Search for substrings in Safari

Blogger Pierre Igot was frustrated with the search behavior in Lion's Safari. Back in Snow Leopard's version of Safari, if you hit Command-F (or selected Edit -> Find) and then entered a string of text, the program would find any instance of that text in the current webpage: It would match the search string whether it was a whole word or just part of one. But in Lion's Safari, search didn't work the same way: It matched strings that were whole words or that appeared at the beginnings of words, but didn't find them within words. So, for example, searching this page for man in Snow Leopard would find my last name in the byline above; in Lion, by default, it doesn't.

Some of Pierre's readers offered him the solution. As it turns out, Safari in Lion offers finer-grained controls for setting the search scope. Once you've hit Command-F to initiate a search, you can click on the magnifying glass within the search box to expose a small menu. From that menu, you can choose between Contains and Starts With.

Starts With, the default, only matches substrings when (as you'd guess) they start words; that is, it would find my last name if you searched for fried instead of man. The Contains option does what the name implies: As in Snow Leopard, it finds substrings regardless of where they occur in the word.

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Take more control of Mission Control

If you found Spaces too confusing or too much trouble in Snow Leopard, you should give virtual desktops another try in Lion. Mission Control combines features of Spaces and Exposé and makes them way more usable. A trio of Hints readers have offered up some tips that make Mission Control easier to work with—which could make you more productive.

First, to help you distinguish your virtual desktops from one other, Hints reader simplebeep points out that you can choose a unique desktop picture for each one. Launch System Preferences in your first desktop, go to the Desktop & Screen Saver pane on your first desktop, and set the background image you'd like. Then enter Mission Control (by pressing Control-Up arrow, using the three- or four-finger up-swipe, or clicking on the icon in your Dock). Once you're there, drag the System Preferences window from its current workspace to another desktop. (If you haven't yet created a second desktop, drag it to the ghosted desktop that appears in the upper right corner of Mission Control once you start dragging.) Go to the Desktop & Screen Saver pane again and choose another desktop picture; whatever you choose will appear on that second desktop only. Repeat for as many workspaces as you like. Your separate backgrounds will be saved after you restart.

An anonymous Hints user points out the efficient way to select a different desktop without exiting Mission Control. Say you're in Desktop A and want to drag an app from Desktop B to it. After you launch Mission Control, your instinct might be to click on Desktop B—but that would cause you to immediately exit Mission Control and go to Desktop B. To avoid that, just hold down Option when you click on Desktop B; that will open it within Mission Control.

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Quit apps without Lion remembering their open windows

One of Lion’s new features is Resume, which automatically reopens every window you last had open in a given application when you relaunch it. That’s magical sometimes—when you relaunch Safari or Word and welcome the sight of all your last open documents. Other times, though, it’s annoying: Say you opened a dozen PDFs in Preview, and now you’re finished, and you know you don’t want them to reopen the next time you launch the app. Hints reader xplora discovered the delightfully simple solution.

When you quit the app whose windows you don’t want Lion to remember, hold down the Option key. That is, either press Command-Option-Q, or hold down Option when you go to the application’s eponymous menu. The Option key turns Quit into Quit and Discard Windows—which works precisely as you’d expect.

If you'd prefer that an app never resume its windows automatically, you'll need a Terminal trick instead.

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Adjust the size of Mail sidebar icons

Mail looks pretty different in Lion: it's got a new layout, a variety of new interface elements, and a revamped sidebar, too. Hints reader michaelj wasn't thrilled with that last one: He found that his mailbox icons were displayed much larger in the sidebar than he'd prefer. It turns out that Mail's sidebar icons are (bizarrely) linked to the size of the icons in the Finder's sidebar. Really. Here's the fix:

Launch System Preferences and click on the General icon at the top left. In the middle of that preference pane is an option for Sidebar icon size; you can choose among Small, Medium, and Large. Whichever icon size you choose there will show up not just in the Finder's sidebar, but in Mail's as well. (Other sidebars, like the ones in iTunes, seem to ignore this setting.) If you discover any other sidebars that the setting affects, let us know in the comments below.

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See the whole conversation in Lion Mail

One of the many changes in Lion's edition of Mail is the Gmail-inspired Conversations view. Conversations combines messages from a thread into a simple chronological view. But those conversations are incomplete: by default, messages that you sent are not included. That can make the thread harder to parse. Though Dan Frakes mentioned that you could tweak the default behavior in his Lion Mail review, it's worth spelling out just how to do it. Hints reader nathanator11 did just that.

Open Mail's preferences (either via the menu bar, Mail -> Preferences, or the near-universal Command-, [comma] keyboard shortcut). Click the Viewing tab. In the View Conversations section, check the box for Include Related Messages. That's it! While you're there, you can adjust some other Conversations settings, including a preference to put the newest message in a conversation at the bottom instead of the top.

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Track changes of the defaults command

Many Mac tips—on and elsewhere around the Web—require you to use the defaults command in the Terminal. That command lets you set secret preferences that are otherwise inaccessible. For example, defaults can help you get rid of the Ping drop-down in iTunes, disable OS X's warnings about opening download files, show all files in the Finder, make the Help Viewer behave like a normal window, set half-star ratings in iTunes, shrink the Dock dramatically, dim Dock icons for hidden applications, tweak the CrashReporter, among many, many other system tweaks.

Trouble is, if you use defaults to update your system, it can be hard to keep track of all the changes you've made. It'd be handy to know what you've done for the sake of troubleshooting and moving to a new Mac. Which is why it's so cool that Hints reader dgerrity found a way to keep just such a record.

Not surprisingly, his hint involves a bit of Terminal work. What it does is create a new script called "defaults", then set things up so that whenever you enter a defaults command in the Terminal, that script runs instead. The script will look at the defaults write command you're entered, log that change (along with the original value) to a file, and then pass the command off to the real defaults command to make the actual change.

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Silently set an iPhone alarm

It's late at night, your spouse is already asleep, and you realize you before you go to bed that you need to set an iPhone alarm to wake you up the next morning. You launch the Clock app, schedule the time, and then want to adjust the alarm sound to be sure it's loud enough to startle you awake tomorrow. As you begin to tap the sound, though, panic strikes: You remember that the iPhone helpfully previews the sound the moment you tap it—so, essentially, your alarm will go off, wake up your loved one, and make nobody happy.

Hints reader imaldonado found the quiet solution: When you're choosing your alarm sound, double-tap it instead of single-tapping it. You'll select the sound without auditioning it first. And that should let everyone sleep better.

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