “green” and “school,” respectively.
Many folks use a second wireless router as a bridge to expand the reach of their main Wi-Fi network. Apple makes such a setup painless; it takes just a few clicks in Airport Utility, for example, to make an Airport Express extend your Airport Extreme’s wireless network. When you bridge a network this way, both base stations share one network name, and your Mac (or other Wi-Fi device) automatically switches between the base stations based on signal strength. But what if you want to know which base station you’re on at a given moment? Since the two bases sport the same name, that would seem to be impossible. Thanks to a tip from Macworld senior contributor Glenn Fleishman, I now know just how to do it.
First, you need to determine your base stations’ BSSIDs—the Basic Service Set Identification code that’s unique to each base. If you’re using Apple base stations, fire up Airport Utility, and note the AirPort ID for each base station listed. (Mine were different enough that I needed only to remember the first two characters for each base station.)
Next, launch the hidden Wi-Fi Diagnostics app included with Lion (which is found in the /System/Library/CoreServices folder and which we’ve covered in a previous hint). Choose the Monitor Performance option and click on Continue.